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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Yoga in the FOURTH trimester - getting back to the mat after baby

Coming back to yoga after giving birth has been a coming home, a returning to myself, and an essential element of maintaining a sense of stability in the past three months of adjustment, integration, and unpredictability with the new baby.  During the pregnancy, I told myself not expect my old practice to return easily.  I gave myself a year to get my practice back and my body back.   Now at the three month mark, I am feeling pretty darn good on both accounts.  I began to move on my mat only 2 1/2 weeks after giving birth.  I wasn't necessarily in a hurry, I just really wanted to feel my body move again, and I needed something that was mine while dealing with the emotional roller coaster of baby delivery and subsequent mommyness.  I wanted to feel that freedom, and it was great!  I took it slowly.  I took a week to build up to sun salutations and added only two postures every practice until I completed primary series, etc.  But looking back, I should have just chilled.  I was definitely not completely healed.  I was still feeling soreness all over, my insides felt like they were in all the wrong places.  I had horendous wrist issues carried over from pregnancy and worsened with new baby lifting / holding duties.  And no matter how hard I tried to connect to the bandhas, they did nothing for me.  Just like they POOF! magically disappeared at some point in the early days of pregnancy, they again POOF!  reappeared for me a couple weeks ago.  Oh, I was immediately able to connect to the physical access point of the bandhas, engage the proper muscles, even if they were weak, but they gave me nothing in return for my efforts.  They gave no umph to my jump throughs, no float to my arm balances until suddenly one day, they did!  Sure maybe all the seemingly productionless effort of the first two months of practice are what woke them up, but I tend to think that they returned when the time was right.  Nancy Gilgoff was recently in Miami for a workshop and she told me that Guruji used to recommend women take three months off from their yoga practice after giving birth and I am seeing now the wisdom of it.  I guess, for the next baby (there will be more) if I feel the urge to move again so soon, it will be a super mellow practice, restorative and yummy, like what I was doing at the end of the pregnancy.  I realize now that there is no hurry.  The postures come back, the strength returns, the body remembers.  I am currently working into my second series practice.  The practice itself is going well, I actually feel very open and strong.  It is managing consistency and re-establishing discipline, simply finding the time!  Without consistency, I lack endurance, but it is coming!  I trust it!  And I know that a rhythm will eventually settle or at least I will become more adept at navigating the unpredictability of my current life and the discipline will come.  I feel positive about my one year intention for my yoga practice (and the other thing too - 10 lbs away!) and as always, I am learning to release expectation and trust the process, trust this practice, trust myself.


  1. I just had a little one a few days ago and really appreciate your wisdom about taking it slowly. As I feel my strength returning, I am reminded to relax and enjoy every mellow moment with the baby. The frenzy and pushing can wait.

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