Internationally recognized yoga teacher and mother of two Janet Stone, who will lead our upcoming Yoga for Moms online course (enroll now and be the first to know when this mom-inspired course launches), is offering YJ readers a series of weekly "mom-asanas" for serenity, strength, and grounding. This week's practice: re-establishing your connection to your core.
For new moms, strengthening the core is about re-establishing the connection to the transverse abdominis, or your ability to connect your front body to your back body. But on a deeper level, it’s also about re-engaging with yourself and your own power.
A strong core is not so much about the ability to get back in your jeans -- it’s really about stabilizing from the back (that’s why the transverse abdominis, the deep abdominal muscle layer that wraps around your torso from back to front and helps protect your spine, is so key). A lot of moms have a lot of trouble with the lower back the first couple of years. If you’ve had a C-section or abdominal separation, reconnecting to your core is even more important and a slower process. (In the course, I give options for how to deal with abdominal separation.)
Post-baby, building a stronger core is also about reconnecting with that deeper strength that will carry you and your child or children along (both literally and figuratively -- kids want to be held far beyond their toddler years!). The core is the power source from which we engage with the little beings that have come into our lives.
Finally, the essence or more energetic aspect of core is willpower. The core is the seat of your own power. When your life has forever changed and your sense of self has been rattled, a strong core allows you to sit upright both physically and energetically. The potent practices of asana -- holding static planks, engaging more deeply in lunges, and supine core re-engagement -- will establish a strength that will hold you through the many ups and downs of parenting.
See alsoYoga for Moms: Finding the Moment With Pranayama
Mom-asana of the Week: Dolphin Plank
Begin in Sphinx Pose, with the elbows directly under the shoulders. Inhale, and on the exhale, begin engaging your center and lift your stomach, chest, and hips off the floor in one line. Try this first with your knees down, energetically drawing your elbows to your knees and your knees to your elbows. If this feels steady, come back to Sphinx Pose and come up again with the toes tucked under, this time lifting your chest, stomach, hips, and knees. Again, isometrically draw elbows and toes toward each other to ignite your center.
ABOUT JANET STONE
San Francisco-based yoga teacher Janet Stone started her practice at age 17. A student of Max Strom and meditation teacher Prem Rawat, Stone teaches vinyasa flow at events around the world. Her new kirtan album with DJ Drez, Echoes of Devotion, hit number 1 on iTunes’s World Music chart this year. Stone has two daughters and offers this advice to moms: “Motherhood offers infinite lessons in the realms of surrender, empowerment, grace, mistakes, and patience, and then some more patience—as well as the endless unfurling of transitions and change. Practicing yoga amidst this adventure can support us in myriad ways to find our center.” Learn more about her upcoming course, Yoga for Moms.