Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Yoga for Mommy and Baby

By Christina VanGinkel

With many new mothers, the idea of losing their post baby pounds is the furthest thing from their minds, what with all the other things occupying that space, such as finding the time to sleep and other basic chores such as brushing teeth and combing their hair. Eventually though, most new moms will step in front of a mirror and come to the realization that those pounds and flab from when baby was still in residence just are not going anywhere, at least not without some sort of help!

Some women will race off to a gym and kick in to a full routine with every available resource to whip them back into shape. Others will turn away from the mirror and just figure that they will have to deal with it later because sleep is calling to them. In addition, many will fall somewhere in between the two. If this is you, realizing that for your health's sake and the sake of fitting back into your closet full of clothes, you really should develop some plan of action, but you just do not know where to start, then do I have the plan for you!
After checking with your physician, that it is ok to start back into some sort of physical routine, your one obstacle left that many new mothers have in common, is figuring out what to do with baby while you embark on some sort of exercise plan. So, to avoid that being an issue, look for a gym or studio that encourages you to bring baby along. That is right, there are places that know and recognize exactly where you are at physically, and emotionally, after giving birth. They make it easy by offering an open door policy. Rules and regulations will vary from gym to gym, and studio to studio, but most offer some type of organized exercise routine, such as yoga, that will allow you to get that stretching and some light exercising in, while still keeping an eye on baby. Most have an age limit on the age of children that are allowed to attend with their mom, but it is often up to two years of age, so if you start right after your baby's birth, you will not have to worry about outgrowing the program right after beginning.

Baby can sleep while you exercise, and as they grow, most places encourage you to incorporate baby into your routine, providing you and them some extra playtime! Furthermore, depending on the individual studio, they may offer new mothers the option to stop in for a class on a pay as you go basis, instead of having you sign a contract without knowing if the situation will work for both you and baby.

If you are reading this and figure that finding a class like this is probably not an option in the locale you live in, you still have some options. Consider getting together with another new mother, or a couple of mothers, and forming your own group. Contact your church or community center to see of they would borrow you the space a couple of times a week for such an activity. You can also begin an exercise routine on your own if necessary, and with baby as a partner, you will not really be alone anyways! For some inspiration and direction, check out a book such as Baby Om: Yoga for Mothers and Babies, by Laura Staton. This book will provide you with the basic information to get you going in the right direction with yoga, how to interact with baby at the same time, and it has four complete lessons so you have no excuses. When you are finished reading that, or at the same time, also be sure to read Mommy Yoga: The Fifty Stretches of Motherhood by Julie Tilsner, for a very lighthearted look at this same subject.

Whatever plan you end up taking, just know that starting is the hardest part. Once you get going, you will soon be re-energized, and feeling more in tune with your pre-pregnancy self. While finding enough time to sleep and cover the basics will still be issues, you will at least have the energy to run a comb through the tangles and pull the covers down instead of just falling on top of them!

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