The demands of motherhood, combined with the physical and emotional exhaustion make it difficult to prioritise self-care. Practising yoga is one of the best ways to calm the mind and reconnect with the body.
Start prenatal yoga—a gentle and nurturing practice that not only supports the well-being of expectant mothers but also offers numerous benefits for postpartum recovery. So, if you're seeking strategies to heal or recover from postpartum depression, let's begin by learning about how your prenatal yoga routine should look, the benefits of prenatal yoga, and more.
How Your Prenatal Yoga Routine Should Look
According to Ashtang and Hatha Yoga sadhak, Vadadi Lokesh, "Start your routine with gentle stretches to release tension and open up the body." Cat-Cow pose, seated forward folds, and gentle twists can help alleviate stiffness and promote flexibility, he added.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
The pelvic floor experiences significant changes during pregnancy and childbirth. Lokesh recommended incorporating exercises like Kegels and modified bridge pose, as that can help tone and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, supporting postpartum recovery.
Deep Breathing And Meditation
Focus on deep, mindful breathing to calm the nervous system and reduce stress. Incorporate moments of meditation and visualisation to nurture a sense of inner peace and relaxation.
Also Read: What Precautions Should Be Taken In The First Trimester Of Pregnancy?
Engage in gentle core-strengthening exercises to support the abdominal muscles. "Practices such as modified boat pose and pelvic tilts can aid in reestablishing core stability and toning the abdomen," Lokesh advisied.
Include restorative poses like supported reclining bound angle pose, legs up the wall, and child's pose to promote deep relaxation, release tension, and provide gentle support for the body.
Benefits Of Prenatal Yoga For Postpartum Recovery:
Prenatal yoga gently helps restore strength and flexibility, improves circulation, and aids in the healing process post-delivery. It can alleviate back pain, reduce muscle tension, and promote overall physical well-being.
The postpartum period often brings a range of emotions and hormonal fluctuations. Prenatal yoga offers a nurturing space to cultivate emotional balance, reduce anxiety and depression, and enhance overall mental well-being.
Practising prenatal yoga can help regulate hormonal levels, including those associated with breastfeeding. The deep relaxation and mindfulness aspects of the practice promote a sense of calm and balance.
The gentle movements, stretching, and breathing techniques in prenatal yoga help replenish energy levels depleted during childbirth and sleepless nights. The practice promotes relaxation, rejuvenation, and renewed vitality.
Bonding And Connection
Lokesh advocated that prenatal yoga provides an opportunity for new mothers to connect with their bodies, foster self-compassion, and strengthen the bond with their newborns. "Engaging in a nurturing practice allows for mindful moments of self-care and reflection," he added.
Gentle Poses To Support Postpartum Recovery
1) Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana/Bitilasana)
This pose helps release tension in the back, neck, and shoulders while promoting gentle movement in the spine. Start on all fours, inhale while arching the back and lifting the chest (Cow Pose), and exhale while rounding the spine and tucking the chin (Cat Pose).
2) Pelvic Tilts
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet hip-width apart. Gently tilt the pelvis forward and backwards, engaging the core muscles. "This pose helps strengthen the abdominal muscles and supports overall core stability," Lokesh said
3) Child's Pose (Balasana)
Sit on your heels, knees wide apart, and fold forward, resting your forehead on the floor or a bolster. This calming pose provides a gentle stretch to the lower back and hips, promoting relaxation and release.
Also Read: Prenatal Yoga: 5 Asanas That Pregnant Women Can Perform
4) Throne Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet together. Allow the knees to fall open, placing cushions or bolsters under each thigh for support. This pose helps open the hips and release tension while promoting deep relaxation.
5) Modified Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet hip-width apart. Press your feet into the ground as you lift your hips, engaging the glutes and core. "This pose helps strengthen the lower back, buttocks, and hamstrings," Lokesh concluded.
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