What I've learned from teaching postnatal yoga
If there’s one thing that made me grow tremendously as a yoga teacher, it’s teaching postnatal yoga. Teaching yoga a group of mamas and their babies is so incredibly special and beautiful, but it’s also completely different from teaching a “normal” hatha or vinyasa yoga class. In this article I’d like to share more about what I’ve learned from teaching mother baby yoga in Oslo.
It’s not so much about the asana
Although yoga is never just about asana (yoga poses), I see this even more in postnatal yoga. We sometimes spend 75% of the class sharing and supporting, other times we do a bit more movement and breathing, but I always give the mamas space to open up and help each other. Motherhood can be lonely and having a little yoga community is such a beautiful thing. ♡
The movement has to be safe, and gentle
I strongly believe that the postpartum period doesn’t end after 6 weeks and the mama body needs a different type of yoga than what you’ll find in a regular yoga class. I only choose asanas that are not only safe for the mama body, but also that help the body heal. I’m careful with the abdomen, I select postures that support the pelvic floor, and soften the neck and lower back, and we focus a lot on opening the shoulders and chest. We’re also careful with balancing poses, and we move slowly.
I never stick to what I had planned
We follow a course model for our pregnancy yoga and postnatal yoga classes at Sanga Yoga, and I theme and plan each class. This means that I come well-prepared, with breathing exercises, asanas and a short meditation for the mamas and babies, but the plan always (I repeat ALWAYS haha) changes. Sometimes because the babies need a break in between asana, sometimes because a mama has a specific question, and often because I feel into the energy and see that we need something different than I planned.
It’s never quiet in the room, and I love it
Babies coo, laugh and giggle, and they cry, too. This is all part of the yoga class, so it’s never silent in the room. This is completely different from any other yoga class, making it so special. I also always encourage the mamas to keep talking and cooing to their baby while in different yoga poses, so they stay close to their babies, not just with their bodies but also with their voice.
The babies need their “yoga” too
I’m not a big believer in using the babies as “weights” in poses like warrior II, simply because these women are doing a lot of lifting, carrying, feeding, etc already. BUT I do believe that the babies need their “yoga” too, so I always implement sensory play, singing and touch exercises. We often do baby massage at the end of the class, too.
The class lasts so much longer than 75 minutes, and I love it
We always serve tea before our yoga classes, so the mamas can take their time to arrive and chat with the others. I also allow lots of time after the class has ended, so the women can feed and change their babies, talk about the class, ask questions, and share their stories. This is such a beautiful part of the time we share together every week, and I would never change this.
I love love love these classes so much and I’m so grateful that I get to spend time with new mamas and young babies in my yoga classes. Every week, I see the mamas and the babies grow and change, and it’s so special to be part of that sacred journey. If you would like to practice with me, keep an eye on my schedule at Sanga Yoga in Oslo.