While I was pregnant with my daughter, I discovered my love for yoga and the Flow cOMmunity in the prenatal class and other classes. Flash forward three years; I still love yoga and am thrilled to share it with my daughter. As a working mother of an energetic toddler, it is important to me to carve out time for the two of us and the Yoga for Motherhood class at Flow Yoga has become a special outing. After attending this class for the past few months, I have discovered several benefits to mommy-and-me yoga, even if it’s not as peaceful as going to class alone.
- Yoga pants
Yes, the yoga pants-wearing mom is a stereotype, and no judgment if you’re wearing them and not going to yoga. However, I’ve benefitted from saving them for their intended purpose. As I struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety, I learned that taking off the yoga pants and throwing on a pair of jeans or maxi skirt, along with mascara, almost instantly helped my mood. On the flip side, because I do not usually wear my yoga pants out of the house, putting them on and going out means, I am going somewhere special —Flow Yoga.
- Cognitive and motor skill development
The Yoga for Motherhood class is open to infants through preschoolers. We sing songs, move around the room, and do yoga. Research has shown that exposure to language is key to language development in children. Attending class has also reinforced routine for my daughter, who loves to carry her own yoga mat and proudly takes off her socks and shoes and places them on a carefully selected shelf when we enter the studio. During class, we move our bodies and encourage our children to move in ways that encourages fine and gross motor development. While the younger children may not be as active, they are watching and listening. After attending class for a few weeks, I was pleasantly surprised to look down while I was doing three-legged dog to see my daughter doing the same pose. Not long after that, as soon as our teacher, Natalie, said “let’s do tree pose,” my daughter was standing in the circle being a tree before Natalie could finish her instructions and demonstration. Sometimes I catch her doing yoga poses at home and we sing the songs as well.
As a mom, one of my biggest challenges is carving out time for self-care. Between work and family commitments, getting out of the house to go to yoga class can be difficult. Having the option to bring my toddler gets me out of the house and to class, even if it’s for “the world’s least structured savasana” (to quote Natalie). The breathing techniques that we learn during class can be used in daily life and my hope is that the peace that I find in yoga class spills over to my daily life. It is also my hope that yoga opens the doors for my daughter to develop life-long strategies for her physical and mental health.
- Find your cOMmunity
Being a mom is hard and, sometimes, lonely. I found an amazing support system during the prenatal class. Once my daughter was born, I remember sitting at home feeling lost and alone. My husband and I have family scattered across the country, and even our friends are scattered around the metro D.C. area, with only a few living in the Ashburn area. I wish I could have attended this class a brand new mom struggling to find her way. Having a safe space where your child can be a child while you receive support is a blessing.
— Amanda Kennon