Postnatal Yoga is a class designed to align and strengthen ligaments and muscles, establishing a strong foundation for a healthy body. Many of the yoga techniques involve the baby - exercises that mothers are able to do at home, while caring for their babies, and there are also practices for bringing alignment to everyday activities such as positioning during feeding. Mothers can also learn how to relax with their babies, connecting with them, and learning playful activities to do at home. The classes are also an opportunity to meet other mothers, for babies to interact with other babies, and for everyone to connect in a relaxing atmosphere.
When to begin? You may join the classes from 6 weeks after the birth (or 8 weeks if C-section). It can be helpful to have a thumbs-up from your doctor before resuming a yoga practice.
Do I bring the baby? Yes, absolutely! Our classes are an opportunity for mothers and babies to enjoy time together. A typical class includes yogic exercises (asana) and breathing techniques for mothers, singing & movement with babies, and relaxation together.
What is so special about postnatal yoga exercises? It takes at least 6 months (or more, in breastfeeding women) after the birth for the ligaments and muscles of the pelvis to return to normal. Yet during this time, women are doing a lot of lifting and carrying (holding their babies, lifting buggies and carriers/carseats). This effort, together with tiredness, can lead to pain in the lower back.
Resuming high impact 'pre-pregnancy' exercise or intense stretching in the legs may intensify pain in the pelvic gridle, particularly if there is misalignment in the joints after the softening of the ligaments during the hormonal changes of pregnancy. These hormones can continue to effect women for several months after birth. This can lead to instability in the joints and inflammation from pressure on the nerves.
Postnatal exercises are a gentle progression to help mothers regain their pelvic alignment, strengthening and regaining the elasticity of the pelvic floor, and re-knit their abdominal muscles.
Our practice includes a focus on relaxation to deepen the breath, reducing stress hormones and renewing energy. How does this work?
We aim to help reverse the spiral of crying and tension inevitable in the early weeks by practicing several techniques for relaxation We learn to access stillness though interactive practices rather than trying to shut out the world; To understand that unwanted feelings such as despair which may affect new mothers are just passing through and we do not need to get attached to these feelings; Finally, by helping mothers to relax, they learn to modulate and regulate the experience of their babies.
What do the babies do during class? The babies are an absolutely integral part of the class. They participate initially by watching and engaging with mothers during the yoga exercises. The exercises are designed with the babies in mind: mothers can maintain eye contact, touching/holding their babies and communicating verbally as they engage in the movements.
We also involve babies in age-appropriate movements, combining these with songs to hold their interest. Mothers are taught techniques for doing yoga while standing, walking with and feeding their babies.
What if my baby cries? This is a totally normal part of the class - when a baby needs to be fed, changed, or simply held, mothers are able to care for their babies needs and then rejoin the flow of the class when they are ready. Couches and cushions are available in the room, so everyone continues to be part of the class even while feeding!
Practicalities There is plenty of room to park buggies/prams We have yoga mats for you to use No need to bring any toys for the babies, we keep them entertained! Please wear something comfortable that allows you to move easily You may wish to bring a small blanket for the baby to lay on (this can cover our mats and blankets for inevitable spit-ups)
Teacher Kristen MacPherson