Tools for Teaching Postnatal Yoga
Baby the Mother
Some points to consider when teaching a postnatal student:
Encourage patience. It took nine months and one birth to get to this place, so a new mother should give herself another nine months to get back to "normal." If she tries to rush the healing process, she could actually prolong it by aggravating any strained muscles, tears, or incisions. Encourage her to listen to what her body is ready to do. Focus on the center. A postpartum student's torso is the area that needs the most attention. Help her work on her abdominals and lower back by starting with gentle stretches and gradually moving into strength-building poses. Offer lots of chest and shoulder openers to ease soreness in the upper body.
Turn the focus on her. The early months of a baby's life are its most helpless. Your student will be spending so much time caring for and worrying about this little person that she will neglect her own health and needs. Encourage her to relax and focus on herself while practicing, so she will be refreshed and ready to parent again after class.
Harris says, "My practice has changed, because I incorporate more of a yogic attitude in my life and in my parenting. My asana practice doesn't get as much attention, but I feel like I have a full experience.
"I think that, as a parent, I have needed to make choices about how I spend my time, and it makes me much more aware of how important the things I choose to do are to me. Yoga has taken a step up in my mind, because it's one of the things that I am willing to make a priority."
Brenda K. Plakans, mother of three-year-old Eamonn and six-month-old Alec, lives and teaches yoga in Beloit, Wisconsin. She also maintains the blog Grounding Thru the Sit Bones.