The word elicits many intense emotions and thoughts. It is a different experience for each woman, but one thing remains true for nearly everyone who experiences it - afterward, complete exhaustion overtakes the body, soul and mind. Sleep is what we mothers crave once our new, sweet little baby enters the world.
Yoga alleviates the overwhelm of motherhood by reminding us to breathe and pause. The poses simply act as a conduit to the breath - to slow it down, to inhale deeply, to exhale extensively and to take each moment one breath at a time. Yoga postures offer a place of comfort and connection to ourselves, something that we struggle to remember upon becoming a mother.
After birthing my second son, Grey, on April 2, 2017, I returned to yoga one pose at a time. When Grey was one day old, I fell into Child's Pose (I probably cried there, too). I couldn't wait to place my belly upon my thighs, which did not happen as I grew rounder and rounder during pregnancy. On Grey's second day of life, my husband helped me hug my knees into my chest - the soreness from pushing prevented me from doing this alone. On the third day, once again, my husband helped me lift my legs to form Eye of the Needle. And so it went... for the first week of Grey's life, the still, quiet, Yin Yoga poses helped me surrender and work out the tightness and fatigue from labor, holding Grey and prolonged nursing sessions.
The first nine poses I did after giving birth are listed in order, from day two of Grey's life to day six. They are all supine, prostrate hip openers. I performed them in my comfiest, biggest clothes with cozy, warm socks upon the softest surface I could find - my bed!
The Sanskrit name is listed first, then the Yin Yoga name and finally the common English name. I hope this list serves as a guide for new moms so that they can find rest to restore their bodies and souls.
About the photos: these were taken by my husband nine months after Grey was born. He was napping during the photo session, and our four-year-old was happily enjoying performing yoga poses for the camera :)
1. Balasana/ Child's Pose
2. Apanasana/ Knees-to-Chest
3. Eye of the Needle/ Dead Pigeon Pose
4. Paschimottanasana/ Caterpillar/ Seated Forward Bend
5. Baddha Konasana/ Butterfly/ Cobbler's Pose
6. Agnistambhasana/ Fire Log Pose
7. Upavishta Konasana/ Dragonfly/ Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend
8. Eka Pada Rajakapotasana/ Sleeping Swan/ Pigeon
9. Viparita Karani/ Legs-Up-the-Wall
"Motherhood has taught me the meaning of living in the moment and being at peace. Children don't think about yesterday, and they don't think about tomorrow. They just exist in the moment." - Jessalyn Gilsig