Mom and baby yoga– it is what it is!

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May 012014

melanieThe other day, three year old Babe said to me, “It is what it is.” Where did you hear that? I asked her. She said she heard it in her yoga class! Ha! Babe doesn’t go to yoga class, but she’s got the right idea.

Mom and baby yoga is fun and sometimes stressful. It’s a place to relax and a place to get in shape. A place to meet other moms and feel normal. It’s a place to go to with zero expectations because things will NEVER go as planned! So when Babe said, “it is what it is,” I thought maybe she remembered the classes we did together when she was only a few months old. Maybe that’s the class she was talking about!

With mom and baby yoga we need to surrender to the possible chaos. We need to breathe through it. We need to accept the situation and our babies and our bodies and the bodies and babies of all the other mamas there on the mats with us! It’s the perfect way to practice yoga. Acceptance!

Since doing my Radiant Child Yoga certification I’ve really launched into yoga in a bigger way than ever. Especially mom and baby yoga. I have my own practice and teach children’s yoga, but on the mom and baby front I teach twice a week, am doing a special formation in it once a week and also attend weekly classes with Bug. At this very moment I see mom and baby yoga from all of the sides! (Except the baby’s side but I can’t figure out how I could make that work… I have to use my imagination!)

 I am more than half way through a 40 hour mom and baby training at Equilibrium with Jayme Hernandez, a remarkable woman who three years ago taught me all about yoga in birth which allowed me to have a glimmer of control during Babe’s hospital birth. I heard Jayme’s voice guiding me to use low voice vibration through my contractions. My best memory of that first birth was using this in the shower with Papa at St. Mary’s Hospital, the outside world blocked out. It was amazing.
And I now have the pleasure of taking part in Jayme’s first mom and baby teacher training and I am learning so much. Yes, I’m already teaching mom and baby yoga but the learning never stops. Jayme’s classes are inspiring me and getting me to the deeper spiritual level that I’ve felt like I was having a hard time invoking in my classes these past few months. I come out of the training buzzing with thoughts and ideas for the moms I teach. We learn things in theory, using our baby dolls. We imagine what teaching a class of eight moms and newborns would feel like. We observe moms and babies as Jayme teaches her beautiful classes. Next week we practice teach our classmates.
The classes that Bug and I take with Melanie Faucher at her studio, Espace Shanti are also huge learning for me. I’m IN the mom and baby class. MY baby is the one that is potentially “disrupting” the other students. MY baby is the one who might spend most of the class wanting to nurse. Maybe he’ll regurgitate on the mat. Maybe his diaper will explode. Maybe we’ll be late for class. Maybe I’ll be too tired from a sleepless night to “properly” participate. I need a pen and paper beside me throughout the class because it’s the class I’m in but I can’t help but take it on as further training. I don’t even have words to describe Melanie. She is my teacher, business associate and friend and I feel so grateful the universe brought us together.
And the classes I teach. This is where all my learning is put into motion. I currently teach two groups of mom and babies and I am in love. I was originally worried about teaching adults (because kids yoga is a whole different thing!) but the more I do it, the more I believe it’s what I’m supposed to be doing right now.
Mom and baby yoga– that’s what it is!
Nov 152010

THE SUBURBAN, Nov. 10, 2010

There are many reasons for new moms to exercise regularly. Some women are motivated by the thought of getting back the body they had 10 months ago. Others start exercising to release serotonin, hopefully warding off the baby blues or postpartum depression. Whatever the motivation behind taking up a regular exercise routine after giving birth, there is no shortage of ways new moms can get their heart-rates going again.

Luckily, it’s not even necessary to hire a babysitter to get that workout in. A wide variety of programs in Montreal offer classes that allow new moms to exercise while spending time with baby. Some offer a more rigorous work-out while other programs allow new moms to socialize, and offer a time to bond with baby.

Little Burgundy resident Samantha Hull is a mother of two who has experience with just about every kind of mom and baby exercise available in the city. When her son, Stelio, was born, Hull tried out mom and baby yoga and baby swimming classes.

“Both were a great way to bond with the him,” she says. “But I didn’t get the workout I was looking for.” She said her son loved the swimming classes but she left him at home twice a week so she could get out and take her own Pilates classes.

When her daughter came along three years later, she decided to take her routine up a notch and opted for the Cardio-Stroller course. Part of Cardio Plein Air, which takes people of all ages and fitness levels to local parks to get their hearts pumping, Cardio-Stroller is an intense workout for women wishing to get back into shape after birth.

Hull explains that because the babies are with their mothers in strollers, there is no running, which would jostle the baby about. “You’re always walking, and there is lots of emphasis on squats and muscle training.”She started the program when her daughter Inès was three months old.

“Some women did it with sleds up on Mont Royal,” she says. Hull took her daughter to the classes twice a week. “We both looked forward to it,” she says. “There were some babies Inès was so happy to see. She was as close to making friends as a three-month-old could get.”

Hull found the program particularly helpful to boost her own energy. “Neither of my babies were sleepers,” she says. “I needed energy and being outside to exercise was so much better than being inside the gym.”

Hull loved her Cardio-Stroller trainer, Linda Comtois so much, she brought her over to the office once maternity leave was over. Twice a week Hull and a dozen of her coworkers spend their lunch hour doing their training with Comtois around the Lachine canal.

For yoga instructor Jayme Hernandez, exercising after giving birth might be more important for the mind and spirit and for the connection with baby, than for the body alone.

Hernandez teaches prenatal yoga, gives partner’s labour workshops, and is the founder of Mom and Baby Danceflo. Her program is a combination of yoga stretches and dance, allowing moms to let loose and rejuvenate.

“I feel there’s a lot of social pressure to lose our pregnancy bellies,” says Hernandez. “That can cause so much stress. It’s more important to feel good inside.” She explains that when we breathe and express ourselves through movement, this allows the mind and body to balance out. “This is more important than looking the way you did before.”

Mother of three-year-old Leaya, Hernandez knows what it’s like to be in the pattern of “go, go, go.” She says, “Taking care of a baby, especially in the first year, can be a 24/7 job. It becomes routine and we forget how to stay in the moment.”

Hernandez says it’s important to stop thinking about diapers and practice connecting to the breath. “It’s important for new moms to learn how to stay in the present,” she says. “Dancing is a way of doing that. When we dance, we release, let go and express ourselves.”

As any new mom knows, going for a night at a dance club usually isn’t much of a reality.