6 Weeks Postpartum / Postnatal Yoga

It’s hard to believe 6 weeks has gone by already since the birth of my 3rd, but here we are! We are doing well but of course the interrupted sleep and constant lifting / feeding / bending over the baby is starting to catch up with my body.  Not to mention the whole 9 months of stretching and expanding…and then the intensity of labour to top if all off! But hey, we are built for this right ladies? And it is absolutely crazy, beautiful and scary all at the same time what our bodies can do. And our bodies can recover – we just have to give it some love and patience.  I have to admit I wasn’t as patient with my first and second (even though I should have known better with my Physio and Yoga background) and it took longer for bleeding to stop and my pelvic floor to return to pre-baby function. There’s this tendency in the world of today (thanks a lot instagram) for instant results – an urgency or perhaps even a race to “get your body back”.  Remember each individual and each body is different and we really shouldn’t be comparing ourselves to others. As they often say in yoga classes, be kind to yourself and own your journey, your own path.

Initially I wanted to teach a Mom & Baby Yoga class in the community again (@ Inner Revolution Yoga Studio, where I teach regular classes when I’m not on mat leave) but being on maternity leave and collecting “E.I.” means that anything I earn during this time is just subtracted from my E.I. pay.  This is rather frustrating, and I think it is unfortunate to essentially get penalized for working. I think being off with your baby is fantastic but I would love to have the option to work a little to supplement the E.I. income.  It must be especially hard for single moms.  Several years ago, if you were on maternity leave you were allowed to receive up to a maximum of $125 per week before you got deducted.  I don’t know why they decided to change this.

Anyway – since I am unable to teach Mom & Baby Yoga in the community without getting penalized by maternity leave employment insurance, I am going to post my practice online so that you can follow along.  I will be posting one video a week.  In a community Mom & Baby class, we would meet once a week at the studio, get to socialize with other moms and share a connection. Unfortunately we won’t have the physical face to face interaction here but we can chat and comment online and build a community. We also have the beauty of flexibility; you can get on your mat any day, any time.  Make sure your baby is fed and in a clean diaper (and perhaps napping☺️) so that hopefully you won’t be interrupted! Obviously we cannot control when our babies cry, but the awesome part of doing this at home is that you can pause the video and get back to your mat when you can. Practice when it suits you!

Remember, if you are not 6 weeks postpartum yet – enjoy your baby snuggles and rest up as much as possible (when else in life are you told to take it easy and lie down?). If you are 6 weeks postpartum and cleared by your physician or therapist to do physical activity, then I hope you take some time to follow along weekly! Feel free to comment, ask questions, or post some requests. I’m really looking forward to our yoga practice together!   ~Namaste~

total body bang for your buck

It’s one of those days where you go “where did the time go??” and your workout or gym plans just won’t happen! That’s the kind of day I had anyways. Here’s a workout that will target your entire body and core, and you can feel good about that Friday night glass of wine (or chocolate mmm)! Try doing a few reps of as many as you can do. Just a few minutes of this and you’ll be feeling like you did hit the gym.  

yoga flow for chest opening

Feel like you’ve been hunched forward all day?  Are your shoulders scrunched up, neck tense, and you just feel slouchy in general?  Here is a short yoga flow that can help stretch and release those tight front muscles of the chest/shoulders/neck, which can help improve your posture and possibly any tension and pain.  This is a great one to try at the office after you’ve been working for a long time at a computer, or if there isn’t enough space, do it as soon as you get home from work!  Make sure you squeeze the shoulder blades together and down (away from the ears) and work the back side of your body (between the shoulder blades, muscles of the back) to improve strength to encourage good postural alignment. Repeat it twice to get a little deeper in to the poses. Remember to move with your breath always.

hippy new year!

I’m sure you can’t believe it either! Holidays are over, it’s a new year, and likely, you are already back at work! And chances are, you’re sitting for the greater part of your day.  Here is a short and sweet yoga flow that helps to stretch the muscles around the hips that may be tight from long periods of sitting (that long car ride home, long hours at a desk, etc!).  It is also a good one to do post runs, to get into the hip flexors and release any tension in the deeper glutes and hamstrings.  Repeat it twice to really get deeper into the poses.

I hope your hips have a hippy new year!

gentle core yoga flow

Want to start working on your abs but not sure where to start? This is a very short and gentle abdominal challenge that will leave you wanting more – it is perfect if you’re just getting back to working out post-baby or if it’s been awhile since you’ve been back at it! It becomes quite challenging if you repeat it a few times – those core muscles will start brewing and firing up. Be sure that you really squeeze the knee up to the elbow and into your chest (feel your tummy muscles work as you move into these positions) – it’s as if you are doing a sit up but in the air! And when you do the opposite limb lifts (aka bird dog), make sure you keep hips and shoulders level with a flat table top back. Enjoy!

core warm up yoga flow

core warm up yoga flow

Wow it’s been awhile since I’ve posted a workout! I promise now that I have a new phone I will be able to post more frequently (it used to be quite a process). Here is a gentle/moderate yoga flow that is appropriate as a pre-work out warm up, a quick abdominal challenge if you have 10 minutes to spare, or you can repeat it 3 times to get a little sweat on.  Usually when I teach my mommy baby yoga class or hatha class we warm up with some variation of this. You don’t need any equipment, although a mat would make it less slippery. Enjoy!

 

gentle / beginner core exercises

A few mommy friends of mine have asked me how to begin re-training their abdominals (aka core) postpartum.  Going through pregnancy and labour (and multiple times!) can be very hard on your body, and all those core muscles go through a long period of stretch and lengthening to accommodate baby.  It is really important to re-train these muscles to prevent or help issues such as back pain, incontinence, abdominal muscle separation (i.e. diastasis recti), sacroiliac joint/hip pain, poor posture, and more.  The following exercises are gentle and suitable for beginners, those that are postpartum at least 6 weeks, if you are having a rest day from working out, or if you want to work on form and tone up your tummy.

Please note: if you have serious pain, diastasis recti, or incontinence, you should consult your health care professional (e.g. physiotherapist, physician).

The first video is instructional and demos how to do the exercises. If you are very new to exercise or this type of abdominal workout, follow along to make sure you understand the movement and remember that quality is better than quantity! It is much more important to hold the pose / do the movement correctly than to do many repetitions of poor movement.  Also, never hold your breath, and always take breaks when you need it. You want to push yourself to discomfort but never pain.

This second video is a modified tabata style version of the above exercises.  Because this method is timed, you want to do as many reps as possible in the 20 seconds but again making sure the poses/movements are correctly executed. You can follow along when you feel confident that you have the poses down pat, or alternatively you could choose to perform the poses at your own pace and do 3 sets of 5-10 reps, depending on your level. For the bird-dog pose, you can hold 3 sets of 10-30 seconds.

work your abs (I)

THE ABDOMINAL WORKOUT

Here are some ab exercises that you can do when you have 5 minutes of free time. To make the most of your ab workout, try to make sure you exhale on exertion (e.g. exhale as your crunch) and keep the core tight by pulling your belly button up and inwards (e.g. while planking). Below is a video to guide you through the ab workout – again I’ve used a tabata timer so this could be one round of tabata if you are doing a tabata workout! For the mommies – these are great to build your core strength post-pregnancy/labour (always make sure you are cleared for exercise with your health care practitioner).