Guest Blogger Cheryl MacDonald shares Five things you didn’t know about yoga for mum and baby.
15 April 2013,17:22:08 BST
Cheryl MacDonald is one of our Wellicious Fans and the founder teacher of YogaBellies.
YogaBellies offer a range of pre and post natal classes for mums, babies and children across the UK.
YogaBellies main goal is to help women during this very special time in their life.
Cheryl currently teaches: Pre natal yoga, HypnoBirthing, Baby Massage, Mum & Baby Yoga and has been practicing Yoga for fourteen years.
Over the past years she has practiced and taught yoga various different styles such as Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Flow yoga amongst others. She completed her first yoga teacher training programme with the British School of Yoga in 2003 and she is now a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 200) and Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher (RPYT) with Yoga Alliance and went on to complete a further 200 hours Yoga Teacher Training Programme with Chi Yoga School. She was the first teacher in the UK to gain the prestigious accreditation of RPYT.
It is quite naturally that Cheryl wished to share with us the Yoga's benefits for mothers and babies.
Mother and baby yoga is becoming more and more popular in the western world, as postpartum mothers discover the benefits of being able to ‘work out’, bond with their baby and relax, all in one session.
Postnatal yoga is hailed as a route past postnatal depression, helping to improve and stabilise mothers’ mental wellbeing in addition to helping mothers communicate better with their little ones. In addition to these emotional and mental improvements, the mother is able to focus on rebuilding the weakened pelvic floor; strengthen the abdominal muscles and even alleviate back and neck pain.
For babies, yoga can aid digestion and alleviate colic; help to strengthen tiny limbs; improve sleep patterns; and enhance their ability to interact with their mother and other people.
Postnatal, baby yoga and mother and baby yoga classes are now widely available across the UK, although yoga with a baby is no new thing. Baby yoga and massage have been practised for thousands of years in India and even today, yoga and massage with a baby are as important as a daily bath in India.
1. Yoga is the safest way to start rebuilding mum’s abdominal muscles post-partum
Some mothers dive into intense physical exercise regimes in order to regain their pre pregnancy shape and lose their mummy bump, but this is not helpful: the focus should be primarily on gently rebuilding the pelvic floor and lower abdominal muscles. These muscles must be exercised in unison and one cannot be strengthened effectively without focusing on the other also.
Many mothers neglect the rebuilding of the pelvic floor, and return to sit ups and strenuous work out regimes as soon as possible. This results in a weakened pelvic floor, abdominal muscles which have not recovered (mothers who jump into sit ups may end up with a ‘six pack’ and protruding lower abdominals) and very often on-going lower back pain also. By strengthening the pelvic floor and lower abdominals, we help strengthen the lower back and integrity of the spinal cord.
2. Yoga can help you relax and bond with baby
Mother and baby yoga classes encourage mother and baby bonding and communication, and help mothers understand that their baby must now be incorporated into every aspect of their life. Yoga with baby is the most yogic thing you will ever do as you quickly come to realise that it’s not just about you anymore. Often a baby will cry or want to feed during the session and so the mother may not have the session she hoped for. Yoga breathing techniques and relaxation are also taught in class, which help a mother to relax with her baby (yes it is possible) and to embrace this new responsibility.
3. Yoga for baby can help ease common baby ailments and help them self soothe
The purpose of baby yoga is to strengthen the baby’s body, encourage flexibility and teach the principals of relaxation at an early age. Sessions also alternate between stimulating a baby’s brain development, boosting the immune system and helping them to relax. Baby yoga also teaches the baby to self soothe and how to become calm and still with better sleep patterns and concentration (Garabedian 2004.) At the end of a mother and baby yoga session, mothers often find that their baby is happily exhausted, relaxed and fast asleep.
4. Baby yoga postures can the same beneficial babies the same way as asanas for adults
In a baby yoga session, the teacher will show the mother how to manipulate her baby’s body in a very gentle way in order to achieve the desired outcome of the posture. For example, a posture may be practised with the focus on alleviating colic, or another focusing on strengthening the baby’s arms and back so that they may begin to hold themselves up in the correct position for crawling.
5. Post natal yoga can prevent and alleviate post natal depression
The social aspects of postnatal yoga are fantastic for mothers, too. Not only are they able to meet up with others and ‘get out of the house’, it also helps increase their confidence as a mother and helps rebuild their pre pregnancy form. Importantly, postnatal yoga has also been shown to help alleviate and prevent the symptoms of postnatal depression (Read and Rickwood 2010).
Yogic practices such as asana and pranayama are now recognised across the world as effective treatment for depression. A regular yoga practice can reduce the production of stress hormones when a mother is exposed to stressful situations, such as lack of sleep and being overwhelmed by the responsibility of motherhood (Ram 2009). By practising these techniques, the breath steadies and the brain’s automatic impulse to create stress hormones is massively reduced.
Cheryl MacDonald is Director Yoga Teacher and founder of YogaBellies which specializes in yoga for women at every stage of their lives including pregnancy and post partum. Cheryl created the Birth ROCKS natural birth preparation method and has trained over 70 YogaBellies teachers across the world and has been working with birthing women for almost ten years. She is mother of one lovely three year old buy and lives with her husband in the west end of Glasgow. Find out more about YogaBellies [http://www.yogabellies.co.uk/]
By Cheryl MacDonald BA Hons CYT E-RPYT, founder of YogaBellies← Previous Post Next Post →