When you become a Mom, along with physical changes, there are mental and spiritual changes as well. Something inside you shifts your core, your essence, as a human being. You become a Mom, with a capital M and are responsible for giving your baby all of the love and care that (s)he needs. While this feeling may be an empowering one, and for many a seemingly natural one; for others it can feel exhausting, and can leave Mom feeling quite depleted.
Postpartum yoga and exercise classes work to reestablish old connections that may have been lost in the process of pregnancy, labor, delivery, and even those first few whirlwind weeks. Sometimes though, it seems daunting to think about packing up the diaper bag, settling the baby in the carseat, and getting to a place "on time,". If that's the case, here are a few postpartum tips to try at home to get you started. Don't worry about how they are "supposed" to look, instead appreciate some time to tune in to your body and notice how they feel.
Tip 1: Stretches feel even better in the shower!
Warm water will help to soften your muscles and the shower may be the only time you have for yourself, so why not enjoy it?!
Pose 1 - Lunge.
Make sure your footing is stable, lift your right foot and place it as high as you can on the wall of the shower. Lean in, bringing the right shoulder as close to the inside of your right knee as you can. Repeat on the other side.
Pose 2 - Down Dog with hands on the shower wall.
Place your hands just about the height of your lowest ribs, feet hip width, and think about sending your tailbone as far from the wall as you can. Gaze right between your big toes, and then slightly lengthen your seat up and back.
Tip 2: The shower isn't the only place to encourage more length. Try countertops!
Standing far enough away that you can rest just your right heel on the top of the counter, lengthen your left leg so it is straight and strong. Slowly fold forward, belly on top of your right thigh, like you are reaching your fingertips for your outstretched foot. (Maybe you grip the foot, or ankle, and take it a smidge deeper. Take 3-5 slow steady breaths, then switch sides.
Tip 3: Balance is key.
Balance is key, both in adjusting to the new postpartum body, and also for reconnecting to those core muscles. Waiting for milk to warm up? Try to hold tree pose for a minute (foot anywhere along your standing leg while avoiding the knee). Waiting in line at the grocery store? Bring your weight onto your toes, and lift your heels, coming into tiptoes. See if you can hold the heels up while you wait!
As with all yoga, the key to each of these postures is, you guessed it, breath. Keeping breath calm and steady will bring fresh, oxygenated blood to your abdomen, bathing your insides, the parts most affected by pregnancy.
Do what you can, when you can, Mamas! You are amazing!