I tend to be pretty body aware: I notice my posture, I remember to engage my core when I’m exerting myself, and I pay attention to my breath. I was quite surprised, then, when I caught sight of my shoulders in the mirror when my daughter was 7 months old. My shoulders were rolled forward, and my upper back was hunched. My body looked worn out! Long nights holding my kiddo and hours of nursing her contributed to a tightened chest space and shoulders that were permanently lifted. It’s one thing to be body aware before you have a baby; it’s quite another to be body conscious at 3 AM when you’re up for the 3rd time, you’re exhausted beyond exhausted, and you’re running on adrenaline. Our bodies take a toll, especially the first year we have a baby, when our first priority is to care for our new little babes.
Yoga can do a lot to offer relief for a tight and tired upper body. This 30 minute sequence is a great place to start. In the video, you’ll begin by warming up your shoulders and chest space with poses like plank (modified) and downward-facing dog. You’ll move on to slower, deeper stretches and poses that will allow your shoulders, neck, and chest to let go. You’ll feel refreshed by the end of this sequence, and you’ll be ready for more baby snuggling and holding. (The one thing *not* included here is savasana. If possible, set aside about 45 minutes for this practice, so you can include that at the end. That quiet rest time is crucial for mental well-being!)