I love it. It’s like a breath of fresh air for me.
When I practice my days flow better. My mind is clearer and I make better choices. Situations that would normally aggravate me just roll off my back. I’m more patient, more kind and more loving towards others.
This I believe is directly related to what I am giving to myself during my practice — patience, kindness, grace and love. Because we can’t give what we don’t possess ourselves ?
My yoga practice has saved my life — literally and figuratively — I don’t know what I would have done during my postpartum depression if I had not had this practice.
Today’s episode is all about yes you guessed it — the benefits of yoga for postpartum wellness. But you don’t have to be a mom to receive what I am gifting to you in this episode.
I believe a committed consistent yoga practice can benefit all human beings — it’s just that powerful.
My Yoga Story
In my twenties, I had a wake up call about my unhealthy and promiscuous lifestyle. I was diagnosed with borderline cancerous condition that would most likely turn cancerous without intervention– you hear precancerous you think cancer. My options were surgery or wait and see if it reversed itself.
Well, I’m a rebel in a sense, and even though I went to medical school, I believe in the inherent wisdom of our bodies to heal IF we give it what it needs. Surgery was too invasive in my book so I chose wait and see.
I read everything I could about my condition and how I needed to nurture my body through proper diet, rest, and positive recreation (notice I didn’t say exercise).
My reading led me to a little gem of a book called 8 Weeks to Optimum Health by Dr. Andrew Weil, an integrative medicine physician. It’s actually not that little. But it is a true gem. This book became my health coach — well in a sense Dr. Weill became my health coach.
Making Changes Requires Making Changes
The timing of my diagnosis was divine I am sure — I was heading to Texas for a 6-week preceptorship at Texas Children Hospital in Houston.
This meant I would be far away from my family and this would make changing my lifestyle a lot easier. Being home I wouldn’t be able to resist mom’s bbq chicken that falls off the bone, her extra decadent rice pudding, and my sister’s potato salad or baked mac & cheese.
I learned about the importance of eating greens daily, the difference between omega 6s and 3s and the importance of the ratio, and how inflammation is the number one culprit in helping disease proliferate in the body.
But most importantly I learned that with strategy and accountability through working with a health coach people can change if they want and set themselves up for success one small step at a time.
And it is through this book I learned about yoga. Actually I learned about the importance of breath which led me to yoga.
Yoga is a Mind, Body, Spirit & Sex Thing.
Three months later when I returned for a follow up appointment the precancerous lesion I had developed was gone and I am happy to say it has NEVER returned.
I owe it to my yoga lifestyle and faith. I trusted my inner wisdom and have developed a health consciousness and connection with my body that allows me to instantly sense imbalances and self-correct. This experience has also improved my overall mental health.
So why do I think that yoga is the best thing for the new mother …
Before I answer that question I must say this : Do not just jump into a yoga practice without having your postpartum checkup or until you and new baby have established a rhythm. It can do you more harm than good especially if you have never practiced or you have other physical issues or limitations. You also want to practice with someone who is trained in perinatal yoga and women’s health and preferably in person so that they can adjust you and help you with proper alignment.
You can read all over the internet about the benefits of yoga and I will not belabor them on this show but I will list what I deem the most valuable benefits:
- As you practice consistently, you’ll find that your energy and stamina also improve. And with young ones it is really about abundant energy and stamina.
- Yoga is a total body workout — you will build strength, increase flexibility, lose weight, and improve spatial ability even by practicing just 5-10 minutes a day. You just need your body and mat.
- Yoga is that age gracefully pill that you have been looking for. People don’t believe I am the age I am and I know it is because of my yoga lifestyle and mindset.
- Let’s talk about sex baby! Imagine how improved flexibility, energy, stamina and strength will help improve your romantic relationships. There is nothing like sex with a yoga practicioner — I’m just saying.
- Yoga helps to balance your hormones by boosting the happy chemicals in your new mommy brain and therefore improving your overall mood!
- You tune in to your body through deep breathing and regular movement helping you connect to your intuition.
- You know those days when you want to snap at everyone and everything — you’ll learn to go to your mat and find the real source of your frustration — the mat becomes your safe and sacred space.
- Connecting with your breath helps you manage anxiety and stress which is important during postpartum. Black women have higher rates of postpartum depression and anxiety than any other group — I talk about this in an earlier episode called the Black Side of Postpartum. .
- Practicing yoga makes you want to do better in all areas of your life — you just feel more generous to others and are motivated to put good things into your body and life. You become woke.
- Yoga is a way to lessen new mom guilt! There is no competition in a true yoga practice. You monitor your own growth and build self confidence and self love when you practice consistently.
- Developing a yoga practice helps you save money. Once you are comfortable with your practice you can do it anywhere and anytime. Imagine saving or investing that $50 a month you spend on a gym membership that you don’t use after the first month. Just the convenience of setting the when, where, and how of your recreation is invaluable. For example, there are days when I don’t get up before my baby girl to practice so I do a short practice while she is eating breakfast.
- When you take care of yourself you need to seek medical treatment less decreasing your overall health costs year after year.
So there you have it — my take on some of the most valuable benefits of a yoga practice for postpartum and life-long wellness. You might be asking yourself where do I start? Well I am developing a one-on-one package where we can co-create a path to your lifelong wellness track. If you go to ThriveAfterPostpartum.com and sign up for my email list you’ll be the first to know when the waitlist is open!
Until next time … continue to Thrive Queen and Shine Brighter.