prenatal yoga

Back Saving Yoga Tips for New Moms

Take few minutes every day for yourself. Your body and mind will thank you!

Take few minutes every day for yourself. Your body and mind will thank you!

We all know being a new mom is an around the clock job, and between nursing and diaper changing, you don’t even have time to take a shower, let alone find time to sneak in a yoga class. Aching shoulders, wrists and back are the most common complaints among new, breastfeeding mamas, so read on for simple tips on how to sneak in some powerful yoga remedies without having to plan/ find babysitter,  leave the house or your baby and worrying if you’re gonna leak breastmilk in class:-). 

When I was a new mom, just couple of weeks after having my baby, my inner yogi kept bugging me and I really wanted to move, stretch and get back on the mat. My back and shoulders were so tight and achy. But even child’s pose was painful because I suffered a pretty severe perineal tear and had lots of stitches. Not to mention my shoulders and wrists were in so much pain from feeding and holding my new little baby around the clock. I honestly felt like I was hit by a bus, and my pelvic floor so weak, I would leak urine whenever I laughed or sneezed:-). Everywhere I looked said “wait at least 6 weeks before resuming yoga or exercise” so I wasn’t even sure what is OK to do that would make my body feel better.

I now know that this is a feeling common to pretty much all new moms. And I also know that if we don’t create that little bit of time to take care of ourselves, no one else will, and we will eventually burn out, physically and mentally. Yoga always helped me to be a more zen, centered person, as well as physically strong and pain free mama! 

During the postpartum period and many months that follow, yoga does not have to mean “going to a yoga class” or having a full hour for a complete practice. You can start slow, even just couple minutes at a time. That way you can practice yoga every day, even multiple times, and not being dependent on someone watching your baby.  

Here’s few yoga tips that any new mom can follow, even in those first 6 weeks postpartum:

  1. Have your mat easily accessible, maybe you keep in rolled out in the living room, so you have that constant reminder to sneak in few minutes of yummy stretches whenever you can.

  2. Whenever your baby falls asleep, put everything on hold, and get on your mat. We give everything to our new baby, and it’s ok to give a little bit back to ourselves. Doulas and midwifes call it “mothering the mother”. Newborn baby sleeps a lot, so let’s take advantage of that! Keep the dishes piling up and laundry overflowing… Put yourself first, and then you’ll be able to tackle everything else with so much more strength, joy and determination.

  3. Live in yoga leggings and a soft, comfy sports bra that can double as a nursing bra. That way you’re ready for your mini yoga practice any time your baby naps.

  4. Shoulder stretches, gentle cat and cow pose and kegels (pelvic floor activation) is your gold standard, before even worrying to make it back on the mat for a full class. 

  5. Do kegels while breastfeeding or while driving, especially when your are stuck in traffic or sitting at a red light. 

  6. Repeat shoulder stretches after each breastfeeding (no exceptions!) It will make a world of difference to how your body feels, your posture, and your ability to breastfeed comfortably. 

  7. Try to repeat this simple 5 minute routine every day: Start seated comfortably on your mat, maybe on a pillow or cushion, inhale reach your arms up overhead, interlace your hands and flip your palms up. Look up and take few breaths. Release, interlace your hands behind your low back, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and open up your chest. Take few breaths. Release, reach your arms up again, grab your right wrist, and take a side bend to the left. Switch sides. Then get on all fours, tabletop position, and take few cat/ cow spinal extensions. Stretch back into child’s pose and take 10 deep breaths. 

If you are ready for longer yoga practice, check out my gentle postnatal flow video:

Prenatal Yoga is great during all three trimesters


Fridays 10:45 AM at BUDDHI YOGA

Release, relax, and connect with your growing baby.

Can’t make it to class? Try my online prenatal yoga:


We all know how hard it is to find a studio that offers prenatal yoga, and if you do, the times usually don't work for you. That's why I decided to start offering online prenatal yoga classes so that anyone could join in, all you need is an internet connection. You can now enjoy prenatal yoga anytime, anywhere, even from the comfort of your own home.

The class is lead by me (Magdalena Patterson), from La Jolla’s beautiful Buddhi Yoga studio. Relax, release tension, connect with you growing baby and your changing body. It is so much more then a series of modified poses. it is all of the above and more. With breath work and meditation, you start preparing for the progressing pregnancy, labor and birth. Prenatal yoga helps you learn to be present and connected with your growing baby.

Why am I so passionate about yoga during pregnancy? I really believe it must be the most important time in a woman’s life to practice yoga. From the moment of conception, our baby experiences life through us, our emotions and state of mind. Our little baby feels our sensory impulses, and recognizes what brings us joy and what feels toxic. Deep inside the womb, our baby feels our neurological responses to daily situations. They can feel when we are stressed, and they can enjoy the moments of happiness and contentment with us. That is because whatever emotion we experience, our brain releases the corresponding hormones into our bloodstream. Those hormones cross the placenta and travel through the umbilical cord to our baby. .


Busting the pregnancy yoga and workout myths: Podcast by Mommy Workouts

I loved talking with Magdalena! After a while of shamelessly insta- creeping her account, I knew I just had to finally ask her to be on. Her Instagram, is the cutest! You see her, and her growing belly while practicing yoga with her 2 year old daughter. And it's real. Sometimes her daughter participates and sometimes she runs around. But you know thats life. And I love that Magdalena shows the realness and the acceptance of the fact that it may not be perfect but it is what it is. 

Listen to the podcast HERE

So, for this episode I wanted to talk about some of the myths and benefits of prenatal yoga. I looked into Magdalena, and she is highly educated about prenatal yoga and it's so close to her heart that I knew she could give us really good insight. Especially if we are prego and hesitant to try it. 

She is truly the sweetest and I hope you find this episode informational and helpful if you are wanting to do yoga when you have a little bun in the oven. 

Yoga during pregnancy: Beyond the physical benefits

Why am I so passionate about yoga during pregnancy? I really believe it must be the most important time in a woman’s life to practice yoga. From the moment of conception, our baby experiences life through us, our emotions and state of mind. Our little baby feels our sensory impulses, and recognizes what brings us joy and what feels toxic. Deep inside the womb, our baby feels our neurological responses to daily situations. They can feel when we are stressed, and they can enjoy the moments of happiness and contentment with us. That is because whatever emotion we experience, our brain releases the corresponding hormones into our bloodstream. Those hormones cross the placenta and travel through the umbilical cord to our baby. 

~I am holding a four hour prenatal workshop on March 11th at Buddhi Yoga in La Jolla, CA ~ 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM        

Neuroscience and yoga philosophy come together and agree on the fact that life learning clearly starts before birth, and that experiences long before birth can affect and mold personality. When a pregnant mother is at peace and harmony, the more harmonious and content is her baby’s development. To the contrary, when a pregnant mother is constantly stressed, her unborn child experiences the bouts of fight or flight stress response with her. Stress hormones act by mobilizing energy from storage to muscles, increasing heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate and shutting down metabolic processes such as digestion, reproduction, growth and immunity. That used to be a life-saving reactions back in the days when we actually faced real fight or flight situations on daily basis. Nowadays, without us actually having to undergo fight or flight, stress hormones (cortisol and epinephrine) just travel through our body and cannibalize our health. Unfortunately, they also travel through the umbilical cord to our baby. 


Through yoga, we can become more centered, calm, content and present - and our baby enjoys these feelings being transferred to them. They literally bathe in our happy hormones, and their developing brain is absorbing our endorphins, oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin. Through yoga, we can help mothers get into a peaceful state of mind, so that their babies enjoy feeling loved, nourished, secure, happy and content, long before birth. 


There is no way we can simply eliminate stress from our lives. But we can certainly change the way we react to it. Pregnant women usually seek out prenatal yoga classes to help them with physical ailments such as achy body, fatigue, nausea and leg cramps. Soon they realize, that while enjoying all of those benefits, yoga also helps pregnant women to become less reactive. By emphasizing breath and relaxation, we teach pregnant women to create their “yoga bubble” around them to shield them from the outside world. We can teach them to flow through their daily life without reacting to stressful situations or annoying comments from strangers and coworkers. (Yes, during pregnancy everyone feels to have the liberty to give you “friendly advice” and unsolicited comments about your body, belly size, even what type of birth you should choose). Being less reactive means brushing these situations off, and preventing stress hormones from rising in our body. 


Just like our body protects our baby physically from the outside world (always the right temperature, no sharp edges, no loud sounds, everything is muffled and absorbed by the amniotic fluid), our mind needs to do the same mentally. Otherwise we are exposing our baby to the stress epidemic we see out there today. Mind and body are inseparably one, just like the pregnant mother and child create one unit. You are your unborn baby continuously share each others feelings and experiences, and our baby is mostly just the helpless recipient, who cannot protect themselves from stress or sadness. 


Prenatal yoga is so wonderful because pregnant women are such natural yogis. Even if they have never done yoga before, they just get it. The elusive yogic goal of “being in the moment” or “being present” becomes so natural to pregnant women. They put their hands to their belly during meditation and immediately feel so deeply connected with their baby, experiencing the miraculous process of growing a little person inside, the ancient wisdom of the woman’s body, the miracle of life. Meditation becomes very deep and profound. The respect for our incredible body and for nature becomes very deep. Our pregnant body miraculously delivers just the right amount of nutrients with each bite of food we take, and just the right amount of oxygen with every breath we take. Nobody has to teach us how to be pregnant, our body does it automatically, as if it has done it many times before. We call that the ancient wisdom of the female body, and through yoga, we can learn to channel all the ancient midwifes, doulas, and all the women who were pregnant before us and who gave birth. It is a very powerful feeling. 


Prenatal yoga is so much more then a series of modified poses. It is all of the above and more. With breath work and meditation, we prepare the pregnant mother for the progressing pregnancy, labor and birth. We teach her how to be present and connected with her baby. We teach her how to appreciate every moment in her pregnancy in a society that only has us looking forward and counting the weeks to our due date.


I am holding a four hour prenatal workshop on March 26th at Buddhi Yoga in La Jolla, CA.      More details and to register here

Your body after baby: How I did it.

Workout anytime, anywhere, with your baby! 

We all know being a new Mom can be very hectic. Between diaper changing and nursing, you feel like you don't even have time to take a shower, let alone workout! When my daughter was born, I was dying to get back to working out. I didn’t have anyone to help me watch my baby, so the gym and my favorite yoga studio was out of the question. I tried to workout at home, I can do this, I said to my self. But we all know the story, as soon as I put my workout clothes on and thought that my baby girl is sound asleep, there she goes again crying her lungs out wanting my boobie! At most I could do was few minutes here and there…then I started including her in my workouts, I let her just watch me as I do my Jane Fonda moves on the mat, and then I would grab her and workout with her. She loved it! I realized that it was working, I found the formula to loose the baby weight and to feel great. I didn’t need a nanny, the gym or the standard “hour” for my workout, all I needed was a mini workout using my own body, and my baby (if she wasn’t napping) a few times a day. It really came down to using what I already had - my body, that took me through pregnancy and birth, a woman’s body that is the most incredible and capable machine out there.  

I used my background as a yoga teacher and a personal trainer, and I would create my own short, high intensity workouts. I would combine cardio movements like mountain climbers and jumping jacks with strength exercises like squats, pushups and lunges. From years in the fitness industry I know that’s the perfect formula to burn the most fat and tone up the body. If she was napping, great, I got my workout in. If she woke up, I would simply put her on the mat next to me and grab her for all the strengthening moves, such as squat and press, and walking lunges. I included many yoga moves, especially planks and all it variations, as we know being a new mom is all about rebuilding your core. 

By including my daughter in my workouts, I created a fun activity to do few times a day for both of us, and most importantly, my daughter got used to exercising with me literally from day one. Now, at two and a half, when she sees me roll out my mat, she knows it’s time for yoga or workout, and she respects that, and is so excited to join in. 

I went on to create Mommy Workouts, a workout app that you can follow right from your phone. I wanted to share my experience with all the new mommies out there that may have felt the same, and didn’t know where to start with their postpartum exercise. Each workout is just five minutes long, so you can fit it in anywhere, anytime. If you have more time, simply repeat the same workout or stack multiple workouts together. Videos feature upbeat music and gorgeous backdrop of Pacific ocean. Mommy Workouts celebrates being a new mom, having your baby with you and moving your body. What better prescription for happiness? Bellow I’m sharing my favorite moves that you can do at home with your baby. And always remember, get an OK from your OB-GYN that you are good to exercise, and always listen to your body. Start slow, especially if you are recovering from a C-section. 

My postpartum exercise tips:

         1. DON’T FORGET YOUR PELVIC FLOOR - it really gets weak after pregnancy, your pelvic floor muscles support your growing baby and uterus. During birth, your pelvic floor gets even more stretched out and weak. So do Kegels as often as you can, whenever you are sitting down, driving, or laying down: Quickly squeeze the muscles that stop the flow of urine. Make the contractions progressively longer: squeeze for five, hold for five, and release for five. Repeat 10 times.

         2. BEING A NEW MOM, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CORE - rebuilding and strengthening. Solution: Plank. Plank is a static full body move, looks like a starting position for a pushup, contracting your core muscles (pulling bellybutton toward your spine), and you body in a straight line from shoulders to ankles. You can start with a knee plank, progress to a classic plank, elbow plank, side plank, and all different variations. Start with holding for 10 seconds, gradually increasing to 30 seconds or more. 

         3. FULL BODY MOVES- As new moms, we can’t afford to waste time with isolation exercises - do full body moves such as squats, pushups and lunges for maximum muscle impact and calorie burn.

         4. GET OUTSIDE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN - the fresh air and sun on your skin will sure boost the flow of endorphins.

         5. THROW A YOGA MAT IN YOUR STROLLER - whenever you are on a walk, find a beautiful place and do a quick workout while your baby is catching a nap:)

         6. PUT YOUR WORKOUT CLOTHES ON first thing in the morning, and as soon as you put your baby down, get moving, and then repeat a mini workout as many times as you can during the day. Remember, us new moms don't have time to shower anyway, so we might as well be sticky and sweaty all day in our leggings and sports bra :)


My favorite moves with my baby:


  1. Squat and press: Start with feet about hip width, hold your baby at your chest. Squat down keeping your weight in your heels, and as you come up, press your baby overhead.
  2. Backward lunges and pulse: Start standing, holding your baby at your chest. Step back into a lunge, stay low and just pulse up and down, until you feel the burn.
  3. Boat pose: Sitting on your mat, your baby at your chest, drown your belly in, lean back and pick up your legs, keeping knees bent, balancing your your tailbone. 
  4. Leg lifts: Lay on your back, hold your baby at your chest, and lift both legs to 90 degrees, while keeping your core engaged and your low back flat. Slowly return your legs down. 


You can find all my workouts on my Mommy Workouts app, available on ITunes, or

Follow me on instagram for more inspiration for new mommies! @mommyworkouts_



Magdalena Patterson

Yoga teacher, personal trainer, founder of Mommy Workouts.


Home-made body butter, perfect for pregnant bellies:-)

This heavenly body butter has become a must for me (especially now that my belly started showing beautifully), it became a part of my nightly ritual. I must say that I have done the exact same ritual every night during my first pregnancy, and I can confirm, no stretch marks left!:-) 

During pregnancy, we are instructed to only eat natural, clean foods and nourish our body inside and out with clean, natural products. Since skin is our larges organ, it makes perfect sense to create your own body butter – with only the best and cleanest, chemical-free ingredients. It’s perfect for fighting dry, itchy skin and preventing stretch marks (common side effects of pregnancy)

I have been making my own body butter throughout the entire pregnancy, and this is my best batch yet. I simplified the ingredients to three of my favorites:

1. Shea Butter (raw, organic)
2. Vitamin E oil
3. Essential lavender oil

The process is so simple:
1. In a double boiler, melt the entire content of your Shea butter jar.


2. Remove from heat, stir in vitamin E oil (anywhere from few drops to half bottle of the container pictured). Adding more oil will make the final product more easily spreadable, but also more oily. So it’s up to you)

3. Add about 20 drops of your favorite essential oil.

4. Allow mixture to cool, and when it starts to solidify, whip it with a hand-held blender to achieve a dreamy whipped texture. 

5. Spoon the mixture right back into your Shea butter jar, and you have your own home-made slice of heaven!

Every night, I have my own little ritual, I call it the bonding time with my growing baby: after a bath or shower, I sit or lay down (with plenty of pillows under my back, of course:), with candles lit, and I apply this rich body butter on my belly in big circular motions, talking to my baby. Sometimes I spread the butter all over my body (you end up being little greasy, but it feels so good for your skin to be that hydrated!

Why pregnant women are the best yogis

Prenatal Yoga Teacher Magdalena Patterson Shares Her Pregnancy Experience


This is me 8.5 months pregnant. Meditation becomes a second nature for a pregnant woman. 

This is me 8.5 months pregnant. Meditation becomes a second nature for a pregnant woman. 

I have practiced yoga for the last 15 years, but it wasn’t until I did prenatal yoga that I truly experienced what felt like the “real yoga.” I didn’t need a yoga mat or a set time and place to “do yoga.” I found myself in a constant state of total bliss and continually felt present in every moment. I was very connected to my breath and felt completely in-tune with my body. As a yoga teacher, this was a powerful awakening for me.


Prenatal Yoga Is Very Intuitive

Practicing yoga during pregnancy was hard at first. I was scared of what poses might hurt the baby due to all the conflicting advice out there and I got frustrated with not being able to do some of my favorite poses. I love inversions but they made me nauseous and did not feel good. Then a lightbulb went off. I intuitively started to relax into the poses in a way that felt good for my body. I stopped focusing on what my poses looked like or what I could or couldn’t do.

I studied prenatal yoga and found out that the intuition of pregnant women becomes very strong and their bodies will let them know where to go and where not to go. Meditating became second nature and I felt most connected and intuitive when I put my hands on my belly to feel the baby. I had never felt more present. Yoga and pregnancy melted together into a profound yogic experience, and I realized the powerful connection between my practice and my ability to relax and stay calm throughout pregnancy, labor and birth.

Women in Prenatal Yoga Are Amazing Yogis

Prenatal yoga is my favorite class to teach. It is so close to my heart, and seeing mommies-to-be relax, meditate and feel good after class is the best gift I can get as a teacher. I feel so blessed to teach prenatal yoga because pregnant women, even if they have never practiced yoga before, are the best yogis ever! They just get it. They are in the present moment. Being pregnant is a daily yoga practice in itself. It is very natural for women to pause and pay attention to their breath, to be in-tune with their bodies, to feel their baby kick. In prenatal yoga, we nurture this process, and we help pregnant women to listen and trust their body, relax, and enjoy their pregnancy.


Prenatal Yoga Creates a Deep State of Relaxation

It is incredible to see so many pregnant women reach such a deep state of relaxation. Especially considering the constant stress that expectant mothers can be under. They hear different opinions from everyone they meet, not to mention all the unsolicited advice they receive on a daily basis.

We live in a beautiful time to be an expectant mother and have a lot of options when it comes to birth. Some women choose to have a home water birth while others have a planned C section. In prenatal classes we create a community where women feel comfortable discussing their birth plans without judgement. It has been wonderful to see women learn more about their delivery options. Whatever you choose, be calm, relaxed and don’t stress about it. Don’t try to fulfill someone else’s agenda.

Prenatal Yoga Creates Happy Hormones in the Womb

While studying for my prenatal yoga certification, I was intrigued by the research on fetal brain development. In addition to good nutrition, what also plays a huge part is the hormones that mom’s brain secretes during pregnancy. Neuroscience and yoga both agree on the importance of staying calm and relaxed during pregnancy. If any nutrients are missing from a woman’s diet, the body is capable of creating them or borrowing them from somewhere else in the body. Emotionally our body cannot compensate and create happiness and contentment when the mother is anxious and stressed out.

The baby in the womb receives the same hormones that mom’s brain releases. If the pregnant mom is relaxed and happy, the baby bathes in happy hormones. If the mommy-to-be is constantly stressed out and in the “fight or flight” state, the baby experiences those feelings too. Most importantly, the baby’s brain is growing and developing every day, so our mission in prenatal yoga is to create and nurture the most loving and calm environment for that development. What better way for a mommy-to-be to stay calm and relaxed than regular yoga practice!


Looking back, I know there’s no better way to prepare for labor and birth then to practice yoga. I love hearing my students’ birth stories when we connect in Mommy & Me yoga after. My birth was much like a crazy long yoga class. It was very intense, but my breath and movement took me through it. I went through many different labor positions that all look like yoga. Malasana (squat), cat & cow, and puppy pose to name a few. Some of them I held for hours, but I didn’t know because I withdrew my senses and lost all concept of time. All I remember is that I kept breathing. I have never been more present in the moment or have experienced a stronger sense of yoga. Twenty two hours later I had my beautiful baby. Mother and baby going through this journey as one is the perfect definition of the yogic concept “unity” or “yoking”.

From that magical moment, I knew I had to keep sharing the gift of yoga to other mommies-to-be.

I teach prenatal yoga every Friday 10:45 am-11:45 am at Buddhi Yoga La Jolla.