While on maternity leave, it is common to get a little bit of cabin fever and want to go out and interact with the world, thinking about anything other than diaper and feeding schedules. A great, low key place to get acclimated post-baby? A mommy-baby yoga class!
Many thanks to my childhood friend Lindsey, who just had her adorable daughter 12 weeks ago, for taking the time to help me out with this piece before returning to teaching high school full time. Since the role of a teacher is so demanding and time consuming with all of the after hours “extras,” Lindsey is looking for exercise programs that she can do in the evenings or weekends.
Lindsey is a big fan of Zumba classes since they are fun and high energy (I am taking some Zumba classes on her recommendation—this uncoordinated mama is VERY nervous) and has taken some legs/abs classes through the local YMCA when she is not teaching in the summer to experience a great, challenging workout. If she is not doing either of these, Lindsey tries to fit in a combination of cardio and weights…and might be fitting yoga into her schedule as well! Is she a super mom or what?!?
The Mom-Baby Yoga Class
Speaking of yoga, Lindsey chose the mom-baby yoga class at Bloom Yoga Studio. Lindsey points out that it was not the most rigorous workout, but it provided some great stretching and strength training—exactly what your body needs once your doctor clears you for exercise post-partum. It seemed as though some of the movements the class performed were more similar to Pilates than Yoga movements to focus on core strength as well as strength training in the arms and legs, but all of the activities were effective for Lindsey. Afterwards, she felt relaxed and refreshed, which is exactly what a new mom needs.
Overall the teacher created a very relaxed environment and included moves to strengthen and tone different muscle groups. The stretching exercises were a relief to a tired mommy (especially when you can strain muscles by nursing or constantly holding a fussy baby) and some of the toning exercises, especially those geared towards weakened abdominal muscles, were a bit challenging. Thankfully Lindsey’s smiley little one encouraged her through the most difficult positions.
Since it is a mom AND baby yoga class, the intensity of your workout definitely depends upon how content your baby is. Almost every mom had to stop at some point to nurse or feed her little one, so be mindful of having an interrupted workout when you sign up for a class with your baby (or your toddler, for that matter). And don’t forget, you are in a group of moms so don’t stress if your baby cries. Everyone is accepting and eager to help.
Most moms tend to choose a mom-baby yoga class, especially when they are on maternity leave, so that the baby can come with you and you don’t have to worry about childcare. The only troublesome aspect of this class was that it wasn’t offered very frequently (during the day on Monday and Thursday), so it would be practically impossible for a full time working mom to fit it into her schedule. Once Lindsey is on summer break, she looks forward to trying the mom-tot yoga, for babies who crawl up to age two, so scheduling and child care most likely won’t be an obstacle for her.
Healthy Mommy, Healthy Baby
In order to maintain her workout regimen to lose weight post-baby and get some much needed “me” time, Lindsey has returned to her regular workouts at the YMCA and will be taking advantage of the $50 one-month unlimited pass to the yoga studio (she has already gone a handful of times this winter…take that, Mother Nature!). Since the YMCA provides child care, this is something that she will be taking advantage of once her baby is a bit older, so that she can model how to be healthy and happy for her entire family.
Thanks again, Lindsey!
And since many of us moms are very self conscious (at least I was) about how I looked post-baby and what people would think of me at the gym (ridiculous, I know–let’s just blame it on my hormones), here is a great post from Stiletto’s and Diapers about awesome workout gear and accessories. The “squat now, wine later” shirt is my absolute favorite!