While life as a new mum is exhilarating, it can also be both physically and emotionally challenging. Recovering from giving birth, aches, fatigue and mixed emotions can make life feel like it’s going by in a blur.
Meditation is a practice that helps to calm and quiet the mind by becoming more aware of the world around us. Unfortunately, it too can be a challenge for new mums – finding the time or engaging in a moment of stillness without falling asleep from exhaustion!
The key to meditation is to remember that it can be practised anytime, anywhere and requires nothing but you and your intention. It is perfect for new mums because you can squeeze it in to fit your schedule, no matter how busy it gets.
Research shows that even short bursts of 5 to 10 minutes of meditation can be beneficial.
There are several different types of meditations. For example, guided meditations are lead by vocal prompts, while mantra meditation is the mental or verbal repetition of a phrase or affirmation. Meditation in the form of relaxation is imagining each area of your body slowly letting go of any tension. Meditation can also include practices that involve moving your body while focusing on your breath, through yoga or even walking. Essentially, meditation can simply be any moment that you can steal away to focus on your breath and be aware of your thoughts.
So, for a busy mum, here are some tips on achieving peace through meditation:
When you are feeding your baby, find a comfortable seated position, either with the legs crossed or feet firmly planted on the ground. Allow you and your baby to be supported as much as possible, using pillows or cushions, and be aware of your posture. Close your eyes and focus on your breath.
Next time your baby settles down to sleep, put aside anything that needs to be done for 5 minutes and find a comfortable seated position. (I recommend a seated position over lying down as the aim is to keep focus without falling asleep.) Listen to a guided meditation or simply focus on the breath. (There are many free guided meditations online , such as http://www.mindthebump.org.au
When you’re taking your baby for a walk in the pram, find a walking track close to nature, ie, near water or a park. Find a gentle rhythm to your walk, relax your shoulders and focus on the movement of your breath.
Try starting your day with gentle vinyasa yoga (a series of poses linked together) and move through a few rounds with a slow gentle breath. An example – Inhale from Childs Pose to all fours, exhale to Downward Facing Dog. Inhale back to all fours and exhale to Childs Pose.
Whatever actions you do throughout the day – changing a nappy, folding clothes, driving the car, washing the dishes—simply take a moment to pause and notice the simple things around you – smells, sounds, and the sensations. Continue these actions with complete mindfulness and notice your breath.
The benefits of meditation are maximized when practised daily, so even if you can only steal small moments, steal them often.
Written By: Andy Broadbear
Andy is a (RYT500) yoga therapist and (RYT500) yoga teacher, as well as a pre + postnatal specialist based in Melbourne. She is co-founder of Yoga Mamas, an online mama biz designed to support women through the mamahood journey using yoga as the inspiration. Together with biz partner Kate Payne, Yoga Mamas provides mums with the tools to cope with the challenges and inject a little ‘me time’ back into their day using yoga, meditation, breathing practices and positive affirmation. Andy & Kate worked with 2XU on their pre & postnatal compression range and have been featured on BabyBerryBlog, MeOhMyMum & MumsWithHustle Podcast. Andy is a mum of two, passionate yogi, health & wellness blogger and hobby photographer.