The Many Benefits Of Postnatal Yoga
On the surface, the concept of postnatal yoga sounds a bit awkward, and comes at a time when the new mother, faced with caring for the newborn, probably has much more on her mind than the thought of taking, or returning to, a yoga class. Almost anyone who has attended yoga classes for any length of time will testify how yoga benefits the body physically, but benefits the mind and the spirit as well, and the postpartum woman will often gladly seek help in all three areas.
Participating in postnatal yoga is certainly a very good decision, as the new mother not only needs to get back into shape physically, but may need mental and spiritual exercises as well to better cope with the new lifestyle which has suddenly been thrust upon her.
There may be some yoga classes where a woman who has recently given birth may not feel comfortable in attending, especially if the class is an advanced class and the postpartum mom may be looked at as someone who will slow things down for everyone else. Slowing things down isn't all that bad, as that's one of the things yoga does for us anyway. Most instructors however will welcome and encourage postpartum women to attend, and in some localities there are yoga classes designed specifically for new mothers and even will encourage bringing the infant along.
Many Benefits - Postnatal yoga brings with it a number of benefits which will almost immediately be appreciated by most attendees. Yoga is great for releasing tension in the neck and shoulders, and pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum are all times where stress and tensions mount. The abdominal muscles, pelvic floor muscles and the back have all taken a beating during pregnancy and childbirth. Yoga will strengthen these muscle groups and the back as well, and help the woman regain her posture.
Most, if not practically all yoga poses not only strengthen or stretch muscles, but serve to rejuvenate the mind, promote relaxation, and in general increase one's energy level. If a class happens to focus primarily on postnatal yoga, an added benefit is there most likely will be other mothers in attendance and they can connect with one another.
One does not have to join a postnatal yoga class immediately after giving childbirth, and will likely not feel like doing so in any event. It is recommended that these classes be started about a month to six weeks after delivery, under the theory that if one is in reasonably good condition, certainly not the case the day after returning from the hospital, it is easier to start working towards getting in better condition.
Kegel Exercises And The Child's Pose - A postnatal yoga class may only focus on a few different poses, poses that are not all that difficult, and those which will yield the most positive results. Kegel exercises will no doubt be a part of the program. Kegel exercises are designed to strengthen the pelvic floor, strengthen and tighten those tissues keeping pelvic organs in their proper places and helping to eliminate such problems as leaking urine. The Child's pose, one of the more relaxing yoga poses, is especially good in this case.
Warrior Poses - Standing poses will help improve posture and stability and improve endurance. One of the Warrior poses strengthens the legs and helps build stamina. When in a warrior pose one can almost feel energy coming up through the floor and into the body.
Pelvic Tilts - Pelvic tilts and pelvic rocking are poses and exercises designed to get the abdominal muscles firmed up and strengthened. These are usually very gentle exercises, but are more powerful as strengthening exercises than they might appear.
Little Bow Pose - Finally, the Little Bow Pose, where the knees are brought to the chest, not only strengthens the abdominal muscles but is very good for stretching the lower back muscles as well.
There are more poses in postnatal yoga. The sampling above is just an indication of how effective they can be.