Yoga for postpartum women -
How can it help?
We always think about prenatal yoga but what about yoga for postpartum women? It’s just as important to take care of yourself after you have your baby as it is while you’re pregnant. Once you’ve been cleared by your doctor to return to exercise, yoga can be a great way to get back into a fitness routine. And even better, yoga offers more than just physical benefits, so let’s look at how yoga can help you in your postpartum journey.
Importance of self care for the body AND mind postpartum
Whether you’ve had a c-section or had a natural delivery, both are a significant events for your physical body. The mind and body are connected so anything that impacts us physically will also have some impact on us mentally and emotionally. This is why it’s so important to take some time for yourself to care for your mind AND body. Even though it can be difficult to take time for yourself after having a baby, just know that even a little self care can go a long way.
Yoga is a great self care tool because it works on your entire being, mind, body, and soul.
Yoga for postpartum women
There are many types of yoga out there. We often think of yoga as only vinyasa yoga, (which is when you move through different poses), but even sitting for a meditation counts as yoga.
If you do practice vinyasa, this type of yoga does offer a “two for one” type of deal. It allows you to work on your physical body by improving strength and flexibility, all while also receiving the amazing mental benefits that yoga provides for us.
I always encourage women to keep in mind that not every woman is the same postpartum.
The state of your pelvic floor muscles can change what type of yoga will be best for you.
A common misconception is that every woman will have weak pelvic floor muscles after delivery. This is not true and in some cases, some women will experience the opposite and have tight pelvic floor muscles.
The best type of yoga for postpartum women will change depending on if your muscles are tight or weak. If you have pelvic floor tightness, a more relaxing and restorative yoga practice may be more beneficial for you. If you have pelvic floor weakness, a more strengthening type practice may be better for you.
If you have both tightness and weakness in the pelvic floor, yes both can happen together, most likely you’ll need to work on relaxation first and then get into a more strengthening based practice once you can relax your muscles.
A pelvic floor physical therapist is the best person to see to help determine this. I think it’s important for every woman who is postpartum to at least be evaluated by a pelvic floor physical therapist. A lot of changes can happen after pregnancy and a pelvic physical therapist can help guide you in the right direction for your optimal recovery.
To learn more about the pelvic floor, read this post: What is the pelvic floor?
Meditation for postpartum women
Regardless of where the pelvic floor muscles are at, any postpartum woman can meditate.
Even taking 5 minutes to sit in meditation can really help the health of your body and mind.
We commonly think yoga and meditation have to be this huge time commitment, but there are no rules. If you only have 5 minutes, that’s fine! If you can find an hour, then go for that. The great thing about yoga is that it’s truly a personal practice. It’s about finding what works best for you.
Your yoga practice actually benefits your little one..
Taking time for an activity like yoga can help you to be really present as a parent. It provides you with an opportunity to turn inward and assess what you need to show up as your best self.
So don’t forget to take time for yourself, even if it’s only 5 minutes, you need and deserve it!