Mum & Baby Yoga with Alexa Dean
Chelsea Postnatal Yoga
Practising yoga with your baby next to you is, fun, lively, cute, noisy… requires lots of pauses and creativity to adapt the postures and moves to add sounds, peek-a-books, smiles, songs, cuddles, eye contact, feeding and changing nappies and of course lots of kisses!
Be gentle with the movements, work within your strength and flexibility and never force anything. It is best to start from around 6 weeks postnatal when your body has recovered a little from birth. Don’t make moves too fast and try to use the flow and rhythm of your breath.
Breathing Warm Up
Sitting on Easy Pose (legs crossed) sit your baby on your lap and hold her back against your belly or if your baby is on the floor place one hand on her belly and your other hand on your heart centre. Align your spine making it tall, elegant and light, let your eyes close. Feel the energy from the crown of your head reaching up the skies and an opposing energy from your seat bones, reaching down to the centre of the earth. Enjoy as many breaths as you can, simply feeling the movement of your breath in your body. Do a few gentle head and neck circles in both directions and the same with your shoulders. Then draw your shoulders up and release with a big sigh three times. And saying to yourself, ask your baby to teach you something new today, as your baby is your greatest teacher!
Keeping the same seating position, maybe you want to change the crossing of the legs, bring one arm up on the inhale and as you exhale feel your intercostal muscles, in between your ribs, as you give your body a lovely side stretch. I like the flow from side to side when baby is next to you and follows the movement of your arms. You can also do this with your baby in your lap holding the baby with one hand and inhale the other arm up and over to feel the stretch. Repeat on the other side. 3-5 times each side.
Lying on your back with your knees bent. Baby may be on your chest, or next to you on a blanket or the top of your mat. Tuck your belly button in toward your spine, exhale and tilt your pelvis up, inhale and tilt your pelvis back. You are rocking your pelvis back and forth for gentle strengthening of the abdomen. You will feel your spine flat on the floor as you exhale and a natural curve as you inhale. Starting gently and moving slowly is the best. Add a gather of your pelvic floor muscles as you exhale and soften on the exhalation. Mindful conscious movement with breath is key here. Repeat around 20 times.
Half Bridge Up-Downs
Stay lying on your back with knees bent and hip width apart (feet too!). Baby sitting on your hips, hold her with your hands – or baby next to you, hands on the floor next to your body. Inhale here. On the exhale, press your feet down to the earth and lift your hips off the mat. You are opening up the space around your heart. It has a calming and quieting effect, therefore great for anxiety! Don’t squeeze your bum too much, think firm, not hard rock! Exhale raise, inhale back down synchronizing with a slow, steady breath. Here you can also activate your pelvic floor muscles each time you exhale up, and release as you inhale down to the mat. Always start the movement first grounding the feet to the floor then the lift becomes easier.
Bridge is a fantastic antidote to anxiety and therefore a pose I recommend to post-natal yogis. It calms the mind, helps with headaches, and alleviates stress and mild depression.
Cat-Cow Stretches (modified)
From Table Pose with hands below your shoulders and knees under your hips, exhale and create a dome shape to cat pose, the spine towards the sky. On the inhale come back to table. To this movement and breath add pelvic floor gathering and release. A full Cow Pose (with head and tailbone lifted) is not recommended with diastasis recti.
Movement releases tension and this posture is great for the spine and to strengthen the core and your pelvic floor.
Standing poses help us build strength, balance and confidence.
Step your left foot back, heel off the floor as you bend the right knee and your arms flow up to Crescent Moon Pose. Align the spine, drop the shoulders down, open your heart centre, ground your feet to the earth. Now come to Warrior II as the left heals goes down to the floor and your hips open gently to the left, front knee always bent. One arm in front of you, the other one behind. Feel the feet rooting down and the opposing energies from your arms. Check your spine. A gentle tone in your belly and the pelvic floor. Keep dancing from Crescent Moon Pose to Warrior II Pose.
Hold your baby in your arms. Standing with legs shoulder-width apart, start moving the hips in circles. Keep the pelvic floor activated as you move your hips. If you feel good and want to try more, widen your stance and bend your knees a bit more. Dance! Smile! Have fun!
At the end of your practice, take a moment to lay still, on your back in Savasana or side to let your body and mind relax and take in the practice you have just done. Maybe sing a song to the baby…
About Alexa Dean
Alexa is a Yoga Teacher, Doula, Hypnobirthing Childbirth Educator, Massage Therapist and Placenta Remedies Specialist. She is passionate about active, positive and conscious birth and supporting pregnant women and new parents through the amazing transformation that parenthood brings forth. She encourages her mamas to enjoy their pregnancy and to feel the empowerment obtained through knowledge and understanding of the process of birth. Her classes with mums-to-be and mums with babies are fun and are offered with an open mind and open heart. The vibe is upbeat, nurturing and friendly. For more info visit her website
Alexa teaches Mummy & Me (Dads Welcome) at triyoga Chelsea
Fridays 11:30-12:45. To book click here.
Mum and Baby Yoga Chelsea / Postnatal Yoga Chelsea