Over to Maggie
1) Start with listening to guided meditation as an aid to take a nap whenever you need one. Either you end up asleep, or you get to meditate - win win! (I personally use and love the Expectful app for this; trial it for free, or alternatively search for 'post partum meditation' on YouTube.)
2) Continue with the gentle physical movement. Gradually try:
- Lying on your bed or the floor with your legs up against the wall.
- Seated on a chair, or kneeling/cross legged. Do some seated cat/cows to open and release the hard working shoulders, arms and chest.
- Release the neck. Massage the shoulders with your fingertips and take gentle quarter circles with your neck.
- Walk. It took me a while (around a week) but you do get to walk again and it gets better!
- Over the first weeks gradually include any other soft movement that feels good. Child's pose, cat/cow movement on all fours, calf muscle and quad stretches. Whatever feels good for your body.
3) Once cleared by your doctor and when the current situation allows it, baby yoga was a wonderful thing to join. It was worth trying a few and finding a 'Baby Yoga Class' that had the best toys and included songs when the babies needed some attention. I learned a lot of useful things at these sessions about baby skin issues, nannies, nappies and even a bit of Post-natal yoga for the pelvic floor. You can check out my video below for a short 15 minute yoga flow to get you started.
4) Regaining your sense of self. It's tricky juggling looking after a baby, recovering, and maintaining your sanity and that of your relationships. However going to some form of activity, even just for an hour a week by yourself, I found was crucial for my emotional recovery. Returning to teach my yoga classes was a great way to get out and be with adults even just a few times a week. Soft yoga clothing is a must have especially if you are still tender. As you can see I live in Asquith's sustainable yoga clothes because of this. If you are looking to go back to 'normal' (not post-natal) yoga, then ask your local studio to help point out the teachers who have post-natal yoga experience (your average teacher might not know how to support you beyond 'don't do anything that doesn't feel good'). Which brings me to my next point...
5) It's not enough to move mindfully, please also do your research. It takes a whole year after stopping breastfeeding to get your normal levels of calcium back in your bones. While you breastfeed you still produce relaxin which makes stretching easier and thus less safe. My abs are also still separated ('diastasis recti') despite doing physio and being generally strong before, during and after pregnancy - and any abdominal stretching makes the situation worse and they won't heal together by themselves. Most general yoga teachers won't know anything about the above. If you can, get a referral to a women's physio from your GP or see one privately if you can. If you want to practice yoga it is good to seek out a women's physio who also has yoga experience to pick their brains on what poses might pose a risk to your individual needs, and how to modify your usual practice to do you good rather than risk harm.
For me, after the initial weeks of getting over a traumatic birth emotionally, and also the shock to the system of trying to physically recover while looking after a big baby who never wants to be put down, slowly life resumed. After 4-5 weeks I was itching to move again. Here's a 15 min 'Baby and Me' yoga flow that is perfect if you want to move, stretch and strengthen. Suitable for both new Mums (once cleared to exercise by their doctor) and Dads. [No pelvic floor or abdominal separation exercises included as these are best discussed first with your women's physio.]
Stay tuned for more information on at home workouts, at home yoga and more tips and tricks to get you through this 'strange' time. We really think if we all work together, we can make this positive, so be kind, be thoughtful and stay grounded.
You can find out more about our eco-friendly fabrics and our sustainable activewear here...All images by Yoga and Photo. You can find out more about thier work here. Follow them on Instagram here.