Yoga After Baby

I have to admit that I didn’t think my yoga practice would be any different post baby.  It didn’t occur to me that my body would need time to recover from the 9 months of being pregnant, and the 38 hours of labor and delivery I experienced before I held my son in my arms.  I had it all planned out, a couple of weeks of restorative yoga classes to recharge, and then right back into a strong daily practice of hot yoga and inversions. 

Perhaps as a yoga instructor I should have known better, but as a first time mom I am cutting myself a little slack.  Needless to say although I am recovering nicely, I did not bounce back with superhuman strength.  It took 3 weeks before I could manage more than yogic breathing.  At almost 5 months since the birth of my son, I am slowly starting to feel strong again. 

Now more than ever, I find my body directs my personal practice; I yearn to do what feels good.  Twisting poses have been a godsend.  For the first couple of months after I delivered, I woke with my back in constant agony.  Now, after practicing yoga almost daily, the pain is completely gone!  When I do miss a day, my body reminds me to roll out my mat, even if only for 5 minutes of meditation.  The experience of pregnancy and motherhood has made me more in tune with myself, more ready to listen. 

Listening to my body means that for now I have put my yang-centric practice temporarily on hold.  I used to love starting the day in headstand; now I begin in seated meditation and take that opportunity to set an intention.  Some days I ask for patience and strength, other days I sit and marvel at my blessings.  Sometimes those moments are all I have time for, and I have learned to be thankful for even the briefest yoga practice.  Other days I am fortunate, and find a half hour or more to move through my asana practice.  Savasana has never felt so luxurious; I can literally feel my body soaking up all that yogic goodness.  On the days when I cannot take a full savasana, I try to take a few moments in silent gratitude.  Of course as a new mom there are days when I don’t have time for either, and have to run off my mat mid pose. I do my best not to get attached to finishing the full half hour, or however much time I had hoped to spend on my mat.  Yoga will always be there for me, but my son will only be a baby once, and I treasure every moment I get to spend with him.  If I have to cut my yoga practice short today there is always tomorrow; I will set down my mat and try again.  



Charlotte Singmin is a certified yoga instructor, yoga therapist, and writer, with a thirst for knowledge and a passion for health and wellness.  She loves to travel and is eagerly collecting yoga certifications.  Charlotte recently became a proud new mom is grateful everyday for all the love in her life. 



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ehailstones, posted on February 18, 2013

great to read this article. I LOVED yin yoga poses while I was pregnant and feel like that's what my body needs now, 4 months post partdom. I wished there were more postnatal videos or yin videos available. I look forward to a more active practice at some point but for now I'm just ready to melt deeply into poses for long periods of time...when I can of course!

alunamoth, posted on January 25, 2013

Thank you for this article. I gave birth 9 months ago, and only now I am I starting to feel comfortable doing any yang practice. I am taking long-term yoga teaching training in the Ashtanga style now, which seemed to be the only time I could fit into my life. I feel humbled in the training and often don't feel like the greatest student, struggling to find the time to study my books with the constant baby care, never mind fitting in more than 30 min for asana practice. It was a joy to read your article and hear the perspective from a seasoned instructor. Any time on the mat is blessed.

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