Lots of new moms know exercise is a great way to condition their post-baby bodies, but fitting in workout time is hard when you’re spending night and day with your new baby. Practicing yoga with your infant is a great solution: You can work on toning your entire body while connecting with your baby and deepening your bond. It’s also a great stress reliever.
“Yoga can put Mom in an accepting and peaceful space, and baby can feel that peaceful energy,” says Sonima.com yoga instructor Jessica Walden. Here are seven mommy and me yoga poses you can do with your baby:
- Boat Pose
Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Cradle your baby on your legs facing toward you, with her bottom on your belly. Lean back and slowly lift your feet off the floor. You can bend your knees if you need to. According to Doreen Foxwell, owner of The Children’s School of Yoga, this is a great bonding pose. “Mom can see her baby and baby can see her. Babies love it and usually coo and laugh,” she says.
- Downward-Facing Dog
According to Walden, one of the easiest poses to do with your baby is downward-facing dog. Just place your little one on his back on the floor. Get on your hands and knees with your little one underneath you. Lift your knees off the floor, and push your heels down as far as they can go. Maintain eye contact with your baby — even give him kisses if you can (if you’ve got the flexibility, use it!).
- Cobbler’s Pose
Sit on the floor with your baby next to you. Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together, tucking your feet in as close to your body as possible. Then, pick up your baby and place her on your lap. “This pose is a great hip opener,” says Walden. You can talk and interact with your little one as you feel the stretch in your hips and legs.
- Cat Pose
As with downward-facing dog, this pose starts on your hands and knees with your baby on the floor beneath you. Align your knees so they’re under your hips and your hands so they’re directly under your shoulders. As you breathe in, look up toward the ceiling. As you breathe out, look down and arch your back. “In this pose, you’re toning your stomach muscles as you arch up and down,” says Foxwell. Make use of the time you’re arching your head down to smile and interact with your little one.
Start by lying facedown on your stomach. Place your baby in front of you on his stomach, facing you. Place your hands under your shoulders, and gently push up until your arms are straight. Your hips, legs and feet should stay on the floor. Depending on your baby’s age, he may even try to imitate you and do a baby cobra himself!
- Tree Pose
Stand with your feet together, holding your baby in your arms. Slowly bend one knee, and place the sole of the foot against the calf of your standing leg (or inner thigh, if you’re feeling especially balanced!). Bring your leg down and repeat on the other side. “Moms sometimes need help to get their balance back after birth, and this pose is great for that,” says Foxwell. You can do this pose next to the wall so you have something to hold onto until you feel more stable.
- Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
Lie down on your back with your baby on your stomach. “Try to have your baby rest her head near your heart. It’s a very comforting feeling,” says Foxwell. Release all the muscles in your body and try to relax as much as you can. Some moms and babies get so relaxed in corpse pose, they even fall asleep!
Try incorporating a little mommy and me yoga into your everyday routine. “Yoga promotes movement that is important for Mom and good for baby, too. It’s a great thing,” says Walden.
And check out these 9 Benefits of Doing Baby Yoga for Mom and Baby.
Rebecca Desfosse is a freelance writer specializing in parenting and family topics.