We meet Jana during a training course this summer called Healthy Pregnancy and the other day we were fortunate to spend time with her and her daughter Malin in their lovely home in Barcelona. We photographed them with the goal to inspire other mothers to bring their babies into their yoga practice and to capture the love of a mother through yoga.
Yoga can be a great way to create a connection with your baby however one needs to remember that the practice might not aways go as planned to avoid any frustration or disappointment. Practicing yoga with your baby should be a good time for both, at the same time as the mother gains physical and mental strength the baby also takes part of the benefits.
Taking time to practice yoga after the new member of the family has arrived can be a challenge but there are a lot of positive things you can gain from practicing yoga with your baby:
- build up strength and flexibility
- relieve tension in shoulders, back and neck
- create space and time to breathe and relax
- live beautiful moments with your baby
- laughter and connection with your baby
- reduced stress and anxiety
- new mom and baby friends if you attend classes
Questions to Jana:
1) When did you start to practice yoga?
I have been practicing yoga for 7 years now.
2) Did you attend any yoga pregnancy classes?
Yes! I continued with my regular yoga classes and my practice at home, but I also attended specific pregnancy classes, mostly to meet other pregnant women, talk and to exchange our experiences etc. I loved it. During the last months of my pregnancy I used to go two or three times a week; to prepare for giving birth, and also because the yoga studio had a fantastic air-conditioning (it was so hot outside!).
3) How did the yoga practice influence your pregnancy?
It helped me to stay connected with my body and the baby growing inside me, and feel the changes my body went through in a more conscious way I think. When you're pregnant you know your life is going to change radically, but you have no idea how it's going to be. For me doing yoga has been a wonderful way to accompany those special months. Thanks to my practice I knew what I needed at every time, and I was able to remove tensions, fatigue and little aches here and there. It helps you keep breathing deeply and keep your inner calm.
4) Have your yoga practice changed anything before and after your pregnancy?
I definitely practice less yoga now than before my pregnancy. My days are so different, and I share them with Malin. She stays with her dad twice a week for me to attend classes, and those are perfect little moments for me to recharge.
I don't practice much at home these days because Malin needs my attention most of the time. But we have a little early morning routine which consists in her starting to play and explore while I do some asanas. When she gets impatient I stop and we start making breakfast. These moments can last anything from 5 to 30 minutes and I take them as they come and treasure them. They are enough to give me a good feeling for the day ahead. On some days I manage to squeeze in some more asanas in the afternoon or evening.
I think the secret lies in splitting your practice into shorter sequences, instead of waiting in vain to have two free hours. You'll learn to be faster and more efficient, to relax, and to lower your expectations. I feel very connected to my practice now and grateful to be able to combine it with my motherhood.
5) Do you have any advice for mothers who want to start practicing yoga?
Do it! Like with many other things, it may seem impossible to find the time to practice. But it's so nice to practice with your baby. You regain your strength after giving birth (you're going to need it!) and your baby will love to watch you . It's easier to attend classes in the beginning so you don't get frustrated if your baby starts crying or needs to nurse, because you won't be alone as you'd be at home. You'll both get used to spend time on the yoga mat, and you'll be able to integrate precious little sequences of asanas in your everyday. Do inversions whenever you can as they renew your energy and clear your mind.