by Sandra Burgess
I spent the holidays in Phoenix this year visiting my delicious godson Connor and his sister Maggie. They were on me like velcro the moment I arrived, and I loved every minute of it. At three and a half, Connor is as sturdy as a tank, and felt about as heavy as one. Even as a seasoned
yoga practitioner and certified yoga therapist, by nap time I felt worn out too, my tense lower back asking for relief. Supporting the squirming weight of a child changes the body’s alignment, and can quickly result in imbalances and tension. Yoga practice encourages us to use a range of postures to become more conscious of our alignment, and of the relationship between different parts of the body. When the kids went down I did too – for a soothing yoga practice! These simple yoga postures helped me release tension and offer three key benefits:
▪ They help to keep your lower back muscles and your spine healthy and supple to better support weight.
▪ They help to re-align your pelvis.
▪ They stimulate the body’s relaxation response to rejuvenate and restore balance to the nervous system.
You will feel some benefits immediately, but this kind of conscious re-training takes practice, so keep it up and come see us at TexasYogini to learn more and enjoy community and connection with fellow moms!
1. Cat/Cow Seated
Prep: Sit comfortably on a chair with the feet on the floor hip distance apart. Feel your thigh bones release into the chair and your feet melt down into the floor as the chest, neck and head floating upward. Become aware of the pubic bone at the front of the pelvis, the sacrum bone at the back and the two sit bones on either side.
Exhaling: Draw your navel and front ribs draw inwards towards your spine, rocking on the back of your sit bones, releasing and lengthening your back body as your chin moves toward your chest
and your arms extend over your knees.
Inhaling: Release the contraction and allow your belly to soften, contracting the muscle of the back body to arch the spine in the opposite direction, gently gazing upward as the arms pull back
squeezing the shoulders.
Do 5 rounds, inhaling and exhaling as you move. This realigns the pelvis, back and shoulders by strengthening and stretching the front and back of the body. Come back to neutral and breathe normally for 5 breaths.
REMEMBER: Link the movements with your breath and go at your own pace. This pose will realign the pelvis, spine and shoulders and release accumulated tension.
2. Standing Forward Bend with Support
Prep: Stand with your feet hip width apart, about six or eight inches away with your back against a wall and your knees soft. Place the hands on the wall next to the hips for support.
Exhaling: Press the feet into the floor, firming the legs and drawing the navel and front ribs in towards the spine. Hinge forward from the hips, extending and lengthening the spine forward toward the center of the room before allowing the torso and head to release down toward the floor. Keep the knees soft and slightly bent.
Inhaling: Release the arms toward the floor as the hands softly clasp the elbows. Do 5 – 9 rounds of breath, inhaling and exhaling as you release the spine, neck and head toward the floor.
REMEMBER: To come out, gently bend the knees deeper and on an exhale draw the navel in to round the back and slowly come back up to standing one vertebrae at a time supported by the wall. Rest in neutral with the support of the wall for 5 breaths.
3. Restorative Inversion: Hips and Legs Elevated on support
Fold a towel or blanket and have nearby. Lie with your back on the floor and your legs resting over the seat of a chair, couch or ottoman. The edge of the seat should come right into the backs of your knees, so your calves rest completely on the seat. Press the calves into the chair to lift the hips and slide the blanket under the hips. Your thighs should be slanting slightly away from the chair. Allow the arms to extend away from the body with the palms facing up. Close the eyes,
relaxing the face and jaw and rest. Stay resting for 3-5 minutes, breathing normally.
This pose relieves a tight lower back, relaxes the spinal muscles and calms and soothes the nervous system. To finish, press the calves into the seat, lift the hips and remove the
blanket. Bend the knees into the chest, roll to the side and slowly come back to a seated position.