Autumn—crimson leaves cover the ground and cool crisp air inspires us to don layers of knitted clothing. Flowers fade, trees go bare, animals and insects prepare to sleep. What a season of dramatic transformation for mother nature! As she says goodbye to the glory of summer by trimming away excess, she makes space for the peaceful slumber of winter. This time of year invites us to turn inwards in preparation for the cold months ahead, often spending more time in self-reflection.
Today we’re offering a special autumn meditation for mamas—an inspiring visualization exercise to help you connect with babe and harness the transformational power of the season. Not only are you preparing your little one for life beyond the womb, but you are also undergoing a sublime transformation into motherhood.
To get started, you’ll need to make yourself comfortable. Home should be a place of rest and ease as you begin to spend more time indoors this fall, so you might like to create a dedicated meditation corner which welcomes you to relax and feel extra cozy. Roll out your yoga mat and sit tall with your legs crossed; a pillow can be used to elevate your hips. Additionally, you can use pillows or rolled blankets to support your knees. Lastly, drape a luxurious blanket over your shoulders. The reading portion of this exercise will take about 5 minutes, but we encourage you to linger in meditation for as long as feels good to you! Feel free to lie down once the reading portion is complete, using your pillows and blanket to settle into complete ease for the duration of your meditation.
Take several warming breaths in and out. Let each breath greet your body with love. Welcome your body and mind into this moment. Here you are safe, supported, and at ease. (Pause) let the next several breaths greet your babe with love. Welcome your babe into this moment with you. Within your womb, babe is safe, supported, and at ease.
You are sitting amidst the swaying trees in a quiet leafy forest. Lifting your gaze, you marvel at the great branches stretched towards the sky. Towering oaks and mighty maples—their leaves blazing colors of gold, ginger, and red. Summer has been sweet and the sun’s energy now runs deep within the roots of the forest floor. A cool wind dances low between the trees, whisking up fallen leaves into turbulent swirls. You can feel your own body rooted to the earth, connected to this life-giving energy.
Each tree stands tall next to its sister. They welcome every season with confidence, knowing that together they are strong. You place your hands on your growing belly. Your journey into motherhood is wild and wondrous, but you do not stand alone. Your forest is filled with mighty women who have braved countless seasons of motherhood beside you. Their roots are your roots and like the oaks and maples, your body is wise. As you breath in and out you feel mighty in your motherhood—infinite and enduring.
When you are ready to wake up your mind and body bring your attention back to the space you are in. Wake up your muscles by opening and closing your hands, shrugging your shoulders, and wiggling your toes. Open your eyes and sit quietly for a moment. Remember that as a mama-to-be the transformational power of autumn is within you! Throughout your journey to motherhood, you may notice how often nature is a reflection of your changing body. Connecting with the rhythm of the seasons is a way to live in harmony with mother nature, and trust in the wisdom of your own body.
Mamas to be we are super excited to share that our friends at Amazon Baby Registry will be joining us again.
After our sold out classes earlier this year, they have been kind enough to sponsor yet three more FREE prenatal yoga classes.
Join us Saturday November 23rd and Monday December 16th for free prenatal classes compliments of our friends at Amazon Baby Registry including surprises from Amazon Partners.
The holidays are a wonderful time where we get to see family we haven't seen in awhile, eat some of our favourite foods and show gratitude for those we love! With that said, it can also be somewhat stressful trying to juggle activities and follow traditions. It is therefore important that we create a plan of action now so that we can ensure we are able to stay present and enjoy all of the wonderful things that come with the holiday season.
Here are 3 things you can do to ensure you are happy and healthy this holiday season:
1. Get Organized
Whether you are an old fashioned list writer, or Google Calendar enthusiast, set aside some time to get clear about everything you need to complete this holiday season. Break down each item into bite size tasks with realistic due dates that you feel comfortable with. By having the information stored in one place you will feel more in control and better equipped to deal when the busyness of the season takes over.
2. Schedule Self Care In Advance
Often the times when we are our busiest are the times we need self care the most, so be proactive and schedule your self care in advance! Register for a yoga class, book a relaxing massage or plan a date with yourself and put it in your schedule the way you would any other task you need to complete. When the time comes you will be thankful to have a break where you will return refreshed, grounded and ready to take on the next round of festivities!
3. Set An Intention
Setting an intention is a powerful tool in helping to manifest your desired outcome and can be used as a gentle reminder of how you wish to feel when you get thrown off by stress. An intention can be as simple as a word such as 'harmony' or can be a sentence such as 'I intend to lead from a place of compassion this holiday season.'
Remember, the holidays are supposed to be fun, so release any pressures around what you should or shouldn't be doing and instead relax and enjoy!
Just as each woman journeying towards Mamahood is unique, every trimester of pregnancy brings about different experiences—both wondrous... and, well, less than glamorous. From a glowing complexion to backache and swelling, our bodies go through incredible changes as we nourish and grow the Little Ones within us. Whether or not you practiced yoga before pregnancy, prenatal yoga is an excellent way to stay fit, connect with Baby, and prepare for labor as you journey through all the ups and downs of becoming a Mama.
Today we’re sharing six yoga poses you can begin today, which are ideal for women in their 1st trimester.
1. Easy Pose
What better way to begin your prenatal yoga practice than by connecting with your growing Baby. After all, this practice is for you both! Begin by finding a comfortable seat. Bringing one hand to your heart and the other to Baby, grow tall through the spine. Let every inhale fill your belly, making lots of space for your Little One. With every exhale, draw Baby in & up into a cozy abdominal hug. Now is the perfect time to contemplate a special wish or intention for your pregnancy journey. Continue for 5-10 breaths.
Tip: Sitting on a bolster or block will keep your hips comfortable and relaxed so you can focus on Baby.
Cat/Cow is a favourite warm-up posture, which promotes spinal mobility while gently working core strength. Begin with a neutral spine, palms beneath shoulders and knees beneath hips. On an exhale, curl your spine into Cat pose, drawing Baby in & up as you drop your gaze to your belly. Really empty your lungs before your next energizing inhale! As you breath in, return to a long neutral spine. Continue for 5-10 breaths.
Tip: Many women experience lower backache as their growing bump may cause them to sway their spine throughout the day. Make a conscious effort not to exaggerate the arch of your “cow” pose, and instead focus on a strong neutral spine position.
3. Open Twist
Gentle twisting not only promotes good spinal health, it also feels wonderful after a night of trying to sleep exclusively on your left side! This twist opens both the chest and back while stretching the inner thigh. Begin in Tabletop position. Extend your right leg along the mat, foot inline with the supporting knee. Inhale to sweep your right arm up as you open your chest to the right side wall. Exhale to lower your right arm, threading it under the left supporting arm. Continue for 3-5 breaths, then repeat on the other side.
Tip: Avoid “closed” twists throughout your pregnancy (where your leg and shoulders travel in opposite directions across your midline) . Instead, focus on “open” twists, which won’t over-stretch the muscles and ligaments connected to your growing uterus.
4. Low Lunge
Low Lunge encourages openness through the hips and lengthening along the thighs. Beginning in Tabletop, step your left leg to the outer edge of your left hand. Inhale to sweep both arms up, fingers extending towards the ceiling. As you exhale, focus on lifting through the crown of your head and sliding your shoulder blades down your back to create a nice long neck. Be sure to draw Baby in & up throughout the pose in order to protect your lower back from over-arching. Hold for 3-5 breaths, then repeat on the other side.
Tip: To focus on strengthening rather than stretching, vary this pose by simply lifting the knee to straighten the lower leg for a High Lunge.
5. Downward Dog
Did you know Downward Dog is considered by many yogis to be an inversion? While you may not be practicing headstands during your 1st trimester, you can reap the benefits of elevating your heart above your head with this classic pose, including increased oxygen and blood to the brain. Begin in Tabletop position with fingers spread and palms planted evenly on your mat. Inhale to curl your toes under and engage your shoulders. Exhale to lift the knees and straighten your legs. Inhale to create a long spine, and exhale to lower your heels towards the earth. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
Tip: Be sensitive to feelings of nausea, which are all too familiar to 1st trimester Mamas. If inverting your torso triggers sickness, try sitting in Staff Pose; extend both legs in front of you as you lengthen your torso towards the ceiling. Hands rest at your sides.
6. Dolphin Pushup
Many prenatal yoga practices focus on opening the hips and strengthening the legs, but don’t forget about your upper body! Dolphin Push-Ups work the upper back, shoulders, chest, AND arms, all while challenging the abdominals – Bonus. Beginning in Tabletop position, lower your forearms to the ground and interlace the fingers. Lift your knees off the ground, to straighten your legs as in Downward Dog. Inhale to hinge forward until your chin hovers above your hands, keeping shoulder blades drawn down your back. Exhale to return to Dolphin Pose. Repeat for 3-5 breaths.
Tip: If the transition from Dolphin Pose to Push-Up position feels too intense for your abdominals, gently lower your knees to the ground for more support.
To make this a complete practice, be sure to end with your favourite resting poses. And, as with every yoga class you enjoy, be sure to listen to your body’s changing needs. We hope these yoga poses help you to feel open and strong throughout your journey!