I recently launched a Postnatal Yoga class or Mother & Baby Yoga classes in Boston Spa, and wanted to share my experience. Let me explain - I have labeled it Mother & Baby Yoga, however in practice this is a Postnatal Yoga class where you can bring your baby and we interact and soothe baby so that Mums can squeeze as much yoga in as possible!
I will admit to feeling a bit of trepidation before the first class- Boston Spa Village Hall was a new location for me, would the space be clean enough and warm enough? Would the babies be settled enough to let their mums actually do some yoga? I knew the babies would be both old enough (mothers should wait until ideally 6 weeks after birth to begin a new practice), and young enough (once babies are on the move, it becomes less relaxing for all involved).
But... for the first class, the sun was shining, the Lantern Room was perfect - carpeted, with plenty of space for prams and car seats, a beautiful lantern skylight above us (babies were gazing up at the blue sky and clouds drifting across) and a toilet and kitchen attached.
The babies were AMAZING. They were super chilled, their mums fed them when they needed to, rocked them or changed nappies in the same room, no need to disappear to a cold toilet, and the whole session was very relaxed and friendly.
So what are the benefits of Postnatal Yoga?
This class is all about you, your health, fitness, mental health and bonding with your new baby. After birthing a child, your body has a great deal of healing to do. It is crucial to listen to your body, and to address its needs. Yoga can help with this healing process, helping to improve your movement, muscle function, flexibility and encourage a calm state of mind.
Chilled out environment
The yoga classes, whether at Boston Spa or at the East Keswick Yoga Studio are relaxed and informal. I understand the challenges new mothers face. The classes run for 1hour 30 mins, and this allows for time to arrive, feed and/or change the baby before class, and catch up with the other mums. Mothers at my postnatal Mother & Baby Yoga classes know they can stop to feed, rock, change or cuddle their babies at any time, and will join in with as much of the yoga as baby allows!
Meet other new mothers
Postnatal yoga is the perfect way to meet other mothers, make friends and swap tips and information. From 6 weeks after birth to crawling stage, you can guarantee that your babies will be of similar ages; you and your baby may end up meeting lifelong friends at yoga!
Pelvic floor strength
We work gently to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles throughout the class (constant reminders ladies to engage the pelvic floor and activate Mula Bandha) as well as specific pelvic floor exercises. This is important through pregnancy, after birth and throughout life to avoid prolapses.
Ease lower back, neck and shoulder tension
Motherhood is physically hard work - you're lifting, bending, squatting, carrying, swaying, extending and potentially loading your lower back due to doing all of these things on limited sleep and multiple times per day. Certain yoga postures can help relieve pain in the lower back, neck and shoulders. Learning these tools to use at home between classes can greatly improve your muscle function and movement.
I can't promise I can get your baby to sleep through the night, but regular yoga practice has been shown to improve the quality of sleep for the yogi. This means that hopefully when you do sleep, you may find that you sleep like...well, a baby! Perhaps that's not a great turn of phrase...
Encourage abdominal muscles back together (diastasis recti)
If you have experienced some separation of the abdominal muscles, and if this gap is more than 2.7cm across then you may have what is known as diastasis recti. Please don't worry, through these gentle core strengthening exercises, yoga can help encourage these muscles to move back together
If there is a time when a woman needs relaxation, pregnancy and after birth are key times. I incorporate Savasana at the end of class - knowing that if this means you lie on the mat on your side with eyes open, cooing to your baby, it could be traditional lying on your back, or honestly whatever works for you
During class we will work on all muscle groups, strengthening core areas with both gentle and more intense sequences. Whilst it's not 'Power Yoga' we work some key standing and seated yoga postures into the sessions, balances, and pranayama (breathing exercises) to help stay calm, focused and relaxed.
Bonding with your baby
Finally, postnatal yoga classes are a chance to bond with your baby through connecting with the breath, some songs, movement and positive intention. The classes are really something for your benefit, with benefits for baby too. Om and bumbling bee breath are optional!
A new block of Mother and Baby Postnatal Yoga classes will begin on Thursday January 9th at 10:30am. Details can be found on the booking page by clicking here.
Or contact Jerri on 07902 908844