We’re right in the midst of our 6-week Mums & Bubs Yoga series here at Kula, and we love helping you find the connection to both yourself, and your little one. Kula instructor and mum Andrea share some tips for finding inner zen post baby:
Whilst life as a new mum is exhilarating, it can also be both physically and emotionally challenging. Recovering from giving birth, aches and pains, fatigue and mixed emotions can make life feel like it’s going by in a blur. Meditation is a practice that helps to calm and quiet the mind by becoming more aware of the world around us, and for a new mum- to find those moments of clarity. Unfortunately, it too can be a challenge for new mums – finding the time or engaging in a moment of stillness without falling asleep from exhaustion!
The key to meditation is to remember that it can be practised anytime, anywhere and requires nothing but you and your intention. It is perfect for new mums because you can squeeze it in to fit your schedule. Research shows that even short bursts of 5 to 10 minutes of meditation can be beneficial. Traditionally meditation is practised in stillness, in a seated or reclined position, and can take many forms. Guided meditations are lead by vocal prompts, mantra meditation is the mental or verbal repetition of a phrase or affirmation; and relaxation is imagining each area of your body relaxing. Meditation can also include practices that involve moving your body while focusing on your breath, like yoga or a walking meditation. Essentially meditation can simply be any moment that you can steal away to focus on your breath and be aware of your thoughts.
Tips for stealing those moments…
- When feeding your baby, find a comfortable seated position, either with the legs crossed or feet firmly planted on the ground. Allow you and your baby to be as supported a possible, using pillows or cushions, and be aware of your posture. Close your eyes and focus on your breath.
- Next time your baby settles down to sleep, put aside anything that needs to be done for 5 minutes and find a comfortable, seated position, being aware of your posture. I recommend a seated position over lying down as the aim is to keep focus without falling asleep. Listen to a guided meditation or simply focus on the breath. (There are many good free guided meditations online like http://www.mindthebump.org.au/)
- When you’re taking your baby for a walk in the pram, preferably find a walking track close to nature, ie, near water or a park. Find a gentle rhythm to your walk, relax your shoulders and focus on the movement of your breath.
- Try starting your day with a gentle vinyasa (a series of poses linked together) and move through a few rounds with a slow gentle breath. An example – Inhale from Childs Pose to all fours, exhale to Downward Facing Dog. Inhale back to all fours and exhale to Childs Pose.
- Whatever actions you do throughout the day – changing a nappy, folding clothes, driving the car, washing the dishes (although hopefully someone else is doing this for you!) pause in your action and notice things around you – smells, sounds, feel. Continue the action with complete mindfulness and notice your breath.
The benefits of meditation are best felt when practised daily, so even if you can only steal small moments, steal them often.