Many of you ask me about starting yoga as you plan for pregnancy, during pregnancy or post partum. Two of my yoga friends, who are both moms and yoga educators, have written a beautiful book to support and inspire motherhood. Yoga Sadhana for Mothers also shares personal stories from more than 20 yoga moms on their experiences with photographs, words from Pattabhi Jois’s daughter Saraswati, and many supports including postpartum guides, pelvic healing exercises and nutrition. This lovely book supports a mothers’ peace of mind and joy and assures women that being a mom is not separate from a yoga practice but truly it’s own Yoga Sadhana.
I was happy to celebrate with Anna and Sharmila at a recent launch and have some of your questions answered.
Kiki – A lot of professional women want to become pregnant but have little time to add something new like daily yoga- where can they start? What supports can they easily add?
Anna & Sharmila – They can take some time each day to sit quietly and focus on their breathing – its simple and can be done anywhere, even if its just for a few minutes before they start their working day, at lunchtime or at the end of the day. Spending time in nature awakens the senses, slows time down and facilitates the connection to the earth all of which helps fertility. Women can begin to shift to a healthy diet, ensuring they are getting a good balance of vitamins and minerals.
Kiki – After childbirth, generally, what’s a safe yoga program to gently regain strength stamina and best support post delivery concerns?
Anna & Sharmila – Women really need to give themselves time and space to get use to the demands of motherhood – taking time to let all the new lessons sink in is really important. Life with a small baby can be a huge adjustment and mothers shouldn’t put themselves under pressure to “get back in shape”. Giving the body time for all the organs to readjust to their original size and position is essential – this important process requires giving the body proper rest and eating a healthy diet. There are other practices which support postpartum healing that can be followed and should be researched before giving birth to see if they resonate and are practical. These rituals include, sitz baths, staying warm, using tinctures and herbs, pelvic wrapping and oil massage. Eating well and taking lots of rest whenever the chance arises supports postnatal recovery too. A woman can begin by doing very gentle pelvic floor exercises using the breath such as the Birthlight ones outlined in our book. After that she can begin to build up her yoga practice slowly, one posture at a time until she feels stronger and has more energy. It’s easy to get injured when we’re tired and most new moms are not getting a good night’s sleep!
And here’s one of their great post-partum Ayurvedic recipes for new moms.
Milk with Turmeric and Ghee
8 ounces organic milk
1 T jaggery (unprocessed sugar)
1 T organic ghee
1 t organic turmeric
1 t ground cardamom seeds
Warm the milk and jaggery in a pan, when the jaggery dissolves, add the other ingredients. Drink warm before bedtime.