After having my son 2 years ago, I can say in full honesty that at times I felt like a stranger in own body. Fifteen years of yoga and years of competitive athletics had produced strength and flexibility, but the capacity for my mind to adapt and train my body back into shape was such a challenge. My lack of mental connection to my pelvic floor and abdominal wall made me unaware that my organs were literally out of alignment and my pelvic floor had suffered nerve damage. As a yoga teacher this baffled me. How did I not attune to this?!?!?! I could’t connect to my own physical form and needed an outsider, in this case a pelvic floor physiotherapists to tell me I needed rehabilitation.
My rehabilitation took me on a journey from regular physiotherapy appointments, to visiting an osteopath (highly recommend that!), to seeing a naturopath, and finally to what I believe has been the most beneficial – Pilates. It has taken me 2 years and I can finally say I am starting to recognize myself again.
I became so enthused about how my postpartum body was responding to the Pilates mat exercises that I became a mat certified pilates teacher in order to share the practice with other moms who were experiencing similar postpartum issues. These issues are so common, yet rarely talked about. I find that when we come together to practice, we find commonality in our birth and postpartum journeys, which ultimately leads to connection and a community of support. This community of support is empowering, motivational, and quite simply a good time!
3 Favorite Poses for Postpartum Healing:
Here are my three favourite exercises for postpartum healing;
Step 1: Lie on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the ground about hip distance apart. Place a block between your thighs (not knees). You should be able to touch your heels with your finger tips. Spine is in neutral.
Step 2: Inhale to prepare and exhale to peel your tailbone followed by the vertebra one at a time off your mat until you reach the top of the shoulder blades.
Step 3: inhale to hold the bridge
Step 4: exhale to continue to hold and think of knitting your ribs together as you engage the glutes and try to lengthen the front of your hips.
Step 5: inhale to slowly lower vertebra by vertebra back onto the mat.
Repeat 5 times
- Clam Shell
Step 1: Lie down on your side with thighs stacked and knees bent with thighs close to your chest at a 45-degree angle. Draw your navel in and scoop it towards your hard to stabilize your core and lengthen your spine.
Step 2: lift your top thigh while keeping your inner heels connected. Open and close with control 10 to 15 times. Be mindful to keep your trunk and pelvis still with only the thigh bone lifting up/down.
- Toe taps
Step 1: lye on your back with knees bent and the soles of your feet on the floor. Draw your pubic bone towards your bellybutton to imprint your spine into the mat.
Step 2: One at a time bring your shins to parallel (a table top positions). Keep spine imprinted and upper ribs hugging together, navel drawing in and up. Take an inhale to prepare and on an exhale tap your right toes onto the earth, inhale bring the shin back to table top. On the exhale tap the left toes onto the earth, and inhale return the shin to parallel. Repeat 10 times each side.
Remember to avoid arching your back and keep pelvis and trunk table. First work on stability through mindful movement. Better to stay stable and integrated than to move quickly!
If you have any questions, please send me an email: Katie@yoganorthvancouver.com