Having a baby can be an overpowering physical, mental and an emotional experience for a new mom on her sense of self. The body sloshes with hormones making her feel very vulnerable and sensitive. A new life that they are totally responsible for brings a sense of joy as well as anxiety on their capabilities to look after it.
During labour and birth process, the pelvis and the birth passage open to create more space for the baby. There is subsequent pressure on the pelvic floor muscles that are stretched and strained. Just as looking after the baby to help them flourish, it is important for the new mom to take charge of her health.
Yoga way of life is one way that a new mom can follow in order to get back to a state of normal health. Ideally, one can start yoga practices six weeks after a normal childbirth. However, it is always safe to check with the doctor on when to start.
In the first month after childbirth, a new mom should take things slowly.
Practice of Yamas such as Ahimsa, Satya, Brahamacharya and practice of Niyamas such as Sauca, Santosha, Svadhaya and Ishvarpranidhan will help her manage her external and internal environment.
While performing simple Asanas use of props such as blocks, straps, chairs, wall and pillows may be used. The focus must be on comfort and slow deep breathing. In the early days, even ten minutes of practice is sufficient.
The following Asanas can be performed safely:
Balasana or child’s pose
This pose helps stretch low back along with opening of the hips, which often tighten during pregnancy. A forward bend help soothe the nervous system.
Setubandhasan or the bridge pose
This asana helps strengthen groups of muscle in the mid and lower back. It also helps alleviate stress and mild depression.
In both these asanas, Ashwini Mudra can be performed which is a dynamic contraction and release of sphincter muscles. This helps the new mom regain control over lower part of the body. Aswini Mudra facilities the movement of energy downwards so that elimination happens smoothly.
Marjarya and Bittaliasana or cat and cow pose
These asanas involve the entire back and also the shoulder, helping soothe muscles that tighten from nursing and holding the baby.
Viprita Karni or the inverted pose with wall support
This posture increases blood flow to the abdomen which can help heal that area.
Markatasana or the supine twist
This posture helps stretch abdominal oblique muscles that can tighten during pregnancy. It also helps relax the back completely.
Parsva Balasana or thread-the-needle-pose
This asana stretches the mid and upper back as well as the shoulders, which get tight from breast feeding.
Savasana or the corpse-pose
The final relaxation pose leading to deep states of silence where healing mechanisms are further activated and immunity strengthened.
Breathing well, (doing Vibhagaya Pranayam, Nadi shodhan, Brahmari pranayama) is one of the main ingredients to a quick recovery.
Slow and steady breathing is what that ties all yogic practices together. This can help the new mom make a smooth transition, dealing with pressures and pleasures of motherhood in a state of harmony.
Finally, practice of Dhyana can help new mom remain in a state of self-acceptance.