Prenatal yoga is all the range for pregnant women. Personally, I never got totally into because it reminded me of all the yoga I couldn’t do. That said, the benefits of prenatal yoga are widely reported on and it’s an excellent way to keep your body loose and limber. A bigger question is how to navigate yoga in a post-baby world. Your body has understandably and naturally gone through hundreds of changes, which means you should be a bit cautious when resuming your pre-baby yoga routine. Luckily, I’m here to help navigate those post-baby yoga waters. As always, please consult with your doctor before engaging in any postpartum exercise.
The First Class Back
It’s important to go into your first class back with caution and absolutely no expectations. Just because you are no longer carrying an eight-pound bowling ball in front of you, doesn’t mean you will be able to flip up into a headstand right away. Your body has just been through a ton of change, and your ligaments are looser and more susceptible to injury. Your first class back is not the chance to push it to your limits. There will be plenty of time for that once you get your footing and take stock of where your flexibility is currently.
Work Out the Mommy Kinks
I never fully realized how many awkward physical positions you’ll be in once you have a kid. The constant bending, picking up, twisting, reaching – it’s no wonder that my lower back is tight 24/7. Fortunately, yoga offers a reprieve and counters all of the awkward positions by helping me stretch and strengthen the areas I need it most. Don’t underestimate that yoga can offer great strength-training benefits, which is necessary when having to bend over and pick up your 25-pound bundle of joy.
Take a Mental and Physical Health Break
I do yoga for primarily the physical benefits, but every class I’ve done since having a baby has also provided much needed mental break. Often, during runs or other classes, I constantly run through a list of to-dos, which doesn’t give me the mental break I need to recharge. The cliches about yoga are true and you really get a chance to break away from the mental clutter for an 60-90 minutes.
Match Yoga to Your Mood
When you’re seeking a more mental break through yoga practice, a restorative or easy vinyasa class might be the ticket. If you got some stress or aggression to get out, a more challenging power yoga or Bikram class could be the answer to returning to your duties with a fresh and renewed perspective. A win for me is when I enter a class stressed and leave feeling like I just had a massage and excited to return home to the chaos.
Bonus: Brand New Yoga Wear
I know that I never need an excuse to buy some new and fun yoga wear, so I’m guessing you’ll feel the same way. Even though any difference to my post-baby body is (likely) only noticeable to me (well, hopefully), I found myself not totally comfortable wearing my pre-pregnancy yoga clothes. After feeling like I’ve spent every extra cent on baby stuff, it’s nice to treat myself to some new, comfortable gear every once in awhile, which only will enhance my yoga practice (or at least, that’s what I tell myself.
In the End
You ultimately have to find what works best for you and your practice. Take care and ease back in after your pregnancy and try to make time for a recharge and stretch every so often. It will only make you better at home.