Yoga for toddlers
And the time of bearing a child, a woman’s body changes. Childbirth is a serious test for the entire maternal body. However, both pregnancy and the postpartum period are by no means a contraindication to continuing the practice of hatha yoga. Asanas and pranayama, adapted for preparation for conception, practice during pregnancy and the postpartum period, constitute a separate type of yoga – perinatal yoga.
Postnatal practice helps a woman to regain strength after childbirth, to maintain herself at a high-quality physical and energy level, which is undoubtedly important for the baby and herself. Since postnatal practice is special and recommended for a specific period of time, it has a number of important features.
Objectives of postnatal yoga practice:
- restoration of the pelvic floor muscles;
- restoration of tissues of the abdominal cavity and lower abdomen (remove the abdomen);
- strengthening and stretching the muscles of the lower back (since we constantly carry the baby in our arms);
- strengthening the muscles of the arms and legs (in order to transfer the load on them from the weight of the baby from the lower back);
- improving lactation (working out the muscles of the thoracic region for better milk separation, increasing and maintaining the level of oxytocin by working with energy in the body);
- emotional comfort (also provided by oxytocin);
- social adaptation (meeting and communicating with other young mothers and their babies).
Principles of yoga practice after childbirth:
- If during pregnancy we focused on exercises with opening the pelvis and energetically increasing the space around us, then after childbirth we perform many closing elements… It is as if we are gradually beginning to reduce and close this large energy space in the uterus (svadhisthana chakra), since now the baby no longer needs it for life. We try to make up our own complex of exercises such as closed twists, bends with legs brought together from standing and sitting positions. We try for some time to replace the meditative asanas of the Padmasana direction (that is, those where the pelvis opens and the hips and knees are opened) with the Virasana asanas (or Vajrasana, where the pelvis is aligned by bringing the hips and knees together). Variations of the exercises with crossed hips (gomukhasana, garudasana) are also good.
- We try not to linger in standing balance positions, as they give an asymmetric load on the pelvic bones weakened after childbirth (pubic symphysis, ischial bones, sacrum) and can provoke a curvature of the pelvis and displacement of internal organs.
- The categorical prohibition to download the press. It must be accepted that the minimum recovery period after childbirth is one year. Loading on weakened, loose rectus abdominis muscles can lead to diastasis (divergence of the rectus abdominis muscle tissue).
- We restore the shape of the abdomen not by swinging the press, but with the help of:
• lateral twists (training the oblique abdominal muscles);
• chest deflections (without the participation of the lower back (!), All asanas with deep lumbar deflections are excluded) and posture development (helps to stretch the longitudinal abdominal muscles and restore their elasticity);
• press with hands on the floor or wall on the exhale (train the deep abdominal muscles);
• long exhalations (train deep abdominal muscles);
- We work with the muscles of the pelvic floor and perineum. BUT, firstly, not earlier than the end of postpartum discharge (usually 30-40 days). Second, we first align the pelvis in order to bring all the organs into the correct position.
- During pregnancy, the dominant practice in our practice was the pelvis. We tried to provide good lymphatic drainage and blood supply to the uterus. We now turn our attention to the chest and shoulder area for quality lactation.
- Restoration on the subtle plane in the abdomen. We remove energy voids from the place where the baby recently lived. We transfer the center of communication with the baby from the uterus to the chest.
- Rest mode. Physical recovery after childbirth is ensured by sufficient sleep (which undoubtedly helps the joint sleep of mother and baby), lack of overeating (we talked about this in Chapter 16), adapted physical activity (a light version of hatha yoga practice, as in pregnancy) … Internally, you must accept the fact that the axis of your life has radically shifted. You will no longer have enough time for the usual things, so it is important to single out the really significant ones among them – self-development and bringing benefits to others. Postpartum recovery is a period when the intensity of your practice will be limited by objective reasons, but this is only a temporary phenomenon. Gradually, you will be able to return to the usual rhythm of classes, so now there is no need to force events. Allow your body to gently recover.
- As in pregnancy, it is important to practice soothing pranayamas: full yoga breathing, ujayi, nadi shodhana, brahmari, apanasati hinayana.
- We also continue to practice various forms of meditation and concentration that we practiced during pregnancy: mantropenia, trataka, concentration on the image, etc.
- An important principle of postnatal practice is to make all efforts (presses, twists, work with intimate muscles, etc.) on a long exhalation. During pregnancy, we made every effort to inhale in order not to overstrain the stomach. Now we are trying to give the muscles a load to more effectively restore their elasticity.
- The first thing to practice right after giving birth is lying on your stomach. This position contributes to the contraction of the walls of the uterus and a better discharge of postpartum discharge. Psychologically and energetically, this position contributes to the emotional comfort of a woman by closing the thin space around the abdomen.
- It is allowed to start regular postnatal practice after the cessation of postpartum discharge.
How not to abandon yoga practice after childbirth?
Of course, with the advent of the baby, the opportunity to devote 1.5 hours to his own practice will become a rarity. In order not to allow laziness to prevail and not constantly postpone practice until later, you need to practice every day for 15–20 minutes. As your baby gets older, you can increase this time. Allocating 15 minutes a day for a young mom seems like a much more real task than trying to exercise for as long as before. By practicing regularly in this way, you will exert significantly more effort on yourself than in one long practice once a month.
The best solution is to break your practice into small sets that you can do throughout the day. For example, perform a block of asanas while standing for 7-10 minutes. After some time, perform a block of asanas while sitting. Of course, if you are breastfeeding your baby while lying down, this is a great opportunity to do exercises to strengthen the muscles of the hips (first on one side, then, during the next feeding, on the other). You can do exercise sequences with an emphasis on different muscle groups over several days. So gradually you will work out the whole body, removing the load from it and overcoming enslavement.
Yoga for toddlers
If possible, allow your toddler to join your practice. Classes with a child, firstly, are an excellent alternative to therapeutic massage and allow the baby to quickly get to know and make friends with his body, and secondly, they give a certain useful load to the mother’s body.
Françoise Friedman, a well-known specialist in women’s yoga and baby yoga in the West, and the founder of the Birthlight school, mentions many positive effects of yoga in stimulating baby’s sensory skills. However, Ms. Friedman believes that the main goal of such classes is to maximize the child’s positive feelings from increased contact with parents. She writes: “The first sensory stimulation that a child receives from yoga is a slightly more intense but nonetheless normal interaction with the parents … When you practice yoga with your child, you will notice that he is looking at you when look at him. He will also answer you if you talk to him or sing songs to him. Your baby will be able to distinguish your scent more clearly when you are on the move. The child is sensitive to touch, to the fact how you hold it. He will quickly remember you by the way you treat him.
In addition to the tactile effect, the baby’s vision is also intensively stimulated. During the movements, the parent’s face either approaches or moves away, which teaches the child to frequently and quickly change the focus of vision, being in different positions … complement each other…
The more parents are consciously involved in the yoga process with their children, the greater the return from their babies. It is very important that all stimulation of the sense organs during such activities takes place in the arms of the parents, in a warm, loving atmosphere. “
“After giving birth, I started doing yoga after about 9 months. From the age of 2, the child began to show interest in my yoga classes. Now we are learning the Sun Salutation cycle together, the baby really likes to greet the sun. Of course, the kid is also interested in the poses associated with animals – “Cobra”, “Dog”, “Lion”, etc. ” …