Birthlight Philosophy and theory for Postnatal Yoga

Yoga for the Postnatal Period

This course is based on the view that each woman, even a very experienced yoga practitioner, needs
recuperative yoga for the postnatal period. This is to ensure a safe and sound re-toning of the whole body over the first year, avoiding long terms problems of joint instability and hypermobility.
A gentle progression in the first six months after birth leads to a secure transition to general yoga and may even re- sult in a new understandings of the yoga poses.

In Birthlight, Yoga for Pregnancy and Postnatal Yoga are a continuum of practice.
Some practices are inverted: opening for birth with breath, closing after birth with breath. For this reason we call postnatal breathing: Reverse Breathing. After birth there is a continuity of practices of relaxation and self nurture in Birthlight yoga for pregnancy. The focus in postnatal yoga is both the mother’s wellbeing and her interaction with her baby (babies). Birth is not experienced as a rupture of practice.

Each birth, even the gentlest birth, involves some kind of traumatic change that needs to be integrated.

This course is based on the view that each woman, even a very experienced yoga practitioner, needs
recuperative yoga for the postnatal period. This is to ensure a safe and sound re-toning of the whole body over the first year, avoiding long terms problems of joint instability and hypermobility.
A gentle progression in the first six months after birth leads to a secure transition to general yoga and may even re- sult in a new understandings of the yoga poses.

In Birthlight, Yoga for Pregnancy and Postnatal Yoga are a continuum of practice.
Some practices are inverted: opening for birth with breath, closing after birth with breath. For this reason we call postnatal breathing: Reverse Breathing. After birth there is a continuity of practices of relaxation and self nurture in Birthlight yoga for pregnancy. The focus in postnatal yoga is both the mother’s wellbeing and her interaction with her baby (babies). Birth is not experienced as a rupture of practice.

Each birth, even the gentlest birth, involves some kind of traumatic change that needs to be integrated.

Why Yoga for postnatal recovery?

  • It is gentle and the use of the breath has effects on the body-mind
  • Centring and stabilising sre needed at a time of intense transformation
  • A focus on balance
  • Values of nonviolence and acceptance of self and others (birth experience,early challenges new mothers face)

What is special about Birthlight Postnatal Yoga?

  • Birthlight’s micro-movements for the female pelvis are safe for women who have experienced any kind of birth (some cautions are offered for women who have given birth by caesarean section
  • Birthlight practices are designed to be accessible to all women from birth
  • The birthlight approach is based on anatomy and physiology of the postpartum and the first postnatal year
  • The Birthlight approach has been developed through a long experience of working with new mothers from birth and watching outcomes
  • Birthlight postnatal yoga includes the baby, not just verbally but through body-based practices that adapt classic yoga principals and practices.

Relevant Principles of Yoga

Balance

  • Exertion and rest
  • Discipline with flexibility
  • Movement and stillness
  • Adaptation and adjustment
  • Building strength and learning to let go
  • Living in the present yet understanding the past and planning for the future
  • Development of insight with involvement in the everyday world Respect
  • Recognising individual beliefs and needs
  • Belief in the equality of all human beings
  • Learning humility Awareness
  • All humans aspire to happiness. By understanding the reasons for suffering one can release and allow changes to occur
  • We withdraw awareness to protect ourselves. Paths are closed or narrowed in order to feel safe. But the restrictions we place on ourselves can be removed
  • Patterns from the past can be changed
  • A sense of inner peace is found
  • By understanding ourselves and others, we find compassion
  • Compassion melts the heart and creates love
  • We find harmony when all these concepts come together.

Postnatal yoga helps new mothers feel their bodies to be their own again in a new way after pregnancy. A joyful communication can then develop between mother and baby as mutually dependent and yet self-contained. Applying yoga principles in this day by day journey of discovery with new babies can be life-changing. Calm centring also helps new mothers to make the most of the support around them.

The Benefits of Postnatal Yoga

Postnatal yoga uses breathing, movement, balance and relaxation to allow a mother’s body to recover from child- birth to its full potential and to heal and repair if needed.

Postnatal yoga supports and enhances the natural process of postnatal recovery over the first year after childbirth:

  • The need to strengthen the basic structure of the body, to realign the spine and to create balance
  • The sequence of hormonal changes together with their implications for tone and balance
  • The progression from early integration towards full core strength
  • The recovery of homeostasis after birth including differences entailed by breastfeeding or bottlefeeding babies
  • The postnatal pressures on the nervous system
  • The effects of holding and feeding a baby on the upper body
  • The effects of carrying heavy carry cots and baby seats on mothers’ lower backs
  • The need for deep rest and relaxation
  • The possible development of endogenous resources to address anxiety and depression in the postnatal year
  1. Physical Benefits:
    • Complete exercise for the whole body through simple practices and micro-movements
    • Realigns the pelvis, keeps the spine straight and supple, restores joint stability after birth
    • Tones the abdominal muscles in depth for ‘closing the body’ after birth
    • Strengthens the pelvic floor muscles in conjunction with both abdominal muscles and back muscles attached to the thoracic diaphragm, using yoga breathing
    • Restores and expands full breathing after birth
    • Promotes relaxation and ‘calm rest’ from day one
    • Promotes general health, blood flow, movement of fluids and cell growth
    • Support postnatal hormonal balance
    • Moving to gain strength and stamina
    • Relieves stiffness in the shoulders

Emotional Benefits:

  • Continuity of experience before and after birth with yoga
  • Reclaiming one’s body
  • Nurturing oneself: renewal of energy
  • Quietening the mind (relaxation and deep rest)
  • Helps to relieve or prevent postnatal depression
  • Create awareness of the connection of breathing with emotions
  • Bonding between mother and baby
  • Positive feelings and interaction
  • Increases confidence in handling the baby, the baby benefits from secure handling reinforced by the mother’s touch, voice and smell
  • Builds trust and understanding
  • Assists healing after a difficult birth or when suffering postnatal depression