You know how it goes: the baby's crying and you're anxious and sleep deprived. While deep breaths are helping, they aren't quite cutting it, and you need something more. Be assured that you're not alone.
You can break the stress cycle with yoga poses designed to calm your mind and relieve tension in your body. Ideal for easing into your day, taking a break, or unwinding at night, these yoga exercises can show you the light at the end of the tunnel. Bonus: you can even do a few of these poses with your baby! Happy stretching!
Cow and cat poses
The cow and cat poses are often paired together. Try a mother-baby asana:
- Place your baby on the mat. Get on your hands and knees and face each other.
- Align your shoulders with your knees and your hips with your wrists.
- Begin moving into the cow pose. Inhale as you drop your belly towards the mat.
- Tilt your tailbone up and lift your chest and chin, gazing toward the ceiling.
- Broaden your shoulder blades, drawing your shoulders away from your ears.
- Move into the cat pose by bringing your belly to your spine, tilting your tailbone down and rounding your back as you exhale. You should look like a cat stretching its back.
- Release your head toward the floor, but don’t force your chin to your chest.
Use this time to look at your baby. When your eyes connect, make silly faces. Repeat as many times as you desire. This exercise stretches the spine, alleviates lower back pain while still giving you some quality baby-mommy time.
Ease the tension in your body while opening up your hips and lengthening your spine.
- Sit calmly and quietly with your legs crossed and your hands gently resting on your knees as you straighten your spine for 60 seconds or more.
As you sit there, you should feel your exhaustion and stress should melt away. It's a perfect pre-bedtime pose because it aligns your body and frees your mind. Feel free to sit on top of a pillow to make this position more comfortable.
Legs up the wall pose
- Lie down on the floor with your legs propped up against the wall and your arms outstretched by your sides for up to five minutes.
- Close your eyes.
- Wear an eye pillow and play some tranquil tunes for maximum relaxation.
You can also hold your baby on your chest or against your hips while doing this. Take breaks and repeat this pose when ready.
Toe squat pose
You hold a great deal of stress in your feet and toes – especially when you're on your feet all day taking care of the family. Take a moment to activate the myriad of pressure points on your soles.
- Tuck your toes beneath your feet.
- Leaning back, balance your bottom on your heels. You'll feel a stretch in your toe joints and the arches of your feet.
- Lengthen your spine and focus on your breath.
Stay in this position for one minute before transitioning into the next pose.
Total relaxation is the goal of this pose.
- Lie on your back with your eyes closed, arms outstretched by your side with the palms facing the sky.
- Allow your ankles to fall to the side.
- Give your body permission to sink deeper into the mat.
- Visualize your body melting more and more with each breath.
- Stay in the pose for a minimum of five minutes and a maximum of 10 minutes. Try this position with your baby on your chest. Support your baby's head, if necessary. It's never too early to teach your child how to relax and breathe!
About the Author
Zoe Wilder is a writer with a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the College of William & Mary, and a Master of Social Work from Fordham University. Her work has been published in The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Kinkly, MindBodyGreen, URB,‘SUP Magazine, Vault, Brooklyn Exposed, and Thought Catalog.