During pregnancy a women’s greatest preoccupation is the labor process, how will the birth go? It’s going to be so painful, shall I elect c-section or go for a natural delivery? We are geared to focus on getting through the next 9 months and once we are no longer pregnant things will go back to normal, right? Wrong. The biggest change is yet to come, from the sleepless nights, to breastfeeding, to changes in hormonal levels, to and the greatest shift in identity – being a mother.
The focus of our post natal yoga program is help new mothers carve out some time so they can gradually ease into this new world, so they can be gentle with themselves and stave off all the unsolicited advice of what they should and shouldn’t be doing. Coming back to a space they recognize, some quiet time and the opportunity to re-connect with their healing bodies rather than micromanaging the baby’s schedule of when to feed, nap and bathe.
I remember feeling a sense of overwhelm after giving birth, an aching body, a crying body with no user manual! Being type A personality, I would have a plan, execute and get my desired outcome, be it at work, in college, handling relationships, there was a rough protocol of action, not having this left me feeling despondent, guilty and powerless- they call it the baby blues but it hit me like a wave and I felt like I was the only mother out there experiencing this.
It was when I allowed myself just 20 minutes a day to do some mindful breathing or meditation that I was able to feel more centered and in control again. Yoga helped me so much to let things pass and not feel burdened by my emotions. The personalized program does exactly this, it helps mothers give themselves permission to look after themselves, to understand what they need and be tender with themselves so they can then do the same for their infants. It takes a lot of resilience to feel like you don’t have any of the answers and keep trying to calm a wailing baby. This is why we arrange for professional and experiences post natal yoga teachers to host the classes in the clients home, there is no stress of commuting to a studio or trying to keep up with a class, each lesson is structured so that it meets the current needs of the mother, whether its active movement to release stress and regain energy, guided meditations to feel restful despite weeks of interrupted sleep, or assisted stretching to release all the aches and pains from the tension built in suddenly holding a baby all day long.
My first lesson in motherhood was surrender, letting go of expectations, if that baby isn’t sleepy there’s just no way to put them to bed, if the baby isn’t hungry them to latch on…letting go needing a regimen and allowing myself for the first time to go with the flow, trusting that nature takes its course and that my baby was getting the right amount of food and sleep that she needed to grow. It takes that commitment in body, mind and spirit to trust in your best efforts and also let go of what we cannot control, this is principle of yoga. And more so for new mothers post natal yoga brings that in the forefront, imagine a world where each child was looked after by patient, calm and loving caregivers? This is only possible when they practice those qualities for themselves, its in times of struggle where how we deal with ourselves is projected onto others, it’s time we all take some time to slow down and embody some self love.