Nine months ago, I had a baby boy and over all my pregnancy was easy, even normal. I kept up with my practice, I ate well, and if I overindulged on anything, it was probably watermelon. But here, I am, 9-months later and still learning to love my new body.
It’s rumored that it takes 9-months post baby for your body to be “back to normal”. After all, it was 9-months in the making, so naturally it takes just as long to bounce back, right? The thing is the body can’t be the same as it was before baby. Sure, I weigh the same as I did before I was pregnant. I may even be stronger in some areas than I was before, but honestly how could I expect my body to be the same after giving birth to my little guy?
After the initial shock of what my body would be like post-baby (yea, I didn’t expect to be lumpy or swollen. And I sure as hell, didn’t expect to feel as weak as I did!), I started the slow process of falling in love with myself again. I could give a big long list of what changed from my hips to my now well-toned arms (not even 100’s of chatarungas could have given me the strength that lifting and carrying little guy has), but what I really want to share is how my new body mantra came about, from my yoga mat!
Like a beginner yogi, my return to the yoga mat was all about relieving some discomfort and pain. Heart openers like sphinx, and spine lengthening with puppy pose were all I could do, slowly adding in cat/cow and seated spinal twist. Syncing my breath and movement seemed to bring me back home, but when I looked around my body/home I found it had been remodeled and the furniture re-arranged! Six-months back on my mat and I feel less like a beginner, but not quite like the practicing yogi I was before baby.
No arm-balances for me, my left wrist is still weak. Inversions are not quite there yet either, so I stay close to the wall. Heart openers have a whole new meaning since I am over flowing with love and any space I can create there feels amazing. I no longer struggle in standing poses, because my legs are strong and ready to hold me up. Bring on those Warriors this momma is ready!
If you are looking to love your body again, here are four poses to discover your new “home” and feel the love again:
Corpse Pose, or Savasana.
Resting on your back, on the floor can be a great way to notice how it feels to be you. As you take corpse pose, take a inventory of your body. Scanning from the tips of your toes to the top of your head, begin to notice how you rest down. Are you clenching or clinging on to something? Are you holding your breath? This is the best pose to feel when you hold tension and to see what you are clenching.
Mountain Pose, or Tadasana.
Just like resting in corpse pose shows you where you are clenching your new body, standing in Mountain will help you see how you carry your new body. Press through the feet and start to find your rooting down, moving up through the body. Put your hands on your hips and see how they are tilting or holding. Check in with the shoulders. How are you standing, how are you moving around in this new body? And can you make it any better?
Breath and movement, see how your body responds to your breath. Does it move easily? How does the spine react as you arch and round? If the spine is your foundation in holding you up, is it doing its job? Doing round after round of cat and cow will start to get the energy moving in the body and start revealing so much about the new you.
It may be a bit more advanced than you feel up to doing, but trust me a little heart opening will do the body good. Fish pose opens up the channel from the heart to the throat leading into the 3rd eye and crown chakras. Besides connecting the top four chakras, this pose just feels so good! Take note of how the breath feels across the collarbones and the rib cage. See what your new body can really do by giving it space and room.
Nine months have passed and I love every day of it, my new body is strong in areas and soft in others. Motherhood has made me realize the importance of self-care, if not for my little man, but to allow myself to be there for him. So I can be present and active in his life as he starts to run and tackle the world.
This new body of mine is beautiful and my yoga practice helps remind me of it every day.