Ok let’s honest, those first days and weeks after your new baby arrives are a lot like being hit by a train. Sleepless nights, raging hormones, feeding challenges, personal space becoming a distant dream. Unfortunately postnatal depletion is much more common nowadays, as society generally seems to have overlooked that mothers need to be fully supported and healthy – physically, emotionally and mentally. And that’s where yoga comes in. Postnatal yoga can be a powerful tool for mums to reconnect with their bodies after birth and can give much needed support to women during a time of extreme change. Juggling the expectations of family, friends and society can leave new mums exhausted and irritable. Yoga has a wide range of physical, emotional and psychological benefits, and is a low impact way to work with bodies recovering from pregnancy and birth.
Postnatal yoga can assist with many aspects of postnatal healing, including rebuilding strength in the pelvic floor. Postnatal pelvic floor exercises can help prevent long term problems such as urinary incontinence, prolapse and lack of sensation, and in class we cover simple physical and breathing exercises that mums can practice in class and then engage with throughout the day.
Postnatal yoga can help mums regain a good posture and offer relief from specific post-natal issues such as:
· back pain
· hip pain
· carpel tunnel (pain in the wrists)
· knee pain
· lack of confidence
Targeted Asana (yoga poses), Pranayama (breathing exercises), and relaxation techniques can all be combined to reduce pain, stress and tiredness. Best of all most of the exercises and techniques are super easy and can be replicated in short bursts at home throughout the day. A postnatal yoga class is also a good way for new mums to check their abdominal muscles for diastasis recti (separation of the muscles) and to start to carefully work with strengthening the core again,
We cover breathing and relaxation techniques to support wellbeing and reduce negative feelings; and attending a Baby and post-natal yoga class provides a much-needed space for self-care. It’s so important for mums to nurture themselves first, so they in turn can nurture their baby and the wider family. Relaxation and time spent in Savasana in class can also help with fatigue due to loss of sleep and teach techniques to help mums get to sleep at night when they are anxious and over tired.
Body image can be a huge issue for some mums in the postnatal stage. Postnatal yoga IS NOT going to make your body “snap back” in three weeks. But it can help news mums to connect back to their body, find the strength it holds, and appreciate what they and their body have achieved, and continue to achieve. Yoga teaches all of us to work with the body rather than fighting against it.
Importantly, yoga teaches us how to LET GO. Let go of the things we can’t control, of our expectations, and of the expectations of others. Being a new mum means being bombarded with advice and images of mums “getting it right” – but there’s no actual manual that tells you HOW to be a mum. Now I’m not saying that a postnatal and baby yoga class does either. But it does give you uninterrupted time with your baby to learn about them, communicate with them, and most importantly HAVE FUN with them. And that’s what most of Mum-ing is all about.