Have Baby Will Exercise: Yoga Is More Than A Mom Exercise Stereotype


Moms and yoga pants go together like macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, or chips and salsa. But yoga pants are capable of being more than a comfortable and machine washable wardrobe staple. Yoga pants are also surprisingly handy to wear to an actual yoga class. If you’re not rolling out your sticky mat on a regular basis, please join me in Savasana (aka lay down on your back and chill out for a while) while I explain the benefits of yoga and why there’s a version of it for everyone, especially moms.

Yoga has a ton of things going for it that you should take advantage of. First of all, it’s cheap. Even though you can spend a small fortune on expensive classes, socks, straps, blocks, bags and more, all you really is a flat surface and a mat.

Second, it’s quiet, so you have fewer excuses to avoid doing it at home. It’s easy to tell yourself that you can’t do a bootcamp video in the living room after the kids go to bed or during their nap time because you fear the noise of you huffing, puffing and jumping around will wake everyone but with yoga you can be a fitness ninja.

Next, it’s good for your body.Yoga can increase your flexibility, improve your posture, increase your range of motion and help you build strength. Whether you sit at a desk all day or spend hours sitting on the floor playing blocks, yoga can help your body move more easily.

Yoga is also fantastic for your mental well being. It’s been shown to have a positive impact on chronic conditions like insomnia, depression, pain and anxiety as well as being high effective at reducing stress. Some people really connect with the spiritual side of yoga and choose classes that highlight this aspect of the practice of yoga , but even if you’re not one for chanting, doing yoga on a regular basis can help calm your nerves and quiet the constantly moving mind of a busy mom.

Yoga grows with you. After doing the same old weight lifting routine for weeks on end, your body forms muscle memory and stops getting as much of a benefit from doing the exercises it already knows how to do. But every time you practice yoga the body responds in different ways. The same balance pose that you rocked last week may make you tip over today. And even once you’ve mastered a pose, there are always ways to challenge yourself through changing arm positions or where you focus your gaze.

Finally, yoga is for everyone. No matter your age, gender, fitness level or ease of mobility, yoga is highly adaptable and can be modified to challenge each person on their own level.

When most people think of yoga, they envision lean people twisted like pretzels overlooking the ocean or a beautiful mountain vista somewhere while soft music plays. While that is one version of yoga, there are plenty of other styles to choose from.

Hatha or Vinyasa Yoga– If you’ve ever been to a basic yoga class at a gym, chances are it was a Hatha or Vinyasa based yoga class. This is your classic practice with sun salutations and moves that your instructor may refer to using sanskrit or English translations often referring to nature, like downward facing dog, tree pose and warrior two.

Power Yoga– If you bore easily and love lifting weights then power yoga is for you. While traditional yoga focuses on breathing and movingly slowly from one move to the next to increase flexibility, power yoga emphasizes building strength and raising your heart rate to make you sweat. While most traditional yoga classes have a five breath pause between poses, power yoga typically moves from pose to pose with little pausing. Power yoga is also popular for those who want to lose weight with the help of their yoga practice.

Bikrim Yoga– If you’re the type of person who doesn’t feel like a workout was a success unless you end in a pile of sweat, then Bikrim is for you. Bikrim is an exercise in endurance. Classes are 90 minutes long and performed in a room that’s 104 °F and 40% humidity. The class consists of 26 poses done in the same sequence each time. The warm temperature and humidity helps increase your flexibility, though avoiding dehydration is obviously important. If you workout on a regular basis and are up for a challenge, Bikrim may be what you’re looking for. It took me three attempts before I could get through an entire class, but when I finally did the feeling of accomplishment was amazing.

If you are curious about yoga but don’t want to commit to a class just quite yet, here’s a straightforward yoga workout by one of my favorite instructors, Meaghan Townsend. She’s an encouraging instructor who gives good modifications and reminds you to go at your own pace. It’s just 20 minutes long, and you probably don’t even have to change clothes.

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Have Baby,Will Exercise is a column dedicated to fitness and health for moms, by a mom. As a former personal trainer, group fitness instructor and cupcake addict, I hope to encourage and motivate moms who want to make fitness a part of their lives.

(image:Everett Collection/Shutterstock)

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