With a new baby, hitting the gym may seem like an exercise in futility. Sleep deprivation and trying to find a sitter often stand in the way.
But most moms are permitted to work out about six to eight weeks after giving birth — and there are good reasons to make the effort, beyond fitting back into your jeans.
Moderate exercise such as yoga strengthens core muscles, relieves neck or back pain, eases stress and more, said Melissa Valentine, instructor for the “Yoga for Parents: Infant and Me” course at Discover Yoga, 16651 Redmond Way, Suite 201.
A handout at the yoga studio, upstairs in the Mills Music Building, explained, “One of the basic reasons people take up yoga is to change something about themselves: to be able to think more clearly, to feel better and to be able to act better today than they did yesterday in all areas of life.”
Many participants in the “Infant and Me” group took prenatal yoga classes at Discover Yoga or elsewhere and welcomed the chance to resume their practice in a low-pressure atmosphere with other moms and babies.
On the morning of June 6, most children in the room were about four months old. You might expect a cacophony of wailing but the setting was surprisingly serene.
“The whole point is to learn to be relaxed in what can be a chaotic atmosphere,” said Valentine. She noted that the class was originally to be called “Mommy and Me” but at some point, classes might be offered on Saturdays, in case any dads are interested.
She urged the adults to “practice acceptance. … Maybe your baby or your body isn’t cooperating. Don’t worry if you’re not doing the same thing as everyone else.”
Pausing to feed or comfort a crying baby is perfectly fine. So is modifying a yoga pose to accommodate your own comfort or skill level.
Valentine asked all the women about their goals or concerns while taking the class. Everyone wanted to tone their tummy and regain strength. Some had complicated deliveries which were making their recovery more strenuous. It didn’t matter because this wasn’t a competition.
The babies had fun, too. They shyly smiled at each other and gurgled and cooed as moms moved their tiny legs and arms in bicycle movements or overhead stretches.
Discover Yoga provides mats, blankets and other yoga equipment, although students may prefer to bring their own.
The current “Infant and Me” course concludes June 27. A new session runs Fridays, July 11-Aug. 1 from 10:30 a.m.-noon. Interested parents should pre-register for the $60 course by calling (425) 861-1318 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For other class information, visit www.discoveryoga.com.