How yoga can support you during pregnancy and motherhood

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Today I had the opportunity to sit down and chat two moms from down under. Kate and Andy of Yoga Mamas are two moms from Australia supporting other moms and moms-to-be through the practice of yoga.

Why did you create Yoga Mamas?

Yoga Mamas was born out of a deep seeded desire to share the teachings of yoga with a tribe we believe needs it the most – mothers. Being mothers ourselves (Andy to 3, Kate to 1), we have used the practice of yoga & meditation pre, during & post pregnancy and understand first hand the benefits.

As Yoga Therapists, we are able to provide women with a holistic, authentic, educated approach to mamas & those to be, that is underpinned by the teachings of yoga.
We don’t offer any quick fixes, promises of the perfect body or stress-free lifestyles here, but what we do guarantee is a journey to the true self that’s informative, inspirational, empowering and individual.

What are the biggest benefits of Yoga for mamas and mamas-to-be?

There are SO many! The biggest one is connection. Connection to self and also the baby (during pregnancy and post birth).
Being pregnant can be a wonderful experience but for many, it can also be a very daunting one. Yoga and meditation provide that foundation to move through the pregnancy with awareness of the changing body and connection with your unborn child.
Post pregnancy, yoga can be used to aid recovery from birth, combat feeding posture, reduce anxiety and stress, assist with sleep deprivation and help connect with baby.

We are hearing a lot about meditation and mindfulness these days, what is the difference between the two and why should incorporate this into our day?

Mindfulness the lead into Meditation. In yoga, we call this Pratyahara (awareness of the senses) & Dharana (concentration). Mindfulness is bringing your awareness to the present moment. Noticing your external surroundings and then drawing your attention to your inner world. Awareness of your breath and how your body is feeling.

Meditation takes this one step further (Dhyana) where we bring the awareness to a single point of focus. Often using a mantra (repeating a word or phrase like Let Go), we are able to calm the nervous system and the mind. We move deeper into oneself. The major benefits of meditation are not during the practice but what happens in the hours, days and weeks following. With a regular meditation practice, we find ourselves moving through our day with greater ease and flow.

As busy moms, what are the self-care practices that help you the most?

Yoga is our number 1 go to as busy mamas. A 5-min yoga practice each day during nap time or even with the kids around (a few sun salutations or yin poses) & 10-mins of meditation before bed. Yoga nidra is our favorite meditation practice.

And other little things peppered throughout the day. A hot coffee in the fresh air. Pausing for a few deep breaths as we move through our day. Often done with the kids!

Tell us more about Yoga Mamas and how you all support women all around the world…

Yoga Mamas has been a collaboration between us for almost 3 years. Our signature program is YM Flow, an affordable online yoga hub for mamas & those-to-be. It supports even the busiest of mamas to find time in their day to move their body, find their breath and still their mind.

We regularly run free 21 Day Yoga Challenges & 10 Day Meditation Challenges to help mamas get into the habit of a daily yoga practice. That’s the ‘challenge’ part. The practices are deeply nourishing!

And our free Yoga Mamas iPhone app has hundreds of ‘mini bursts of yoga & meditation’ for pregnancy, postnatal and mamas.

2018 has been coined “The Year of Self-care” by some. What does “self-care” mean for mamas and how can we make more time for it in our busy lives?

To us, self-care is everything. It’s honoring ourselves and our need for nourishment as a mother and woman. We know that when we are feeling good we are able to care for our children more effectively. We also believe that it’s important that we show our children that it’s ok to take time for yourself. You can’t fill from an empty cup as they say.

Finding time is the most challenging part of self-care for mothers. This is often driven by the belief that we should be focused solely on our children and put our needs 2nd. Unfortunately, this quickly leads to exhausting, anxiety, overwhelm and stress. When we are in this state we are not showing up as the best version of ourselves for our children and we all suffer.

A few minutes a day is all it takes. It might be a hot shower on our own, a cup of tea or coffee in the fresh air or a few yoga poses. It doesn’t have to be fancy and it doesn’t have to take up too much time. If we have more time, amazing, we should use that, but for most that are unrealistic so we must work with what time we have available.

Check your schedule and carve out the time needed for you. It might be a few minutes before bedtime or during nap time. Only you can make the time and it’s important that you do.

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