Photo Credit Judie Hurtado, Sheknows. (2011)
I love yoga. I think every other mom on the planet loves yoga too. It’s great for when you are feeling a little lazy and don’t want to jog or run. It’s great for rainy days as well. I remember at one point I got shin splints from doing too hard of running right off the bat without easing my body in to jogging. I had to switch to yoga until my legs healed. Yoga was perfect for that!
Here are some of my favorite yoga poses and other great poses for moms.
Getting Started: What Should I Know?
Before we get started I want to talk about the proper way to do yoga. You should be on a yoga mat or carpet, something comfortable that isn’t going to hurt your joints or your hands and knees. Make sure your space is quiet and comfortable. Take deep breaths in the criss cross sitting position (I call it criss cross applesauce, fishies in the pond). Relax. Let your shoulders and your jaw drop. Inhale slowly and exhale slowly.
When you are breathing while doing yoga you should inhale deep enough that your abdomen inflates. You should be inflating your abdomen then fill your chest. This is very important. Each pose should be about 10-12 breaths. If you are more experienced you can do up to 30 breaths. Each pose should be held roughly 3 minutes at a time.
Yes, you will struggle at first if you haven’t done yoga before, or you are getting back in to a routine. Don’t get discouraged. Keep on it. You will only build muscle and tone your body from here on out. Don’t forget it helps strengthen your core and helps your balance as well.
1) Warrior Pose
The warrior pose “stretches the whole front side of the body while strengthening the thighs, ankles, and back. This is a powerful standing pose that develops stamina, balance, and coordination. It tones the abdomen, ankles, and arches of the feet. This pose also stretches the chest and lungs, improving breathing capacity and invigorating the body. It can be therapeutic for sciatica. It also encourages greater flexibility, strength, and range of motion in the feet, increasing circulation as it warms all of the muscles” (Yoga Outlet, 2018).
To do the warrior pose you should start by standing with your feet at hips length apart. Step to the side about 4-5 feet apart. Then take your front facing foot and turn it outwards towards the top of the mat (see figure in this section). Then put your arms wide out like an eagle. Now bend your knee on the leg that has the foot pointing forward. Lean in to it. You should feel your legs stretching.
2) Standing Tree Pose
This pose is great for strength, endurance, flexibility and balance.
The standing tree pose starts with standing up. Slowly raise your arms upwards and connect your hands. Slowly slide one foot upwards to your thigh. Now relax and breathe.
You might be wobbly at first, but don’t give up. Every time you do this pose you are strengthening your muscles and bettering your balance.
3) Half Moon Pose
The half moon pose is one of my personal favorites. It helps stretch out your sides and helps you align your core. Plus it helps tone your stomach (who doesn’t love that?!).
You are going to start by standing up with your feet together, shoulders relaxed and your arms to your sides. Then slowly raise your arms and clasp your hands together. Then slowly bend to one side. Then bend to the other side.
4) Sunrise Pose-My Personal Favorite
The sunrise pose is my personal favorite. It stretches my back out, opens my chest muscles, and helps tone my core muscles.
It has several different positions. You can find a great video here. It does a pose by pose explanation. I can’t stress enough how much I love the Sunrise Pose.
5) Downward Facing Dog Pose
The downward facing dog is great for those of you that have sciatic nerve issues. It is also fantastic for restless leg syndrome. It feels so good to just stretch out my back and legs.
This pose you will start on your knees. Make sure you use your yoga mat so you don’t hurt your joints in your knees. You are going to place your hands palms down out in front of you. Then slowly lift yourself off the mat with your feet. Stretch your back out and your leg muscles. Put your head down and make it parallel with your arms. Stretch out your neck and back as you look down towards the floor.
6) Cobra Pose
This pose is great for stretching out your upper body muscles. As you can see in the picture to the right of this section it shows the muscles that it works on. It helps strengthen those muscles and helps open up your chest muscles.
To do this pose you will need to start on your knees. Make sure you use your yoga mat so you don’t hurt your knees or your legs. Then put your palms face down to the ground. Slowly slide your body in to the cobra pose. Your chin should be up and you should feel all your muscles in your shoulders, chest, neck and back stretching. It also helps stretch your stomach muscles. Focus on balancing.
7) Bridge Pose
This helps open up the neck, chest, and back. It also helps with stress and fatigue.
Lay on your back. I would make sure to use your yoga mat. Bring your feet flat to the floor with your knees bent upwards. Lay your arms by your sides and lift your hips up towards the sky. If you can inter-twine your hands together underneath you.
8) Supine Spinal Twist Pose
The supine spinal twist is great for stretching out your back muscles and stretching your spine. “It stretches the back muscles and glutes. It massages the back and hips. It helps to hydrate the spinal disks. It lengthens, relaxes, and realigns the spine. It massages the abdominal organs and strengthens the abdominal muscles. As a result, this pose tones the waistline and also helps to remove toxins. This twist also encourages the flow of fresh blood to your digestive organs, increasing the health and function of your entire digestive system” (Unknown. (2018).
To do this pose you will need to start by laying on your back. Again, I highly recommend investing in a yoga mat. Then slowly raise one knee. Grab it with your opposite hand and pull it towards that opposite hand. Next stretch out your free arm. Turn your head towards that free arm and hold it there while you breathe in and out slowly.
9) Extended Triangle Pose
This pose always gets my blood flowing (probably because I’m upside down). This pose is going to help stretch a lot of your muscles. It helps with alignment, stretches your waist, and opens up your chest. It also helps with strengthening your core.
To do this pose you will need to start by standing with your legs even with your hips. Step forward with one foot and point it facing forward in front of you. Then turn towards the leg you moved and bend downwards (like in the picture to the right of this section). Touch your foot facing forward. Then extend your other arm upwards to the sky. Look upwards while you are doing this pose and breathe. It will be hard at first, but your body will eventually get used to it.
10)Head to Knee Forward Bend Pose
The head to knee pose is great for stretching out your back and your legs and feet. It also helps with digestion.
You will need to start with sitting with your legs together in front of you. Again, I would use a yoga mat. Then slowly bend one leg towards you. Bend forward towards the leg still extended outwards. Clasp our hands around your foot and slowly breathe. Let your body fall in to that position naturally.
Below under “Resources” there are some really great websites regarding yoga poses and more in depth information about each pose.
Yoga Outlet. (2018). How to do Warrior 1 Post in Yoga. Retrieved from https://www.yogaoutlet.com/guides/how-to-do-warrior-i-pose-in-yoga/
Vyda Blelkus. (2014). 5 Great Yoga Poses for New Moms. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/vyda-bielkus/yoga-poses_b_5287615.html
Unknown. (2018). How to Do Reclined Spinal Twist in Yoga. Retrieved from https://www.yogaoutlet.com/guides/how-to-do-reclined-spinal-twist-in-yoga/