Benefits of Yoga For Mums
There’s no doubt that becoming a mum is a wonderful and beautiful thing, but as with most things in life, where there’s an ‘up’ there’s very often a ‘down’ that comes with it and being a mum often brings extremes of both of those!
It’s very easy and probably an innate instinct to always put your child’s needs before your own, however, this shouldn’t mean that you neglect your mental and physical wellbeing. In fact, babies and children learn predominantly by example rather than by what they’re told, so why not teach your child to respect and love themselves? You deserve it and so do they!
Women are strong for a reason, we have to endure the strain on our bodies during pregnancy and labour and often, that’s the easy part! Then there’s the sleepless nights, stinky nappies, fussy eating, tantrums (which I’ve noticed often has a knock on effect on all the family with mini-meltdowns going on all over the place!), settling into school, teenage hormones…the list goes on and on and on! One of my mums catchphrases is ‘little kids, little problems’ which I laughed at when my two boys were toddlers, but I totally get where she was coming from now!
So how can mums tolerate all of that as well as the weird surge of mood changing hormones and still stay strong and happy and set the best example for their children to do the same? That’s easy, YOGA!
The benefits of yoga has been recognised for thousands of years and there’s a long, long list of these proven physical and mental health benefits. Some of which you can read about in one of the articles on the Yoga Rocks website. https://www.yoga-rocks.co.uk/benefits-of-yoga/ .
As much as many mums feel blessed to have been able to carry their baby for 9 months and enjoy the feeling of their baby growing inside of them, they generally don’t feel so blessed to be left with a lower belly paunch, which always seems the hardest to shift. Holding yourself in the correct posture will instantly improve the look of this and the regular practice of strengthening your core muscles will tighten and improve it no end! The physical benefits of yoga are pretty obvious when you consider the fact that you have to use every major muscle group, together with your stabilising smaller muscles and connective tissues, to stabilise you into most postures. You’ll also often be guided into and encouraged to take full diaphragmatic breaths and given cues and adjustments to hold yourself correctly. Therefore, strengthening your core, improving your posture and resetting your motor engrams, so that holding yourself in perfect posture will eventually become natural to you.
The weight of a baby belly pulling you forward during pregnancy will often worsen these postural imbalances, causing amongst many other things, uneven wearing of the joints and often chronic back pain, knee, shoulder and hip pain. Mums have the added challenge of having the hormone relaxin in the blood circulation, which is produced during pregnancy and menstruation. This hormone causes our ligaments to become more relaxed, which is essential during childbirth, but not great for holding yourself in the correct postures, as these relaxed ligaments will further de-stabilise our joints, making the need to strengthen all of the supporting connective tissues even more important for women. When relaxin is present in the blood stream, the emphasis in your yoga practice should be to engage and strengthen the muscles and connective tissues in order to protect the joints and lessen the risk of chronic pain and arthritis. Women should also be mindful not to overstretch when relaxin is present in their blood streams as this will lengthen the ligaments and further destabilise our joints. Saying that, it’s still important to gently stretch in order to release tension in the body but it’s definitely not the time to attempt the splits! .
The different breathing techniques practiced in yoga are generally designed to energise, relax or release tension and learning these will also help combat the fact that the majority of us only use the top part of our chest to shallow breathe. Shallow breathing causes our bodies to remain in a cyclical state of stress. The over use of the upper chest muscles causes our shoulders to round forward even further so even when we’re not feeling stressed, the fact that we’re holding ourselves in a position our bodies connects with being stressed, will release all of the same stress hormones and have the same detrimental effect on our mental and physical health and our posture. https://www.headspace.com/blog/2017/08/15/shallow-breathing-whole-body/
Shallow breathing is a habit that unfortunately the majority of adults have developed from a young age and the natural anxieties driven by the massive responsibility being a mum brings, will often accentuate this habit.
So the physical benefits of a regular yoga practice have been accepted and well documented for years, however, in the past the benefits preached by yogis to our mental health were often thought of as a bit hippy dippy and airy fairy, until the popularity spread and spread. Because of this, in more recent decades, scientists stood up and took notice and starting looking for the hard proof they always seem to crave. And guess what? They got their proof, over and over, which is why it’s now common practice for medical practitioners to recommend yoga to their patients for a wide range of mental health issues, including pre and post natal depression. We couldn’t be happier that we’ve now got the scientists on board and that they now back up what yogis have been telling people for years, in that yoga keeps you smiling and mentally strong too! The following article on our Yoga Rocks website provides some fascinating scientific research results. https://www.yoga-rocks.co.uk/the-science-behind-what-makes-a-yogi-smile/
At Yoga Rocks, we’ve scheduled our morning classes to make it possible to drop your little ones off at nursery or school and still make it here for the 9.30am class. Yoga Rocks is a hot yoga and Pilates studio at 481a-b Green Lanes Palmers Green N13 4BS (opposite Vadi Restaurant). We’ve designed our classes so that they’re suitable for all levels, our teachers will give options for every advanced posture so that you are always working in a way that is suitable for your body. You can find our timetable and book online here https://www.yoga-rocks.co.uk/schedule/
If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment to take a look at our new studio, please contact us at hello@yoga-Rocks.co.uk or call us on 0208 050 3481.