Becoming a parent is one of the most transformative experiences anyone can have.It's a journey that begins with the emotions, anticipation and preparation of bringing a new life into the world, and continues with the joy and challenges of parenting.
But amidst all the excitement (and sometimes chaos), it's easy for new parents to brush aside thoughts about their own well-being.
We go through pregnancy and everything that comes with that process.
We give birth, in whichever form that takes.
We become parents to a small human.
Then, we continue to nourish and support that being for the rest of our lives.
Not a small feat!
We can easily forget, or put on the back-burner, the idea that it’s also important to nourish ourselves and can end up drained of energy, depressed and uber-tired. (Uber-tired is the kind of tiredness you just can’t explain to anyone who’s never experienced it.)
On the journey to parenthood and beyond, the main thing your child will truly benefit from is a whole and complete parent. This is where the practice of yoga comes in.
Yoga is an ancient practice that originated in India thousands of years ago. It involves a balanced combination of physical postures, breathing techniques, yogic wisdom, mantra chanting and meditation to support us on the physical, mental, and emotional levels. Yoga can be especially helpful for new parents who are experiencing the stress and exhaustion that often come with having a newborn.
Here are some ways that yoga can help new parents:
- Yoga helps reduce stress: Parenting is an incredibly rewarding experience, but it can also be very stressful. The demands of pregnancy, then caring for a newborn, coupled with the sleep deprivation that often comes with it, can be exhausting for new parents.
Practicing yoga can help reduce stress by promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety. The breathing techniques and meditation involved in yoga can help calm the mind and reduce tension in the body, leaving new parents feeling more relaxed and centered.
- Yoga helps improve physical health: The physical demands of parenting can be intense, especially after carrying a child and giving birth. Also, new parents may not be used to carrying around a baby for extended periods of time. Yoga can help improve physical health by increasing flexibility, strength, and endurance.
The physical postures involved in yoga can help tone and strengthen the muscles, while the breathing techniques can help improve lung capacity and circulation. All of these benefits can help new parents feel more energised and more able to meet the physical demands of parenting.
- Yoga helps improve mental health: Parenting can be quite emotionally challenging, and new parents may experience a range of emotions from joy and excitement to frustration and overwhelm. Practicing yoga can help improve mental health by promoting mindfulness and emotional regulation.
Meditation and breathing techniques involved in yoga can help new parents stay present in the moment, allowing them to better manage their emotions and maintain a sense of balance and perspective.
- Yoga helps promote self-care: As parents, it's easy to put our own needs aside. We may feel like we don't have the time or energy to take care of ourselves, but neglecting our own well-being can lead to burnout and exhaustion.
Practicing yoga can help promote self-care by giving new parents a dedicated time and space to focus on their own needs. It can also help new parents develop a greater sense of self-awareness, allowing them to recognise when they need to take a break and prioritise their own well-being.
Incorporating yoga into your daily routine as a new parent doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming. Even just a few minutes of yoga each day can have a significant impact on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Here are some tips for getting started with yoga as a new parent:
- Start small: Even just 5-10 minutes of yoga each day can be beneficial. Start with simple poses and breathing exercises that feel accessible and manageable.
- Practice with your baby: Incorporate your baby into your yoga practice by practicing poses that involve holding and interacting with your baby. This can be a great way to bond with your baby while also taking care of yourself.
- Find a recommended class or online resource: If you're new to yoga, consider taking a class or finding an online resource that can guide you through a suitable pregnancy yoga or prenatal/postnatal practice. There are many teachers and resources available but you really want to look for someone who caters specifically to pregnancy and new parents.
If you are a yoga teacher interested in teaching prenatal yoga, finding the right training is very important. Learning from passionate and experienced teachers will provide the perfect opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to support your students safely and effectively.
In an Akhanda Yoga Institute Prenatal YTT, you will learn how to modify yoga poses for women before, during and after pregnancy, as well as how to incorporate breathing techniques and meditation into the practice. We will also cover the anatomy and physiology of pregnancy, as well as common complications and how to modify the practice accordingly.
As an Akhanda Yoga Prenatal teacher, you will gain tools to guide women through one of the most transformative times of their lives. By taking an Akhanda Prenatal Training, you will become a trusted resource for your students and help them feel empowered and supported throughout their pregnancy, childbirth and beyond.