By Lara Kohn Thompson
Re-Inhabiting your body postpartum is a process requiring patience and mindfulness. It is a period of transition, a molting of sorts, when a mother is experiencing her most fragile and often most exhausted self.
Here are a couple of practices you can do at home in the early days, weeks or months postpartum, while caring for your babe.
For more personalized recommendations, join us for Postnatal Yoga Therapeutics every Wednesday at 2:15p. Come with your questions and concerns.
5 minute hamstring and calf stretch
- This can be done leaning over a counter top, table or against the wall.
- Lean over with forearms resting on a countertop or high surface. Think of the shape your body makes in a downward facing dog. Make sure your spine is lengthened.
- Step one foot forward about an inch from the wall or aligned below your torso (think of the shape you make in a lunge) bend the front knee, feel the stretch in your calf.
Abs and pelvic floor
- Side lying (possible while nursing...)
- Extend the lower leg, foot can be flexed. Bend the top knee so it comes to a 90 degree angle (you can rest the knee and foot on a pillow or bolster).
- Extend the top arm above your head at a wall or head of bed.
- As you exhale, gently engage/contract the pelvic floor, as you press the top hand against the wall above your head.
- Feel a sense of length in your spine and the feeling of gathering “in and up”.
Silk cloth visual, a gentle practice for the pelvic floor
- Start by finding a comfortable pose to practice in. You can sit with one or two blocks between your heels or come to a cross legged seat if that is easeful. (if so, just make sure to switch legs 1/2 way through), propping yourself up if your hips or lower back feel tight. If the glutes are too involved, or if there is too much pressure on the pelvic floor, you can come to a supported child’s pose. Take a few deep breaths to create a quiet space for both body and mind.
- Visualize a diamond at the base of the pelvis. The front of the diamond being the pubic symphysis, the sides, the ischial tuberosities (sitz bones) and the back, the tailbone. Whichever position you have chosen, make sure you are in an easeful posture with an elongated spine, and an easeful breath.
- As you exhale, gently draw/gather the four points of the diamond towards each other. As you inhale, release the four points away.
- Visualize a diamond shaped piece of cloth such as silk, attached to the four points of the diamond. As you know, silk wrinkles as soon as you move it. Start by visualizing that silk as smooth, with no wrinkles. As you exhale, gather the cloth towards the center of the diamond, making wrinkles. Gradually moving towards gathering the silk into a little ball at the center of the diamond. As you inhale, smooth it back out (slowly) so it is wrinkle-free. Try to not push or let the pelvic floor “bulge out” as you do so, rather really visualize smoothing the cloth back out towards the four points.
- Add another step: Once you have gathered the little ball of cloth towards the center of your diamond, imagine raising the little ball up towards the cervix. Then release the ball back down, if possible slowly, and then smooth the cloth out again. The sensation is like an internal hug.
- Make sure to take time during practice to take a few breaths “ for nothing” to just relax and release any tension.
Along with teaching Yoga, Lara Kohn Thompson has a private practice as both a massage therapist and movement educator. She offers women individualized perinatal physical care and training.