We all know the cold and dreary winter days will soon be upon us, and finding motivation to get out the door gets more and more challenging. Sometimes it’s a matter of finding the right activity to give you that extra push, and for me, that activity is yoga.
Meet Allegra McBane-Sanchez, a certified yoga teacher in the Greenwich, CT area who specializes in prenatal, postpartum and mommy and me yoga, as well as vinyasa and gentle practices for moms and non-moms alike. She teaches group and private sessions at various local studios, and partnered with us to share her yoga-knowledge through the Q&A below.
Q: Yoga is a great resource for moms and soon-to-be moms to stay healthy throughout their pregnancy. What are some benefits of prenatal yoga for soon-to-be moms?
A: Pre-natal yoga can be a highly beneficial part of pregnancy. The physical benefits of practicing poses that offer a supported way to open up, to stretch, and also to strengthen can help your body more comfortably grow for your developing baby. The mental benefits of connecting deeply to your body and to your breath can help you to more peacefully navigate pregnancy, birth and new motherhood. In prenatal yoga, we focus a lot of awareness on breath work as a tool for expectant mothers to stay present in their bodies throughout their pregnancy and as an integral tool in the labor and birth experience.
Q: Why is it important to continue to practice yoga post-birth?
A: A postpartum yoga practice can help reconnect new moms to the changes they have experienced in their bodies through pregnancy and birth. A thoughtful postpartum yoga practice can help moms regain strength in their cores, pelvic floors, and throughout their bodies; it can reconnect them to their breath and to their own innate strength; and, it is also an opportunity for a new mom to check in with her body, mind and breath as she adjusts to the demands of new motherhood.
Q: How does mommy and me yoga help bond mom and new baby?
A: Mommy and me yoga is one of the most rewarding classes to teach. Offering a space for moms to be with their little ones while also caring for themselves is a very beautiful thing to witness. Babies enjoy the touch of their moms as they gently massage and stretch the babies, and moms enjoy incorporating their babies into movement and poses that benefit their physical and mental health. The babies respond positively to calm breath and gentle movements – it brings them a sense of calm as well. It’s also a really nice opportunity to meet other new moms and find a community while doing something good for yourself and your baby.
Q: What are some things you’ve learned from practicing yoga?
A: This is hard to answer because, really, yoga has changed my life. It has changed the way I view my own body, my own relationship to my child and the way I interact with others. I have had a yoga practice for nearly 20 years but it was only after I gave birth to my son, that yoga became something more than a chance to stretch and strengthen. The challenges that many new mothers face: hormonal changes that impact our mental health, physical changes that impact our ability to do what we previously did, and the profound shift when we become responsible for another person’s life, can take its toll. I turned to yoga as I navigated the transition to new motherhood and not only did it provide me with more physical strength and flexibility than I have ever had before, but the focus on breath work and the practice of being present in my body in the moment that I am experiencing has taught me how to be a more engaged and conscious parent and has taught me how to view my life through a lens of gratitude and patience.
Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell