There are so many different types of exercises and wellness practices to choose from, so what makes yoga worth doing over anything else?
Well, the short answer is it's a completely personal choice. There isn't one exact reason why YOU should choose yoga over another form of exercise. I'm a firm believer in picking something that you love, because it will likely keep you motivated and become part of your daily or weekly habits. I can, however, tell you why I choose yoga over anything else.
Pelvic Floor Support
My pelvic floor needed much attention after having my first child. I had a very hard recovery after birth and it took me months before I could even walk without pain. I slowly built back my pelvic floor strength by committing time on my mat every day for a gentle practice. I paid close attention to how my pelvic floor contracted with every exhale and released with each inhale. I listened to my body and started slow while focusing on specific poses that encouraged pelvic floor strengthening and conditioning. Having a strong pelvic floor is vital for women, especially those who have delivered a child. It helps with bladder and bowel incontinence, supports your organs and provides stability for your movement. My favourite poses for pelvic floor support are: mountain pose, chair pose, bridge pose, warrior II and happy baby.
You would assume that lugging around a 30-lb toddler everywhere would be a great form of strength training but it doesn't target all of the areas. When I first had my son, I developed a shoulder injury from carrying around his car seat. My core wasn't strong yet and I was overcompensating for the lack of strength which in turn put too much stress on my shoulders. I decided to change my routine and added some specific strength training poses to help me target areas that were weak. Yoga helped me with strength training my core, back and glutes, which in turn has helped prevent any more injuries when lifting my toddler. My go to strength training poses are: Boat pose, Warrior I II and III, plank, and bridge pose.
Being a mom means I constantly have a million things going on in my mind at almost any given moment. Scheduling in zen time is the only part of my day when I am able to tune out the to-do lists and clear my head of the clutter. Mantra-yoga is the perfect tool that I use to to get my mind to calm down. Usually after my hatha practice, I will end with a repeated mantra. Mantra options: "Om" meaning "To become" in Sanskrit, “Sat, Chit, Ananda” meaning “Existence, Consciousness, Bliss” in Sanskrit “I change my thoughts, I change my world.” by Norman Vincent Peale
There are so many other benefits that yoga has to offer, like alleviating back pain, reduced inflammation, increased flexibility, and overall health improvement. Yoga is the perfect tool for helping you achieve your health and wellness goals with the added bonus of increased patience (required for raising children). Whether I spend my days moving, meditating or just slowing down, I always leave my mat feeling better than when I arrived. What more could I ask for?
Written by guest blogger Nastassja Kirkaldy of Nama Mamas Yoga. Nastassja is a 200-hour certified yoga teacher who specializes in prenatal and postnatal yoga. She is educated in pelvic-floor support through the use of yoga and is focused on helping new moms re-train their pelvic floor muscles after giving birth. You can follow her journey on instagram @nama.mamas or her website nama-mamas.com.