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Insights on Yoga for New Moms with Chelsea Hofer

Insights Series on Yoga for new moms with Chelsea Hofer

In our latest Insights Series, we chatted with Chelsea Hofer about her inspiring journey finding calm and clarity by becoming a yoga instructor at 31 years old as a mom to three teens (and now a newborn too!). She’s sharing her personal experience discovering the transformative power of yoga, her favorite things about the practice, and tips for new or expecting moms considering starting their yoga journey too!

Why did you decide to start practicing yoga at 31?

My mom invited me to take a class with her. She had been practicing for eight years and I, more recently, had joined a gym and had been lifting weights. We took a gym-style yoga class and I loved it so much that I asked the teacher when else she teaches and it led me to take her studio classes. It was a completely different vibe and I was hooked. I canceled my gym membership and consumed yoga like it was my job!

"While I never practiced yoga while pregnant, I would absolutely recommend it to expecting mothers! I would recommend it to new moms too!"

How has yoga changed or improved your life?

Yoga has changed me for the better in more ways than I can count. The biggest and most profound moments always come in the quiet that it creates. My first class awoke a part of me that I didn’t know I needed; that I didn’t know was there. I started to hear my voice and craved the stillness. At the time, I was a mom of three and had never felt that sort of clarity. While my body got stronger and I loved the physical challenge, it was the space freed up in my mind that kept me coming back to my mat. I’d never met this version of myself before.

What is your favorite type of yoga, and go-to position?

In the beginning, I practiced mainly Ashtanga Yoga and did that for about two years. After, I decided I wanted a break from the rigorous routine and wanted to flow in a more creative vinyasa-style class. I sampled many modalities and started handstanding and learned to simply love movement! My favorite asana (posture) is handstand. It’s taught me the most about myself. To be strong, and resilient, to catch myself when I fall, and to be willing to stay for one more breath. It’s always so much more than the posture you’re holding.

nsights on Yoga for New Moms with Chelsea Hofer

Would you recommend yoga classes for expecting mothers?

While I never practiced yoga while pregnant, I would absolutely recommend it to expecting mothers! I would recommend it to new moms too! While the fitness aspect of yoga is so healing, the quiet time for yourself is needed and so precious. From connecting with your baby while pregnant to repairing pelvic floor issues or sore shoulders/back from feeding your baby, yoga helps so much!

Do you think yoga is a good option for moms looking to get back into fitness postpartum?

100% yes! It can be a gentle way to get to know your new body of strength! Plus you can do it in the comfort of your home with your little one nearby. From shoulder and back stretches and twists, to pelvic floor repairs, or gentle core work, it's a great movement practice to ease you back into your new body.

"Many kiddos love the animal poses like Downward Dog, Cow Pose, Eagle Pose, Cat Pose, and Frog Pose!"

How can little ones join in on a yoga class?

I recently laid my little one (3 months old) next to my mat while I practiced and he watched me for the longest time. I stretched, moved, and even practiced handstands. In most floor sequences you can even hold your baby during as well. As they grow, they can practice with you! Many kiddos love the animal poses like Downward Dog, Cow Pose, Eagle Pose, Cat Pose, and Frog Pose!

What other wellness tips would you recommend for new and/or expectant moms?

Prioritize sleep when you can! I’m not getting much of it these days but I know I feel so much better when I practice yoga or other forms of exercise! To do that well, I need sleep. I often head to bed at 9:00 pm knowing my little man will be up often in the night and up for the day at 5:30 am. Try LOTS of new movement types. Our bodies are different now and what we used to do might not feel the same or as appealing. Be open to trying new things in new ways. Maybe a studio class, a fitness app at home, biking, swimming, a meditation challenge, etc. I am always so much better for my family when I take care of myself. It took me a lot of years to learn that. To create boundaries. To ask for help. Once I did, I found yoga and my whole life changed because I finally had time to find the quiet I never knew I needed.

Chelsea Hofer is a yoga instructor, social media influencer, and mother of four who is passionate about yoga, fitness, wellness, and motherhood. Stay connected with Chelsea’s journey through her Instagram handle @chelseasyoga.

*Photography credit: Kathleen Williams @kathleenwilliamsphotography

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