I don’t exactly remember when I first started yoga. It was sometime in high school, likely prompted by my mom. I do recall checking out a Denise Austin VHS from our public library (file under ‘other indicators I need more Botox’) and both of us trying to stretch and balance in the corner of my parents’ room.
I can’t say I fell in love with yoga then (anyone who has done her workout videos will feel me when I say her voice is not the most soothing soundtrack for this type of practice), but I did start my life long practice as a result of those simple videos.
The love grew over time eventually leading me to get my teaching certification in 2016. It is now a central part to my physical and mental health and more recently, after the birth of my son, I realized how vital yoga is for me during the transitional months post birth.
Yoga has helped me reconnect with my body, take quiet time just for me, and most importantly, as a result, parent from a better mental place. There are so many great benefits to yoga but as a new mom, these are top 5 in my book:
1. It gets you out of the house.
Getting out of the house as a new mom can for sure be a luxury in some cases, but often is the only way you will start to unplug from putting everyone but yourself first. For me, leaving got a little easier with each baby and gave me opportunity for some social interaction and a bit of a sense of normalcy.
2. You can do it at home.
Conversely, you don’t HAVE to leave your house to do yoga if you can’t/don’t want to. There are so many options out there from remote classes to books and YouTube that will allow you to take that time without having to venture out. Don’t have a mat? Use a towel. Don’t have space in the house? Your yard will work just fine.
3. Your body likely needs the stretching.
Labor, delivery, feeding, holding a baby all take a toll on your body. We spend a lot of time with rounded shoulders in unnatural positions as new moms. Yoga helps to elongate, lengthen and strengthen your muscles, so consider this work a part of the recovery process!
4. It can help with anxiety, depression, and all the overwhelming feelings that come with having a newborn.
As I mentioned previously, this for me is the most important part. My body and mind almost crave yoga when it has been too long since my last class. Allowing your mind time to quiet and check in is SO important as a mama.
5. Yoga meets you where you are.
No matter what stage of post partum recovery you are in, there is always some way to modify your practice to meet the needs of your body (and mind, for that matter). Flexibility, strength, mindfulness are all byproducts of yoga, not prerequisites. Some of my early classes after my son was born just involved my laying on my mat focusing on my breath. No poses, no postures. Just breathing.
Not sure where to start on your fitness journey? Be sure to read our Strong Like a Mom guide with tips, personal testimonies and places to get started. Being a mom leaves little time for yourself, so we’ve put together a useful guide to help all moms on their journey to better health.