Yoga with Tiffany DeLancy: Plank (Kumbhakasana)
Staying active while mothering full time is not an easy task. Especially when you're still navigating the fresh territory of having more than one child! I am excited to share some easy ways of incorporating your baby (or kids) into your yoga practice. Not only is yoga a great way to get exercise, it's also a wonderful way to teach your children essential tools such as body awareness and mindfulness.
First, we always start out with breathing (pranayama) and om (aum). Come to a comfortable seat on the floor (sukhasana). Feel your sit bones connecting with the earth and lengthen the spine. Take a few nice big deep belly breaths, inhaling through the nose and expanding the belly. exhaling through the nose, retracting the naval point toward the spine. Encourage your little one to do it along with you! Allow the eyes to close if desired. Now inhale again and as you exhale this time, release through the mouth with a long resonate sound of "om". Om is said to be the sacred sound of creation, or the sound of the universe. It's vibration resides within all living things, and when we chant om together it brings about a sense of oneness and connection with all life.
*you may notice that your baby might have some kind of reaction to the om, either smiling and giggling or even getting sad and crying. (My own baby makes the sweetest pouty face when we om, it is so preciously heartbreaking!) This happens because babies are much more sensitive to vibrational energy than us adults. So I find that they either really love it or don't like it at all. Don't be concerned if your baby is indifferent though.
This is a wonderful pose to tone abdominal muscles, while also strengthening the arms and the spine. Lay your baby face up on your mat. Place your hands on each side of his/her shoulders, so that you are looking at each other face to face. (Making sure your hands are still YOUR shoulder width apart) Stretch the legs out long behind you and come up to balance on the pads of the feet. It is VERY important to continue breathing in this posture, but easy to forget! So if you find yourself holding it in, just come back to your breath; inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the nose.
For optimal positioning : keep head in alignment with the spine, relax shoulders down away from the ears, draw the shoulder blades back together, core engaged, tailbone tucked, and the feet are energized. This creates a long line of energy from the crown of the head down to the heels of the feet.
Talk with your baby, make a funny face, or sing a song to help distract your mind from the physical sensations. Hold this as long as desired, and if you need a breath, simply bring the knees down to the mat to rest. You may even rest in child's pose (balasana) if you so desire.
To close your practice now, come back to a comfortable seat (sukhasana) with the eyes closed. Inhale deep and make one last long resonate sound of om together as you exhale.
And as I like to say to my fellow mama Warriors;
MAMASTE : the Divine Mother within me honors and acknowledges the Divine Mother within you. When we find ourselves in that same place of love, of light, of peace, and of truth... WE ARE ONE."