You’re in one of the happiest phases of your life but feeling tired, emotional and stressed every few hours or days. The days after your baby has arrived can be overwhelming, leaving you anxious and upset. You’re craving some calm, peace and balance. That’s where postpartum yoga can come to your aid. Yoga is a practice that induces an immense state of calm and peace while also working on your physical strength and well-being. Yoga provides a framework to improve your quality of life, helping you seamlessly navigate every phase you go through.
The best part about postpartum yoga is you don’t need prior yoga experience. Getting your body moving through a gentle flow of postpartum yoga poses, doing a few minutes of deep breathing, and meditation can immensely help you manage all the emotions and tiredness you’re feeling. You don’t even need to go to a yoga studio. Today, there are enough options of postpartum yoga online classes you can choose from. Before you get started all you need is your doctor’s permission, comfortable clothes, and 3-4 hours a week (preferably when your baby is sleeping).
What does postpartum yoga include?
Postpartum yoga workouts are all about helping you manage your post-baby symptoms of weight gain, stress, anxiety, depression, back pain, pelvic floor strength, sleeplessness etc. It’s about creating a way for you to come back to your body, adjust to the new life you are living and tune in with your emotions and thoughts. Postpartum yoga allows you to accept your body and mind, and gives you the much-needed ‘me-time’ (since you’re putting your own self-care on hold). Joining live yoga classes are a great way to aid healing and relaxation after your baby arrives.
Postpartum yoga sessions may vary depending on the classes you join. Your doctor might ask you to do only gentle practices and breathing exercises. Whereas, if it has been some time, you might be ready for a few strengthening yoga postures that help reverse weak muscles, like the core and pelvic floor, after birth. After your doctor gives you a go-ahead, you can join an in-person or online live yoga class for postpartum yoga. It’s also important to let your teacher know about any issues you may be having since your pregnancy - diabetes, thyroid, back pain, incontinence, etc. The practices will then be modified to suit your requirements. Also remember to always join certified yoga teachers for postpartum yoga only.
Benefits of postpartum yoga
A postpartum yoga workout or practice benefits you physically, mentally and emotionally. Let’s look at how this happens.
Strength and stamina
If you are ready to start yoga asanas, a good practice can have a strengthening and toning effect on the muscles. Certain muscle groups such as the abdominal, back, pelvic floor, arms and shoulders need this postpartum yoga workout as they might get loose and weak during labor or delivery. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says women should get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week. Yes, yoga is not aerobic, but it has an overall strengthening effect on the body.
Postpartum weight loss
You might have put on a few pounds during your pregnancy and are now looking to get back to your regular weight. Yoga is a great way to shed that extra weight, improve your diet and inculcate mindful eating, and to release stress which will help with digestion. The weight loss achieved with yoga is sustained, healthy and progressive, ensuring your body remains strong and fit for your baby.
It’s common to struggle with getting a good night’s sleep and enough rest after the baby comes. Sometimes, even if your baby is asleep, you will find it hard to unwind and fall asleep because you’re so wired up. Yoga for sleeplessness is a wonderful way to help you relax, balance your nervous system and sleep better. Just a few classes will encourage good, restful sleep at night.
Aids with postpartum depression
Many face symptoms of depression after delivery. Yoga helps balance hormones, improves mindfulness and releases stress, anxiety and depression. A study with a group of women in 2015 found that 78% women felt a change in their depression and anxiety symptoms after practicing yoga for eight weeks (two classes a week).
Helpful in feeding
In 2017 a study found that yoga may increase milk production by aiding deep relaxation and tranquility. This allows for improved release of prolactin and oxytocin, the hormones responsible for feeding.
Know your body
Your body has just gone through several changes. Postpartum yoga online or in-person when done regularly will help you connect with your body and mind, improve bodily sensations and what you are feeling within. It will improve mindfulness and presence of mind, so you will know what your body is capable of doing and also ease tension and relax the body when needed.
Postpartum yoga acts as a wonderful mood moderator. Whether you’re doing yoga poses, breathing exercises or meditation, regular practice can balance emotions, improve mood and induce some much-needed deep relaxation.
During pregnancy your posture might take a hit. After birth you start nursing, carrying the baby, pushing a stroller, and so on. All of this can affect your posture. Many postpartum yoga poses can correct your posture, increase back and shoulder strength and even relieve pain. Your chest will also open up, making it easier to correct posture.
When you join a postpartum yoga class online or offline you will meet other new moms too. You’ll make new friends going through a similar phase of life, and feel an immense sense of moral support from this new community.
Strengthens the pelvic floor
There is a lot of weight that gets pushed into the pelvic floor during pregnancy. Many women face incontinence issues, among other problems. Postpartum yoga practices like asanas and breathing exercises can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, ease incontinence and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
Alleviates back pain
Back pain can be a common occurrence during pregnancy and after birth. Practicing postpartum yoga can help strengthen the back muscles, release stiffness, relax and soothe the spinal nerves and give your back a break from the pressure it has been going through.
Common yoga poses to start with for postpartum yoga are Mountain Pose, Child’s Pose, Cat-Cow Pose, Eagle Pose and Legs-up-on-the-wall Pose. Joining an online postpartum yoga class with the best certified yoga teachers will be beneficial as they will guide you through a sequence that is right for you. Breathing exercises include alternate nostril breathing, humming bee breath, and deep yogic breathing. If you can, taking out the time to meditate will be very helpful in staying relaxed and centered.
The best part about yoga now is that you can practice from the comfort of your home. While your baby sleeps, you can join an online postpartum yoga class. All you need is a mat, comfortable clothing and maybe a few props like a bolster, cushion and blanket for more support. Be sure to get your doctor’s approval before starting. Listen to your body and only practice what feels right. If you have any uneasy feelings, consult your doctor immediately.