Seven reasons new mums need to try postnatal yoga
Yogi, blogger and new mum Suzanne Cork offers an honest, first hand account of her difficult pregnancy and how postnatal yoga helped her recover.
The arrival of my daughter earlier this year was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. The intense gratitude for this new wonderful being was overwhelming but part of the reason I was so happy was that I no longer had to endure almost daily vomiting and nausea from my pregnancy.
This euphoria at feeling normal again meant it was tempting to rush straight back into my pre-pregnancy exercise routine. However, having taught pre and postnatal yoga for years, I knew that impact exercise would do more harm than good due to the hormone relaxin in the body, which loosens joints in the body and can lead to instability and injury.
So it was yoga that helped me recover from a very challenging pregnancy and C-section as well as providing that all-important space to reconnect with myself during that deliciously wonderful and yet crazy time of becoming a new mum.
Below, find my seven ways yoga can benefit a new (or experienced!) mum both physically and emotionally:
- Knits separated abdominal muscles back together: One of the worst things a new mum can do is sit-ups. These work the superficial rectus abdominal muscles, which become separated and weakened during pregnancy. Before you can consider a more complex fitness programme, you need to knit the muscles back together by working on the transverse abdominals. Yoga tones these muscles along with the pelvic floor to ‘close the body’ after birth.
- Reduces back pain: Weak abdominal muscles often lead to back pain, which is often exasperated when you have a baby! Yoga rebuilds flexibility and muscle tone in the abdominal and back muscles, which help reduce postpartum back pain.
- Releases tension in shoulders and neck muscles: Breastfeeding can cause the spine and shoulders to become rounded and sore. Yoga helps open this area of the body preventing aches and pains, allowing you to cuddle your new baby to your heart’s content!
- Tones your upper body: Plank and chaturangas are a surefire way to tone your arms, which will stave off soreness that comes from constantly picking up your newborn.
- Positive mindset: Many new mums can feel disheartened about the physical and emotional effects pregnancy and childbirth has had on their body. Studies show exercise decreases the incidence of post-natal depression.
- Calmer baby: Yoga is a nurturing practice, which cultivates calm through focusing on the present moment and on breathing exercises. Through nurturing yourself during your practice, it will no doubt have a positive affect on your relationship with your child. It may be an old cliché but if you have a happy mummy, you have a happy baby!
- Community: If you attend a yoga class specifically aimed at pre and post natal care, it’s a fantastic way to connect with other like-minded mums about the challenges and joys of being a new mother.
Suzanne Cork teaches yoga retreats in both the UAE and the UK, specializing in pre and posnatal yoga. For more information visit www.suzannecork.com