Yoga Mom, Buddha Baby: The Yoga Workout for New Moms by Jyothi Larson and Ken Howard


Recent years have seen the release of numerous books and videos on prenatal
and postnatal yoga. Some, like Shiva Rea‘s video Prenatal Yoga and DeAnsin Goodson Parker’s book Yoga Baby, have been excellent; others have been okay; some have been frightful. One book that still gives me nightmares included a photo of a woman in her second (at least) trimester doing a vigorous Bow
Pose, which had to be extremely uncomfortable if not downright dangerous for
the little avatar she was carrying. In any case, it’s heartening to see the
ever-growing interest in yoga resources for the expectant and new mother,
but one has to be careful about the advice and instructions one heeds.
Happily, New York City instructor Jyothi Larson’s new book combines clear,
accessible instructions with appropriate cautions and a winning, expansive
attitude, all of which makes for a wonderfully inviting and useful guide to
yoga in the months leading up to and after baby’s arrival. Larson, an
experienced teacher–she leads classes at Healing Works, Soho Sanctuary, and
Yoga People and holds advanced Integral Yoga teacher certification–and the
mother of two young daughters, first learned to love yoga from watching her
mother practice. Her lifelong devotion, which she has passed on to her
children (although the older daughter, at 11, no longer thinks yoga is
“cool”), comes through on every page, as she leads the reader-mother through
breath awareness, spinal elongation, and an impressive array of twists,
bends, standing poses, restorative poses, and more. After a few introductory
chapters covering the basics of breath and relaxation and demonstrating
stretching and strength-building poses, Larson offers six chapters providing
routines (for mom alone or mom and baby) to be done in discrete
periods–pregnancy; the first month or so after birth; six to twelve weeks;
three months to a year–as well as several “focused routines” and partner
postures. Her models, who all come from her classes, demonstrate the poses
energetically and joyously (if, on occasion, not quite expertly). The real
blessing inherent in these pages, however, is the collection of “buddha
babies” who join their mothers in many of the photos–insatiably curious and
playful little dumplings who reach for Mom’s face as she does Cobra right
over them, or who ride along gleefully as mom stretches their legs and arms
or wiggles their toes or lifts them up in the air while reciting “The Grand
Old Duke of York.” “Practicing yoga with your baby is a wonderful way to add
joy to your first year together,” Larson writes, and if you didn’t know that
before, you sure will after perusing her book and trying some of her
recommended routines.