How can yoga help new mums recover both emotionally and physically post-birth?
Yoga is a physical practice but it also takes the big picture into account. A mother recovering from birth needs to take great care to not rush into practices which are too intense as this a time when the uterus is retracting and the body changing. For this reason a soft approach is needed and as long as you have a good yoga teacher they can guide you in the right direction.
Yoga looks at the person on a multi-level basis - we are more than just the physical – we are energy, the mind, intuition and bliss. Yoga also teaches us self-love and a healthy body image which is particularly important after birth. The great thing is that there is no competition with yoga and post-natal yoga in particular is supportive and community based.
For those who are complete beginners, what is the best way to start?
For a complete beginner who wants to start yoga after birth, the timing would depend on what type of birth she had. 6-8 weeks for a natural birth (more if there were complications) and 10-12 weeks for a caesarean birth. A one-to-one session would be most beneficial for a post-natal beginner.
What moves/exercises are especially great for post-natal mums?
Movements with a Pilates base are especially beneficial. These movements help to repair diastasis of the belly and tone the core in a safe way. More intense exercise, such as core crunches, is not recommended. A woman should build up her yoga practice slowly and vinyasa movements (such as sun salutation or surya namaskar) are especially helpful to lose weight.
How long do we need to spend practicing a week to reap the benefits?
Three sessions a week would be ideal, twice are okay, but in reality a woman with a young baby (and possibly other young children) has little time, so any time spent on herself will be beneficial.
How can we get involved?
We recommend to try out the postnatal yoga classes with a certified postnatal yoga instructor to help you guide you through the process.
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