The imperative for higher consciousness can be no greater than when you bring another human being into the world and begin the process of raising children. Ideally, a regular yoga practice serves individuals throughout all of their life processes, and family-oriented yoga programs like prenatal and postnatal yoga, begin and end with a personal practice.
Getting back to a consistent yoga practice postpartum may not seem like an immediate priority, but practicing even for just a few minutes per day can advance recovery, heal your body and be a tool for emotional support. Furthermore, joining small group yoga classes can help foster community while you care for yourself and your baby. Sharing the postpartum recovery with yoga classmates reinforces the strong community bonds and alleviates the isolation, overwhelm, and exhaustion that is pervasive during the first months after giving birth. Relationships forged during this postpartum time allow the benefits of yoga to truly move off the mat into the everyday busy lives of mothers.
Postnatal yoga is typically offered from four weeks after a vaginal birth or six weeks after a Caesarian birth. This yoga practice focuses on common postpartum discomforts and help strengthen the entire body with a specific focus on relaxing the neck and shoulders, building abdominal strength, toning the pelvic floor, and calming the nervous system.
Here are some simple recovery poses that are accessible to practice in the comfort of your own home and help ease you back in to your practice with your little one by your side.
Postnatal Yoga Recovery Poses:
- Tree Pose (Vrksasana): Stand in mountain pose at or near a wall for support. Ground your base foot firmly and begin to elevate the other leg bending at the knee to bring the sole of your foot to the calf or inner thigh of the standing leg. Press the foot into your thigh, or calf firmly and gently draw the bent knee back, working to square the hips and lift the pelvic floor. Hands may remain on the hips, or extend the arms overhead if feeling balanced. Repeat on the second side. This pose improves posture, supports balance and tones the pelvic organs.
Legs elevated (Vipariti Karini): Place folded blankets or a bolster under your buttocks and your calves on a chair or up the wall. Your back, shoulder, neck and head are on the ground with arms laying out from your sides, palms facing up. Tuck your shoulder blades under towards your spine. Rest. This pose is good for optimizing circulation and can help to relieve cramping in the legs and lower back.
- Modified Boat Pose (Navasana): Sit on the floor with your legs extended. Grasp behind the knees, or back of the upper thighs just above the knee crease and lift your chest. With a strong back, lengthen your spine and engage your abdominal muscles and raise your feet a few inches off of the floor. Start to tip back slightly onto your sits bones as you hug your navel back towards your spine. If you would like to add more rigor to this pose, try lifting your shins parallel to the floor and reach your hands out from your sides, working them to straighten towards your feet in time. This pose strengthens the core, and increases healing blood flow to the abdomen and digestive system.
At the heart of Yoga Garden SF’s family-oriented yoga program is the belief that through physical practice, we can improve the health of mothers and expand awareness of new family relationships, community support, and parental responsibilities. Each class is mindfully designed as a wonderful opportunity for moms-to-be and new moms to connect as a supportive community in which to practice, learn, and grow together.
Group classes are based on Hatha Align style, with variations offered for specific needs of prenatal and postnatal stages. Moms are encouraged to bring their babies to Mom & Baby classes. Find the weekly class schedule here.
Marisa Toriggino, internationally recognized E-RYT and YTT instructor, has studied and taught yoga since 1987. With a background of Iyengar, Kundalini, Ananda, Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga styles, Marisa brings this broad experience to her prenatal and postnatal classes, applying a rigorous physical awareness to her teaching that leads to a deeply inward understanding of the spiritual essence of humanity and motherhood. Marisa has a B.A. from UC Berkeley, and a Certificate from the Rudolf Steiner College in Administration for spiritually based organizations. She is a Mother of two beautiful daughters, Owner of Yoga Garden SF and Vistage Member.
Interested to teach prenatal and postnatal yoga? Scroll below for upcoming opportunities to train with Marisa in 2017.
Yoga Garden SF 30 Hour Weekend Postnatal Teacher Training Program
with Marisa Toriggino and Alexandra Rossi
Beginning January 19th – January 21st
Yoga Garden SF 85 Hour, 10 Day Intensive Prenatal Teacher Training Program
with Marisa Toriggino
Beginning March 3rd – March 12th