Have you ever found yourself waking up in the morning determined to poke as much fun at yourself as possible? It happens to me all the time – and it’s always a blast too. Perhaps I had better explain…
The last two decades of my life (and yours too, believe it or not) has been a slow but steady work in progress, moving ourselves and humanity as a whole to a deeper and more open view of our universe and our true nature. In that time, I have been fortunate to learn from many great masters that to be human is to have failures (which aren’t really failures anyways), and one of the best ways to combat them is to poke fun at them and yourself to understand how ridiculous we as humans can be at times. I am, of course, just a little crazy too… but then again, aren’t we all?
Postnatal DVD’s? I am a guy, right?
Take today’s article, for instance. I picked up these two DVD’s nearly a week ago from the library and have been using one on a daily basis after reviewing the other (you’ll see why). That was one of those mornings I was talking about…what guy in his right mind would pick up a couple of postnatal DVD’s to review? I was actually a little disappointed in some ways, as both DVD’s changed my perceptions about a few things and proved to be very rewarding experiences.
Okay, enough chitchat and down to our multi-DVD review! We are going to start with the DVD that I have been faithfully using for the last week now; Yoga Ma, Baby Ga, Mama and Me Postnatal Yoga, Down Dog Productions, 2004. Featuring Jo Ann Colker Arison, Yoga Ma, Baby Ga includes three fifty-five minute videos – one for mom and baby, one for mom only, and one for baby only.
Yoga Ma Baby Ga – (for mom and baby) is designed to entertain and occupy your baby’s attention with images and music while mom follows the routine in the lower left quadrant of the screen. As the one-hour workouts in both Yoga Ma, Baby Ga and Yoga Ma are the same, find the time to do Yoga Ma first. There are no verbal instructions on the Yoga Ma, Baby Ga workout.
Yoga Ma – (Just for mom) is a step by step Yoga Recovery routine with numerous pose variations included.
Baby Ga – (Just for baby) is a pure baby-only experience with captivating music and delightful pictures to engage your little one’s attention.
Yoga Ma Baby Ga is a postnatal regimen for women who have very recently given birth and wish to restore their stamina, energy and muscle memory to pre-pregnancy or better performance, as well as heal the body from the trauma placed on it through the birthing process. Jo Ann reminds women prior to the routine that as a new mom, it is difficult to find time for you. To add to that, everything has changed, and women need to realize that forgiveness, patience, and giving your body it’s time to recover is very important. Jo Ann also cautions women that energy levels along with you and your baby’s moods will change day by day, sometimes more often. Love yourself, love your baby, and stop the DVD at any time to look after yourself or your baby should the need arise. Prepare for nearly fifty-five minutes of a great workout!
Yoga Ma Baby Ga starts with audible Ujaii breathing, baby in hand. According to Jo Ann, the audible exhale mimics those sounds of breathing while the baby was in the womb, and is therefore very relaxing and calming. Here again, Jo Ann mentions the importance of accepting the present moment, and honoring yourself and your baby by stopping when necessary with no self-recriminations or feelings of guilt.
The workout itself is strenuous, despite being composed of almost entirely floor asanas with only a few exceptions. Yoga Ma Baby Ga concentrates on abdominals and lower back work and proceeds as follows…
Seated meditation and Ujaii breathing, neck releases, brief warm up, brief attention to hams and quads, strong core workout, down dog/ cobra sequences, back and forward bending asanas, attention to knees and hips, additional abdominals including intercostals, a short cool down, and of course – resting in Savasana.
A good DVD
My honest opinion? I certainly have not given birth lately (at least I’m pretty sure) and still found the workout to be a respectable challenge. As a matter of fact, the excellent Hatha yoga asanas for stretching and releasing the hip girdle have been officially incorporated into my own daily routine. As I said, I haven’t recently given birth, but this DVD may be a stretch for new mothers, especially those with little prior Yoga experience. That being said, the asanas are always first performed with the easiest variation, then Jo Ann works the student upward in difficulty to help compensate for this. I give Yoga Ma Baby Ga a great review score of four out of five .
Itsy Bitsy Yoga’s Sleep n’ Grow, Helen Garabedian, DVD 2007. I should have read the cover of this DVD a little closer, as it turned out to be a Yoga DVD for the newborn and young toddlers up to ten months. I did watch the whole thing however – who could not? There were some cute babies and there is no more natural smile than that of a very young child.
Itsy Bitsy Yoga is divided into three main areas – stretch n’ play, divine digestion, and sweet sleep for zero to ten weeks old. Each exercise within these three categories encourages the development of a closer relationship between you and your new baby, lots of touching and caressing while speaking words of love, and beginning a strong foundation for your child. Bonus routines for children ten weeks to ten months are also included, and feature an entirely different set of exercises as your young child will have developed the requisite strength and stability of limbs and neck by that age.
As a man, you may think it would be difficult to comment on watching a small group of three mothers or Helen with her own baby performing the exercises and talking to her/their babies in a relaxed, soothing, sing-song voice. It is difficult, but not because as a man I cannot truly relate. The DVD and the heartfelt and warm interactions tugged at my heartstrings, and made me realize that anything that may strengthen what is surely the most powerful bond on the planet (that of a mother and her offspring) is a blessing indeed – especially if it has anything to do with Yoga!
Itsy Bitsy Yoga turned out to be quite a rewarding experience after all, but do not count to benefit from performing asanas with this DVD, the benefit is in the interaction with your new baby and/or very young child. As it turned out, both of these DVD’s purchased together would be excellent additions to a new mother’s home practice, and her baby’s.
Farewell until the end of the week. My upmost respect and amazement at the power of the bond between mother and child that no man can claim to truly understand. As for childbirth, I will not even pretend I would survive such an ordeal, but am heartily thankful my own mother did, lest you be reading a blank page!