Morning Yoga for inner strength and mindfulness

Being a mom can take a lot of your energy – both mentally and physically. Heck, sometimes just being a fully functioning adult (without a baby) in today’s world can be completely draining. That’s why I turned to yoga back in 2012 at a particularly stressful time in my life, when I was working in a very intense job with long hours. In particular, I turned to morning yoga. I strongly believe the way we start our day sets the precedent for the hours to come. That’s why it is so important to dedicate the time after we wake up to mindful and positive activities and thoughts to guide us through. That includes the first thoughts that come to mind, the breakfast we choose and, of course, the first things you do after waking up.

If you think: “I would love to do yoga, but I just done have the time in the morning”, think again. Your ideal yoga session takes a minimum of 20 minutes and doesn’t have to be longer (unless you really want it to be) to have a positive effect on you, I am sure, that even if you need to head out to work really early, you might be able to find those 20 minutes. You will be highly rewarded, as you will start your day so much more refreshed. I always did my sessions using the DVD, “Rodney Yee’s A.M. yoga” by GAIAM. It includes five different 20 minute yoga workout sessions for each workday of the week. It certainly helped me preserve my stamina and thus enabled me to keep my cool, even on very stressful days. I strongly recommend using a DVD (or YouTube) so you can ensure you get the postures right.

 

This became even handier to me when I got pregnant. This is such a complete game-changer in any person’s life. Being a first-time parent can be terrifying. ‘Will I do everything right?’ ‘Will I be a good mom?’ ‘I’m scared of labor and the birth process’. All those thoughts are perfectly natural. Fundamentally though, this is precisely the time in your life when you SHOULD do yoga, even if you have never done it before and only start with it now. Don’t forget: you are “just” pregnant, not ill. So exercise is important – for your body AND (maybe even more important) for your mind. It helps strengthen your pelvic muscles (which you need for giving birth and a lot of other body functions in general), it supports the stability of your back (which also traverses our pelvic muscles, as they are connected to your back), it enhances your flexibility (and boy do we need that), it helps you focus on the moment and MOST IMPORTANTLY for pregnant women: It is a great resource for getting into a healthy breathing routine. This routine can help you during labor and contractions. For me, yoga was one of my key pillars of inner and outer strength during the pregnancy, besides my partner. Also, it enables you to keep a better posture. As the belly grows (and mine got really huuuuuuge, I looked like a baby elephant), it is more crucial than ever to maintain a good posture. Your back will thank you.

I started getting back into my morning yoga routine after my daughter was three weeks old and ever since then have used this as one of my resources for inner strength, rebuilding my postpartum body and being mindful. Check in with your midwife or doctor and get their okay prior to commencing any exercise regime, getting back into yoga or even starting from scratch. Don’t forget: you are not participating in a race as part of an unofficial fit mom challenge. Take your time to get into a yoga routine that works for you and allow your body to rebuild slowly. If that means that you focus more on the mindfulness aspects, that’s just as fine as going straight back to rebuilding your core strength. Every mom is different, that’s what makes us so wonderful, because we are all unique and powerful in our own right.

For moms who want to get back into yoga, I can whole heartedly recommend Sarah Beth Yoga. Her mama yoga videos are truly wonderful. I restarted with this video of hers, which I did when my baby took her morning nap.

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