Coach Cori here. Today I just wanted to share with you my story on why I think yoga is important as lifters and especially as moms.
I have always enjoyed yoga and felt that it was super beneficial to both my lifting and my mindset. I often practiced very gentle yoga, as I felt that it complimented my hard training really well. It gave me an opportunity to work on my mobility, stretching, and improve my relaxation and recovery techniques between training sessions. This sounds kind of silly, but it also allowed me to practice my breathing skills --- I have always been a shallow breather and yoga has helped me learn how to take full breaths!
Fast forward to the past couple of years...
After I had Thor, this one thought kept coming through my head time and time again. It was, "I've never been SO TIGHT and inflexible in my life, yet at the same time so LOOSE in my core!"
It is a very strange feeling to say the least. For me, early motherhood included some intense arm and pec tightness, neck stiffness and pain, and really tight hip flexors and IT bands from sitting a lot more than normal. And super tight hamstrings. I even had tight calves and feet! I remember getting out of bed in the morning and feeling like I had aged about 20 years because my body was so tight and achy.
At the same time, even though my body felt so tight, I had also never felt such a lack of stability in my core. Of course, this is pretty normal after childbirth and it does take some time and effort for the core to start engaging properly again. Still, it is such a strange feeling.
You would think this would prompt me to maybe add in some stretching or yoga. Ha! Nope, not yet. Things were pretty crazy and I wrestled with postpartum depression and anxiety for quite some time. Looking back, I think that some of the anxiety might have fueled a lot of the tightness that was happening in my body.
I had a doctor recommend that I add some yoga, stretching, or mindful meditation as part of my anxiety treatment. I really just did NOT feel like doing so. I could not get my mind to quiet for a few seconds, much less sit still for an entire yoga practice. When was I even going to do this?
But, I was desperate to feel better and so I started very small. I started with a daily 3-5 minute meditation. At first, 3 minutes felt like 3 hours. Painful. However, I pushed past the first couple of days and it did start feeling easier and my mind was starting to calm down a little bit.
I then added in some quick yoga practices, all 15-20 min or less because I never had time to really do any more than that. I tried to get this in daily, but I realistically probably did this 3-4 times per week.
My body started to loosen up, my joints started hurting less. And most important, I felt more mindful and grounded to be able to take on whatever the day was about the throw at me.
As my physical recovery continued to progress, my lifting started to feel better and the yoga really complimented everything I had started back at, in the gym. I was able to hook my core and pelvic floor engagement up with my breathing for both lifting and yoga. I finally felt 'stable' again, and also not so darn tight! Although, I had to consistently work on this for months.
Currently, I do about 3 days of yoga or stretching per week. I think that the yoga along with my lifting has really helped keep me moving and pain free so far during this pregnancy. I hope to utilize these tools postpartum and see if it helps any compared to the last postpartum period.
That brings me to this point - I think as athletes (and for those of you who are mothers), we tend to withdraw a LOT from our body's bank accounts. We expect that it can train hard, endure stress, do more (on probably less sleep), and keep on going, producing, getting better...
But the reality is that we actually could use a lot more DEPOSITS into our body's bank account.
The only way to get stronger is to recover. The only way to recover is to put deposits back into the account.
Yoga is an easy way to help recover from training (and life!).
It doesn't need to take a long time. It can be quick, efficient, to the point.
So what will you do to increase your recovery and put some deposits back into your body's bank account?
At StrongMoms, we've got a FREE 3 Day Yoga Challenge that begins on Monday, July 9th! Our challenge consists of three yoga practices (all 15 minutes or less) that will be completed in that week. If you'd like to join us, Click HERE!
We are also launching a Monthly Yoga Subscription program starting Monday, July 23rd. Each week you'll receive three yoga practices plus one mindful meditation from our Yoga Instructor, Marissa. To learn more about our yoga subscription, Click HERE!
I would love to hear from you all about what successful strategies you've used to put deposits back in -- comment below and let us know!