We are so excited to kick off our yoga series with our dear friend Tiff, who you may remember from Sling Diaries Vol. V! Tiff is a mother to two amazing girls, Nora and Violet. Aside from her primary focus of mothering, she is a birth doula, certified aromatherapist, hypnotherapist, and yoga instructor. She is passionate about homebirth, breastfeeding, babywearing and all things natural/instinctual/conscious/mindful.
Below are five babywearing yoga poses from Tiff that are perfect for all levels of yoga. We all know that being a mom can be stressful, which is why we love these simple postures that harmonize body and mind. Not to mention staying flexible is great for health at any age. Light a candle at home or find some space in the park - these poses you can do almost anywhere!
Tadasana - mountain posestanding with your feet about hip width & parallel, take in a deep inhale and feel the breath fill your lungs as your belly expands. close the eyes. as you exhale fully and completely, notice the navel point drawing inward, release the arms to the sides, palms facing forward. feel the feet connecting with the ground, and imagine yourself rooting down into the earth, toes spread wide. notice how you feel as that rooted energy rises up through your body. engaging your core, drawing the shoulders down away from the ears, and tucking the chin ever so slightly. now lengthen the spin and energetically lift the crown of the head, perhaps by imagining that an invisible string attached to your head is being gently tugged & pulled upward. continue to take long deep inhalations and exhalations in this place of stability, creating a strong foundation for your practice. you are like a beautiful mountain; immovable and mighty.*this pose is the foundation of all standing postures. makes a great tool to improve posture.
Utkata Konasana- goddess pose
open the legs to a much wider stance, with toes pointed open at about a 45 degree angle. tuck the tail bone under, and gently bend into the knees... making sure that the knees do not bend past the ankles (if this is the case, simply widen your stance). arms may be on the hips for balance, or out to the side placed at shoulder height with hands open or in a mudra of your choice. gyan mudra is most commonly chosen. it stimulates the root chakra, brings about feelings of calm, expansion, knowledge, & spiritual openness. find a drishti to focus on (a non-moving focal point) in front of you as you create dynamic movement with breath; inhale- straighten the legs, and exhale- bend back into the knees. this movement really opens the hips & strengthens the pelvic floor and is especially beneficial for expecting mothers.
*if you have experienced knee injuries be sure to practice this movement carefully and mindfully.
Virabhadrasana II - warrior IIfrom tadasana (mountain pose), step one foot back to create a nice wide stance. open the hips to the wide edge of your mat, and point the back foot to a 90 degree angle. bend deep into the front knee, so that your shin is perpendicular to the floor. keep the torso directly over the pelvis and reach the arms out to the sides, palms facing down. tuck the tailbone under and gaze out over your front fingertips. be sure to draw the shoulders back and down away from the ears. come back to your big, deep belly breaths.you are a fierce warrior.*this pose increases stamina and relieves backaches- especially through second trimester of pregnancy!
Vrksasana- tree posecome back to your tadasana -standing mountain pose. once you have found yourself grounded here again, begin to root into one foot, as you slowly lift the other. start to balance on the standing foot and place your lifted foot nestled on the standing ankle. bring the hands to anjali mudra (prayer position at heart center) and find a drishti (focal point) again. once you are comfortable and stable here, you may lift the foot and place it at either the calf or thigh (just be sure to avoid the knee). draw the lifted knee back to open the hip. press the foot into the thigh as you press the thigh into foot, and these equal opposing energies will make for a solid, stable trunk. while balancing in this posture, you can lift your arms up and reach toward the sky to grow your tree branches. if you feel really comfortable and steady, look up toward the sky and open the heart.you remain rooted and strong, even when the winds come your way.*a wall may be used for support.
Baddha Konasana- butterfly pose / bound angle
come to a seated position on the floor, soles of the feet pressed together. if the pelvis or groins are tight, a folded blanket may be placed under the bottom to elevate the hips. gently drop the knees down to the ground to open the hips. root the sit bones down into the earth, and lift up the crown of the head. draw the shoulders down away from the ears and the shoulder blades back. to deepen the posture, bring the heels in toward the pelvis as close as it is comfortable. continue with your breath, staying in this pose for about 1-5 minutes. you may stretch the side body by reaching one arm up over head and leaning to the side. repeat on the other side. *this pose can help relieve menstrual discomfort as well as symptoms of menopause!
Remember to take your time and listen to your body if you're new to practicing. If it doesn't feel good then take a step back and find an angle that does. Yoga is meant to be a fun way to let go. At the end try a quick meditation or chant some Om's - whether your little falls asleep or starts laughing at the sounds, we think that's a workout well-done!