Postnatal Yoga — Yoga after Delivery for new Mothers

4 min read

Written by Bhaswati Seal

Bhaswati Seal

Bhaswati Seal is an  an Ayurvedic wellness coach, based in Bangalore. She offers Prenatal & Postnatal classes online through her yoga studio, Srimoyi Yoga.

Postnatal Yoga

Postnatal Yoga is a gentle restorative style of yoga that heals the body of a woman after pregnancy and childbirth, and nourishes and supports her emotionally. The holistic health needs of women who have recently delivered are different from that of the general population, which is why a class tailored to postnatal recovery is more suitable than a general yoga class at this time. 

Are Postnatal Yoga classes for you?

You can join a Postnatal yoga class to regain your health and strength after childbirth. If one has had an uncomplicated pregnancy and a natural delivery then three months after delivery is a good time to join a Postnatal Yoga class. 

Do listen to how your body feels, and build up your readiness to exercise by walking regularly. Start with short durations twice a day instead of walking too much at one time. 

Also consult your doctor about starting to exercise if you had complications during your pregnancy, during delivery, or after childbirth. In case you are having medical issues like pain in the abdomen or pelvic floor, or continued bleeding even after 6 weeks of delivery, then seek medical intervention for that first before you think of starting postnatal exercises. 

To be able to attend a postnatal class consistently, it is helpful to have a few things in place at home. Once you have established a new, somewhat stable routine at home following the initial hiccups, you can plan to attend the classes regularly. 

An adequate support system is required at home so that you can attend the classes undistracted while another adult cares for the baby. 

Do set up a dedicated space at home to stretch out your mat where you will not be disturbed during the duration of your exercise. 

What are the benefits of Postnatal Yoga?

Once you start taking the classes regularly you can experience the benefits yourself in a few weeks. Here are some of the benefits of postnatal yoga.

Doing postnatal yoga

  • Improves your sense of wellbeing and builds strength in the body
  • Helps to strengthen your core and lower back, to prevent back pain.
  • Improves spinal flexibility and your posture, which long hours of breastfeeding and holding the baby can put a strain on.
  • Tones the abdominal muscles and improves diastasis recti. 
  • Boosts your energy levels; taking care of a baby is exhausting work and you may not be getting enough sleep. 
  • Improves your mental wellbeing, helps to alleviate mood swings, postpartum depression, anxiety, feelings of loneliness and isolation. With regular practice of yoga you will find yourself handling stress better. 
  • Some women may experience incontinence; reduced bladder control often leads to leakage while sneezing or coughing. Yoga helps to tone up the pelvic floor muscles once again. 

How Postnatal Yoga classes can help you

For those wondering how postnatal yoga classes can help, here are a few pointers to remember.

  • Signing up for a postnatal class gives you the ability to exercise under the guidance of a qualified teacher. 
  • You get the opportunity to exercise in a structured way, and don’t have to worry whether you are doing enough to make a difference. 
  • Left to oneself most people like to stick with what they know or like, which may be different from what they need. A teacher is there to support and motivate you along the way. 
  • Exercising along with others in a group you feel more enthusiastic and there is a feeling of camaraderie. 

When to start?

Postnatal yoga has been found to be most helpful when people start practicing 3 to 9 months after delivery. Best to get started in the first year after childbirth. 

How is the class offered?

Most new mothers cannot afford to be away from their babies for a long time. If you factor in the time taken to commute back and forth to a physical class, it may not be viable for a person to be out for that long. This is why many new mothers postpone joining a class and focusing on their fitness and wellbeing. 

To enable more women to attend our classes, we offer them online. With this format they have the ability to start when they need to, from the comfort of their own space, without getting tired from the commute. I have observed that being able to attend the postnatal yoga class online has been a game changer for mothers. 

What to consider before choosing postnatal yoga classes

  1. Instructor qualifications and experience

It is best to choose an instructor certified in teaching Postnatal yoga, who has experience and a deep understanding of pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum stage. The instructor needs to be familiar with the state of a woman’s health, post delivery, and how to build it up again gradually.

  1. Program duration & Number of sessions (as per convenience) 

At least six to eight to eight weeks of classes are required to see some improvement and get into the rhythm of exercising, postpartum. Attending one-hour sessions, held two to three times a week is usually manageable for a new mother. 

  1. Do I Need Previous Yoga Experience? 

It is not required to have learnt yoga earlier to attend the Postnatal yoga class. The class will usually be conducted in a way that is suitable for beginners, with detailed explanations and support. 

However, those who have been fit and active before their pregnancy will find it easier to learn and get into the rhythm of regular exercise. 

Bottomline

Postnatal yoga is an effective form of aftercare which many new mothers are not aware of, that can give your mental and physical health a significant boost. The gentle style of postnatal yoga that an experienced instructor teaches is suited to people of varying fitness levels. 

It is advisable for a woman who has delivered to start postnatal yoga classes at some point during the first year after childbirth, taking into account her readiness and medical advice from her doctor. 

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Bhaswati Seal,Certified Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga and Garbh Sanskar teacher with over 16 years of experience.

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