Who has time for yoga and meditation anyway? Parenthood is actually one long yogathon. Here are three custom poses for parents that will have you rock’n yoga so many hours a day, you won’t believe it. In the first few months you’ll have clocked in enough hours for a teacher certification, not to mention a tight pelvic floor. And you don’t need a mat, strap, or Lycra. Time to get your yoga
Babyburpasana: You can start this one as soon as you give birth. As a matter of fact, as soon as your baby starts eating, you’ll be practicing. This pose is Tadasana with a purpose. Hold your baby in your arms close to your chest, or in anusara yoga terms, your “melting heart”. Inhale deeply with the added benefit of smelling your baby’s head. Exhale, mmm… Ground feet into the floor, pull up the arches of your feet, engage the thighs and pull up the pelvic floor. Pelvis tilts up toward the navel, shoulders relaxed. With one hand, rub baby’s back up and down with gentle but confident strokes; inhale up, exhale down. Try variations like swaying side to side, or bend the knees deeply and straighten with a bouncing motion. Repeat until you hear the sweet sound of that perfect baby burp. At about 3 minutes a burp, 8 times a day for 3 months, you will have clocked in about 40 hours by the time your baby is a completely independent burper.
Dirtydiaperasana: This one is a bit more strenuous. Wait until your baby is a few weeks old before you do this vinyasa sequence. After changing your baby’s diaper, stand with feet hips-width apart. Take your baby in one arm– remember to switch arms every day, so you don’t get crooked. Take the dirty diaper in other hand. Inhale and exhale through the mouth, uji breath with a slight constriction in the back of the tongue. Step the left foot forward and lunge toward the toilet bowl. Swing the diaper down by your side and forward, drop the diaper into the toilet. If you are using disposable diapers, naturally, you will only drop the contents in the toilet, without self-judgment. If you can’t do cloth, you can’t do cloth. Let’s just hope there is no such thing as diaper karma. Still in lunge, swish the diaper, ball up in hand, squeeze. Straighten left leg and step your right leg forward to meet left. Now step right foot forward into lunge towards the diaper bucket and drop the diaper in. Don’t forget…breathe through your mouth. Wash hands, and now, breath deeply through the nose, satisfaction with another diaper done. Forty minutes a day (at least) for the next 2 years for a whopping 500 hours. That’s the equivalent of an advanced teacher training. At this point, you will have practiced more yoga than the most dedicated yogi who lives in a cave . Check out the end of video where I saw a resemblance between his cave and my kitchen sans the money. Can you feel yourself transcending yet? If not, and you need more, keep reading for the pose to last a lifetime. You won’t need this one until your baby is about 15 months old. But you will continue using it for the next 17 years.
Noasana: The stance and attitude in this pose are everything. If you hesitate or vacillate, all is lost. Before you begin, inhale deeply the belief that you are a Godess; you stand your ground with love and strength. I didn’t know you could inhale feelings, but they say it all the time in yoga class… Exhale the mantra Nooooooo.This posture is Goddess Pose with an authoritative edge. There are creative variations to keep things fresh, since you will be practicing it about 5-10 times a day for 17 years, or about 5,000 hours if I got the math right. You can inhale and straighten knees, exhale bend. Or inhale the arms open, exhale forearms come to touch. Try some twists. But remember a calm, confident steady gaze and the old saying “fake it till you make it”. And after you say, “No”, you can say yes to something, as in, “You can’t have blue gatorade but you can have a smoothy.”
With these three simple poses of parenthood, your yoga practice can hit new heights because after all it’s all about “just doing it”. The more you do it the more you are transformed by it. You may still want to go to a yoga class, but that will just be the icing on the cake of enlightenment—and a chance to get away from the kids. If all else fails, go into your bedroom, close the door and take child’s pose. Come to think of it, that might be the best idea, yet.
“May we all stretch, may we all breathe deeply, may we all have fun.”