“Most people are diagnosed with Post Partum Depression (PPD) shortly after childbirth, but mine was onset seven months later when a colicky baby and lack of sleep caught up to me all at once.”
On a recent trip to New York, I reconnected with an old college friend. As mother to a one-year-old with another on the way, Tiere opened up about her difficulty adjusting to life post-pregnancy. What helped her out of it? Yoga!
Tiere realized that bringing herself onto her mat and practicing yoga regularly was the main factor that helped her combat PPD. Yoga helped her sleep better, calmed her nerves and relaxed her body, which helped soothe the many sleepless nights.
“Yoga has helped me stay grounded and has enabled me to have an hour of me time to slow down, focus on my breath and lose myself in the moving meditation of Vinyasa.”
For many moms who struggle with identity change, a shift in life and priorities and relationships post-baby, yoga creates a sanctuary and empowers women to return to who they were pre-baby. Without yoga, Tiere’s thoughts and emotions were haphazardly scattered, which makes her practice a necessity to her life. Her regular practice helped her listen to her body through rejuvenation and relaxation without self-judgment, with compassion and with ahimsa (refraining from causing pain).
While yoga has greatly helped her take control of her life, Tiere wanted to give back and help others moms in her shoes.
While in her mommy and me class, she realized that no one spoke about PPD and the difficulties of transitioning into motherhood. So, once a week she has opened up her home to neighborhood mothers to meet for an hour to discuss different topics pertinent to motherhood, from how to balance motherhood to letting go of the stigma of a “mother’s role.”
The comfortable and inviting environment Tiere has created has drawn in close to 70 people and she only hopes that number will continue to grow and flourish over time.
What makes the group so successful? Moms bring their babies and sit to discuss different topics in a cathartic way that doesn’t feel like therapy. No one is there to fix or prescribe strategies; it is simply a group of moms that want to be heard and validated by other moms.
Here are four poses coupled with pictures that can be done daily by moms for 10 minutes a day to help with PPD:
Downward Dog: This pose is very energizing and stretches the spine, the legs and helps release stress and mild baby blues.
1. Start in tabletop pose. Knees hip distance and wrists stacked over shoulders.
2. Press firmly into all ten fingers, untuck your toes and send your hips towards the ceiling.
3. Keep your back, shoulders and head aligned as you extend your hips back.
Forward fold with shoulder expansion: Helps feel grounded and strengthens the legs while stretching the lower back and hamstrings. Shoulder expansion opens up the chest and upper back, which tend to get tight and sore during breastfeeding.
1. Stand tall feet hip distance apart and ground down through four corners of feet.
2. Interlace your fingers behind your back and press your palms together.
3. Forward fold and draw your palms away from your lower back.
4. Keep your weight shifted into your toes.
Cobra Pose: Opens the upper back and chest, strengthens the lower back and inner thighs and the pelvic floor. It helps relieve stress and fatigue.
1. Lie on your stomach, your toes pointed on the floor and your palms flat at shoulder width.
2. Press into your palms and straighten your arms by lifting your chest up.
3. Press into the tops of your toes so your thighs are engaged off the mat.
Triangle Pose: Helps align the pelvic floor and regain leg strength. Stretches and lengthens the side body.
1. Stand with your feet wide apart and turn your right foot outward.
2. Front heel is aligned with your back arch of your foot.
3. Reach both arms shoulder height distance.
4. Hinge forward and place one hand on your shin and extend other hand straight up to the ceiling.
5. Repeat on other side.
Author: Rony Ghoraishy
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photos: Author’s Own, Jade Alexandra Allen/Flickr