1. Sun Breaths: Stand up straight with your feet hip distance apart and parallel. Sweep your arms out to the side and up towards the sky as you inhale. On the exhale, bring your palms together and down in front of your heart. Repeat as many times as necessary (excellent to re-center after a crying episode).
2. Modified Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog): Stand at a countertop, table or crib side, once again with feet hip distance apart and parallel. Place your hands on the surface in front of you shoulder distance apart. Walk your feet back until you make an "L" shape with your body. If possible, have your back straight (if you cannot straighten your back, bend your knees until you can... if you are uber-flexible, draw your ribs into your body so you aren't dipping into your lower back). Take five deep breaths, spread your feet firmly into the floor, and draw your quadriceps muscles (the ones on the front of your thighs) up.
3. Prasarita Padotanasana A (Fan Pose): Stand with your feet wide apart and parallel. Interlace your hands behind your back and bend your elbows until your palms touch. Gently stretch your interlaced hands down and then away from your body to open the chest. Optional: fold forward from the waist with knees straight or bent, and a straight spine. Engage those pesky quadriceps again. Breathe! Slowly come up to standing, and repeat with the hands interlaced the other way (so the other thumb is on top).
4. Easy Twist: Sit on the floor with your legs crossed. Stretch your arms up and overhead as you inhale, stretching long through both sides of the waist. As you exhale, twist to the right, placing your left hand on your right knee. Inhale and grow three inches taller, exhale and twist to the right a little deeper, taking care to keep your left sitting bone planted into the floor. Take four more breaths, and return to the center. Repeat to the left. This pose wrings out all the toxins that collect in the organs of the abdomen, and also prepares the back for this next pose...
5. Setu Bandha (bridge pose): Lay down on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat and parallel, hip distance apart. Lift your hips away from the floor, and point your tailbone towards your knees so the lower back is long. Interlace your hands underneath you (like the fan pose), and then stretch your interlaced hands towards your feet. Breathe. This pose opens the chest and reverses the posture you probably take while feeding or changing Baby.
6. Pranayama: While soothing the wee babe, take a deep breath in and imagine all four sides of your ribcage expanding, front and back, side to side. Exhale slowly making a "shhhhhhh" sound. Excellent for calming a fussy baby, and a good reminder for Mommy (or Daddy...) to take some deep breaths!
Taking time for yourself every day is vital for new parents, but it's hard to schedule in a class or even a free hour at home. Doing a few simple exercises scattered throughout the day will help to recharge, and reconnect with, your physical self. Stay sane, new parents!
Sidenote: I intended to include pictures of all these poses, but really, who has time for photo shoots? If you need a visual of these poses, go to http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/finder/browse_index. This is a great resource for anyone looking to start, or refine, a yoga practice.
|Cobra pose, behind bars|