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How Yoga Helps with Postpartum Depression

HOW DO WE DEAL WITH POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION?

I often am asked about what services are available for the postpartum period. Postpartum depression is real – and manifest in several ways. Be mindful. Be honest. Listen to your body & mind. There are many offerings. Be advised to choose one or a combination that feels right for you.

Ayurvedic Careayurveda for postpartum

This is in my wheelhouse. Traditionally, the first 42 days postpartum are key to connecting, assimilating, bonding AND welcoming this new family member into your lives as a family. There are options for care. DIY or Schedule Time with Me!

  • AyurCare – 7 days consecutive OR build your own
  • Herbal Tea & Encapsulated Powders
  • Medicated Oils & Bundles
  • Belly / Hip Binding with Creative Healing
  • Meal Planning & Exercise
  • Meditation & Yoga

Placenta Encapsulation

I know a few Placenta Encapsulation Specialists. Check out the Community Partners page. You may know someone from Yoga class that has taken advantage of this service before – or knows someone that has. There are benefits – like replacing the hormones to deal with postpartum depression! My best advise for you is to contact someone like Becky Hines.

Postpartum Support Groups

These groups can be a great source of support & information to address all forms of postpartum depression. There are sometimes no better way to find the information and guidance to navigate this delicate period of life. Aside from a trained counselor, there are lactation groups online and meet ups. The Community Partners page list a couple of sources.

yoga with the familyPostpartum Doula Care

Postpartum doulas make life better! Like most of us in big cities, we are there without family. I am a big believer in building communities – grow your family of friends, couples, neighbors, church etc. What does postpartum doula support look like? Well, postpartum doulas support the family as an unwavering shield of protection. She is familiar with seeing the signs of postpartum depression. She may spend the night caring for the newborn and waking mama when needed for feeding. She encourages and supports. She may prepare meals & help care for older siblings. She is your best friend, mom, sister & aunt all rolled up into one amazing person. Ashley Coones is my number one suggestion. You’ll find her contact info on the… Community Partners page.

And YOGA!

A few weeks back, I received an email from a woman named Meera. Meera is a long time yoga teacher / trainer. I’ve read several of her posts over the years in yoga publications. It is always wonderful to hear from other practitioners around the world. Take a look at this article she wrote post her delivery.

Meet Meera Watts ~


How Yoga can Help New Moms Beat Postpartum Depression

It’s ironic that so many women feel alone in their struggle with postpartum depression when an estimated 1 out of 6 women suffer from it. The intense anxiety and depression that happens in PPD can cause a lot of stress for families. Symptoms include: emotional instability, anger, guilt, worrying, thoughts or images that invoke anxiety and the inability to cope. Having a new baby in the house with these kind of concerns compounds all the emotions. This overwhelming, sad feeling after the birth of your child takes time to heal from. You can find local help in your area for PPD but something you can do at home, quickly while your baby naps is yoga. There are yoga poses that support the emotions you’re dealing with through PPD.

A lot of women will put on a brave face while in public, never asking for the help or getting the negative feelings out in the open. It sounds easy to talk to your friends about your problems of course but that would mean admitting that things aren’t okay and you’re not as strong as other mothers. There may be days you don’t get out of your pajamas. You might not take a shower for a few days because you feel like nobody sees you anymore.

The thing is, you have to take care of yourself or you’re not going to be able to take care of anyone else. One of the greatest ways to be a good mom is to first be a good mother to yourself. Offering yourself the yoga philosophies of self-love, compassion, and self-care will go a long way in making you feel better. A bit of yoga takes almost no time at all and there isn’t much you need. So get yourself on the mat daily to help relieve some of the PPD symptoms you’re suffering from.

The resistance you may feel on a daily basis as you try to keep it all together is the denial that you’re feeling the way you do inside. The more you sit in denial, the longer those inner feelings will stay with you. You feel lonely as though nobody understands or cares about your struggles. Until you admit you have a problem to yourself, you won’t ask for the help you might need.

Child’s Pose for Acceptance

Accepting the scary emotions pulsing through you that you don’t understand will help you heal. Child’s Pose is a great pose to help you feel safe while allowing yourself to gain acceptance that you’re sad, uneasy, or really afraid. Getting into Child’s Pose will envelope you with feelings of security while you release some of the negative energy. A lot of times when you’re holding in emotions, Child’s Pose will induce tears which are a release of those emotions.

Angel Wings for Connectedness

PPD can make you feel terribly alone, especially from your partner. You may turn your friends away for awhile which can bring feelings of isolation eventually. This cycle can cause you to fall into a dark hole of depression. By doing a simple yoga pose like Angel Wings at home, you can get rid of negative energy while bringing in the positive earth’s energy. This pose opens your heart and symbolically cleanses the energy within yourself. As you’re going through the Angel Wings Pose, think about what you need to clear out, what isn’t serving you anymore and what you can let go of. This small act can make you feel deeply connected to the universe which includes all the people in it.

To do Angel Wings Pose, you will want to

Start with your palms to prayer

Bring prayer hands up to the sky as you breathe in.

Open your hands out to the sides.

As you exhale, bring your hands all the way down to your sides and bring back to prayer.

Reverse Angel Wings

Angel Wings in reverse symbolically draws positive energy into yourself while you offer compassion, self-love, and outward love to others.

Sweep your hands out to the sides and up to the sky.

Touch palms together over your head.

Draw palms down back to your heart center.

Internal Pose-Fish Pose

This pose is a big heart opener so anything that has been hurting you may arise and then be released. So you may feel emotional in the pose but tears are a great way to release the pain in you. Better outside of you than inside of you.

Here’s how you do Fish Pose;

Lie down with your knees bent and feet flat.

Fold each shoulder underneath you one at a time, tucking in your shoulder blades (this will open your heart)

Press into your feet and lift your hips off the floor.

With palms towards the floor, slide your hands under your bum and wiggle your fingers as close to your ankles as possible. (This will push your shoulder blades further down which will open your heart further.)

Straighten out your legs and imagine someone has tied a string to the center of your chest and they’re gently pulling you upward.

With your chest to the sky and the weight into your arms, bring the top of your head onto the floor.

There should be very little weight on the top of your head and your back will be arched.

Fear

As a new mother, there’s a lot of fear that comes up. Fear you aren’t equipped to take care of your baby or unfounded anxiety that something might happen. There’s a lot of worry that goes along with the first year of being a mom.

Women try to compensate by being perfect to hide what they perceive as weakness or inability to care for their baby. This mask doesn’t allow you to look in your own heart, let alone talk about it with anyone else. Physically those who have new babies may not have the strength to do some of the power poses but Warrior II is a good daily practice.

Empowerment poses like Warrior II and Exalted Warrior not only stretch and strengthen the body but also opens up the hips. Repressed emotions can manifest as a tightness in the hips so it’s good to ease that tension and let go of those emotions.

How to do Warrior II;

Stand with feet together at the front of your mat.

Step your right foot far back behind you.

Lower the right heel to the floor with right toes pointing to right side of the mat.

Make sure your left knee is over your ankle.

Raise your arms up in line with your shoulders, lining them up over your legs.

Point your left index finger out in front of you and make a fist with your right hand and bring it beside your right ear.

Reach both arms away from each other like you’re pulling on a bow with your right hand.

Here are the video instructions for Warrior II

For Exalted Warrior;

Lower your right hand to the back of your right leg and raise your left hand up to the sky.

While doing Warrior II, imagine that with the front hands you’re pointing to what it is you want. As you release your hand to the sky, release those intentions you have made for yourself. Postpartum depression can be severe so consider yoga as an addition to giving you the immediate help you need sometimes. A few minutes a day with poses like these can help ease immediate stress or anxiety that you’re feeling. 

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