I walked into my first Postnatal yoga class at about 8 weeks postpartum. I had already been a 200 RYT for 4 years at that point. But I’m not going to lie, I was scared. I waited until my mother in law came to visit because the thought of leaving my house, alone, with my daughter was daunting. So… I dragged her to yoga with me, gave her a mat, and decided to be present. Don’t get it twisted, even though I was a seasoned instructor being a mother was brand new. It was the best and most terrifying thing that ever happened. I would break out sobbing out of happiness and I would break out sobbing out of exhaustion. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to practice an asana in this new body I was getting to know. Would my postpartum belly get in the way of my twists? Would my legs be able to stand up for long periods after just nursing in a recliner for weeks? Your guess is as good of mine. But I got brave, craving yoga and knowing how much it benefitted my labor, I decided to go! With reinforcements, of course. When I went there I realized a few things. First, everyone was a hot mess. Not just me. I wasn’t the only one wearing sweats, showing up with the deer in the headlights look with spit up on my tank. Second, I was in a safe place. The instructor was inviting and the group all understood what I was going through. I didn’t have to participate in everything and I could just be present and soak up the positive juju from the group. Third, I wasn’t alone. I found my people. I could complain, celebrate or just sit quietly and I was accepted. I had found my tribe. Those first few classes I literally just nursed my daughter the whole time. But even that was totally okay.
Let’s face it, the postnatal period can be an isolating time. And who wants to go out in public after not showering for a few days covered in baby spit up. We find ourselves intentionally making excuses as to why it is too hard to go out, or practice self-care or keep in touch with our friends. Well I have a solution for you! Postnatal Yoga. I know, I know, it is NOT relaxing hearing a baby cry while in down dog. How are you supposed to reach Samadhi when you are changing dirty diapers? But guess what, that is not the point.
As we transition into becoming mothers we are learning more about ourselves. We are learning how to grow and tend our patience like a bush of delicate roses. We are finding out that our self-care looks different now. Before baby a night out with my girls and a good martini was my self-care. I even splurged on spa days. Now after having my child all I want to pee alone, watch an uninterrupted episode of Game of Thrones or have some time in the morning to actually put on makeup. I know I’m asking for a lot… but am I? See this is where postnatal yoga comes in. You are there surrounded by other moms in the trenches with you. They too are having sleepless nights, blow outs and challenges. But they are also experiencing those first laughs, beautiful smiles and the joy of holding their baby in their arms. This is your tribe. The ones who can celebrate together and listen when someone is having a bad day.
The asana you’ll learn in Postnatal Yoga will help you with common discomforts such as lower back aches, neck pain and shoulder tension. You’ll learn tips and tricks for parenting and ways to tap into the power of your breath through pranayama in moments of frustration. But most importantly it will be a place your tribe is holding space for you. Find your tribe. The tribe that will embrace your stinky self after not showering for two days, coming in with a spit up stained tank and have your baby crying. If they aren’t at that place today either they have been or they will be. Build your kula in Postnatal Yoga. Then next time you walk into Postnatal Yoga and you see that mom with the deer in the headlights look, that forgot wipes and feels like she is being a burden because her baby won’t settle; hold her baby while she visits the bathroom alone and invite her out for coffee or a smoothie. Because she needs that, just like you did. Show her how to build her tribe or let her join yours.