As the founder of a yoga teacher training school, Meera Watts is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to yoga and holistic health. If you’re in the postpartum period and you’re considering whether to add postnatal yoga into your life, check out the great advice she has on this topic.
Note that if you have a diastasis recti, there are certain yoga postures that are best avoided. These include back bends such as upward dog and camel, which can make your diastasis worse. You will likely also need to avoid the full plank, and maybe even the half plank position until your abdominals are strong enough to maintain integrity in these positions. Meera doesn’t discuss the specifics of postures in this article. So please, if you are starting postpartum yoga, make sure you let the instructor know if you have recently had a baby, and ask them about any postures you should be careful of.
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- The amazing benefits of postnatal yoga
- Postpartum yoga – when to start
- In Conclusion
The amazing benefits of postnatal yoga
Women go through a lot when they become pregnant. Apart from the physical changes, they also experience a difference in the way they think and act. And those changes don’t stop after a woman gives birth.
This makes it important that you find ways to cope with those changes and make sure that they don’t negatively affect the way you feel about yourself.
That is exactly where postnatal yoga can help you.
If you are still not convinced about adding it to your daily routine, here are the top benefits of postnatal yoga to help you make up your mind.
Postpartum yoga provides instant relaxation
Being a new mom can totally turn your life around. When you were so used to looking just after yourself, you now have a little baby to nurse, put to sleep, change diapers, and look after. These changes in your daily routine can stress you out.
And as a new mom, being under a lot of stress won’t be a good thing. It’ll mess up with your sleep, mood, and energy levels which can affect the way you care for your baby. It may also result in symptoms such as tension headaches or back pain. And if you fail to address such stress, it’ll become intense and that can eventually lead to burnout and postpartum depression.
Postnatal yoga helps you lose weight
Apart from adjusting to parenthood, another concern new moms have is their weight. Getting back in shape isn’t the easiest thing to do when you’ve just given birth.
Postnatal yoga offers a gentle yet effective means of building muscle tone and making your core firmer. It increases your metabolism and that can help you lose some of your excess weight.
Now, take note that while post natal yoga is great for different fitness levels, you still need to know how to determine the right class for you. Remember, the best class has to fit your needs, particularly since you’ll be dealing with a lot of sleepless nights.
If you decide to do yoga at home, find videos that show the correct postures. This is to ensure that you don’t put yourself at risk for injury and that you don’t cause more harm to your body.
Also, although yoga can help, you still need to do the hard work and add daily cardio into your postnatal exercise routine if you really want to get back in shape. You need to eat a balanced diet and try to get enough sleep as well.
Post pregnancy yoga increases muscle strength
Because you won’t be as active as you were before pregnancy, your muscles will be sore and you may experience postpartum lower back pain. This can make it harder for you to pick up and carry your baby.
Yoga can strengthen your muscles, particularly those at your back, abdominal area, and pelvic floor. And while it is strengthening those areas, practicing yoga as part of your postnatal exercise program can also ease any pain and stiffness there.
Post-delivery yoga helps avoid postpartum depression
Postpartum depression can happen to any woman in a single day or even after the first year of her baby’s life. The feelings of sadness, frustration, fear, and anxiety can take over her life.
Yoga (postnatal) has its unique ways of preventing or alleviating postpartum depression. For one, it requires proper breathing and focus. These two things can help change your perspective.
Yoga also encourages mindfulness and acceptance. It forces you to live in the present and let go of any tension or tightness of emotion you are experiencing.
Postnatal yoga helps in nurturing oneself
When you have a baby to take care of, prioritizing your own needs isn’t going to be that easy and squeezing a time for yourself can be challenging.
But guess what?
You don’t really have to spend long hours away from home just to recharge and relax. Spending half an hour on your yoga mat every day or a few times each week can give you the same results.
You can play soft and soothing music as you perform your poses or you can diffuse your favorite essential oils to make your session extra relaxing.
Giving birth leaves so many changes in a woman’s body. You’ll see stretch marks, dark lines, darker skin tone, acne, and more body fat. You’ll be bigger and your skin might not look as glowing as before your pregnancy. Even your hair may not be as shiny anymore.
Yoga promotes acceptance. It gives you the chance to see those changes, accept them, and be alright with them. It teaches you to embrace your flaws and to stop stressing out about them.
Postpartum exercise enables connection with peers
Joining a yoga class can help you connect with new moms who are probably going through the same things as you are. It’s an effective medium for you to share tips about parenthood and just make friends with other moms.
That type of connection is essential for building a solid support system. Even if you have your family by your side, having friends who’ll listen and give advice to you can have a tremendous effect on your overall well-being.
Postpartum yoga – when to start
If you are wondering when to start post natal yoga, the answer is not too soon.
For the first postpartum period (the first few weeks), take a rest and spend time to bond with your baby. Take care of yourself and try to eat healthy foods. Don’t forget to take your vitamins and iron supplements to replenish your body’s essential nutrients. Drink lots of water as well.
Begin by taking a walk after a couple of weeks. It’s a good time to bond with your baby as you get yourself some fresh air. As you walk, support the area of your lower back with a postnatal wrap. Use your deep abdominal muscles to retrain all those stretched muscles and ligaments.
After a while, you can try doing lunges and squats. Although they primarily strengthen the leg muscles, they are also great in tightening the lower abdominals and pelvic floor. [Elly: Ease back and seek advice from a women’s health physio if you get any pelvic pain while doing these].
To re-establish the strength of your shoulders and arms, do modified planks and modified push-ups. [Note from Elly: be careful of these if you have a diastasis]. You can try doing them against your kitchen countertops to really engage your target areas without overworking yourself.
Once you are able to slowly build the strength of your arms and legs, you can get back to your mat. Be sure to go slow and don’t push yourself too hard.
In case you are still feeling a lot of postpartum back pain or any other discomfort after several months, go see your doctor or you can consult a physiotherapist. You can also see your yoga teacher so she can guide you about which postnatal yoga poses to avoid.
Postnatal yoga is great and there’s no doubt about that. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s safe and ideal to get back to your mat right after giving birth. Be gentle with your body and give it time to rest and heal first.
Don’t forget to listen to your body. If there is still pain, don’t force yourself.
Also, remember that you’ll never be able to get back the first few months of your baby so spend as much time with him as possible. Don’t choose to spend that entire time trying to figure out the best workout routine to get your pre-pregnancy weight. Once you are strong enough, you won’t have a hard time getting back in shape.
If you’re in the postpartum period, you might be interested to read about how osteopathy can help to restore your body during this time.
If you’ve got any questions or comments about postnatal yoga or postpartum exercise in general, please use the comment box below! We always love to hear from you.
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