Motherhood may be good for our souls, but it can be pretty hard on our posture. Fortunately, yoga-inspired stretching can help things straighten out.
After feeding, bathing or carrying baby, open up your chest with these poses from Karly Treacy, certified SmartFLOW yoga instructor and mom of three in Venice, California.
Lazy boy chest opener
Make a “recliner” by propping up a bolster with two blocks. (One block will be at the tallest level to support the head; the other will be placed at mid-level to support the upper back. The bolster rests over the two blocks.) Sit with your bum directly in front of the bolster, and lie back into your recliner. Turn the inner arms to face the sky, and allow the palms to face up. You can extend the legs straight in front of you, bend the knees and plant the feet flat, or bring the soles of the feet to touch (supporting the outer thighs with pillows or additional blocks). Inhale to capacity to feel the breath begin to stretch the muscles from the inside, then exhale slowly. Repeat for three to five minutes.
Crescent lunge holding block (or strap) behind your back
Step forward into a lunge, bending the front knee until the thighbone is close to parallel to the earth and staying balanced on the ball of the back foot. Hinge forward at the hips, maintaining a flat back. Grab a yoga block, and hold it behind your back with hands. (If this is too challenging, use a strap instead.) Press the shoulders downward without squeezing the shoulder blades together. Hold for six to eight full breaths, then repeat on the other side.
Warrior 3 prep
Start on all fours with the knees directly beneath the hips and the wrists directly beneath the shoulders. Extend the left leg straight back behind you at hip height, flexing the foot so the toes point earthward. Then, extend the right arm straight forward. Breathing deeply, hold for 8 to 10 cycles of inhales and exhales. Repeat on the opposite side.