While many cultures honour the fourth trimester as an intricate part of the reproductive process, the industrialised Western world has sadly adopted a rather aggressive and dismissive stance of women’s needs after they have given birth.
In terms of physical effects of pregnancy, new mothers may experience pelvic floor stress, have developed a faulty posture, and suffer from stretching of the abdominal muscles to name but a few. A common misconception is that the sooner it is started and the more strenuous exercise is, the better – when nothing could be further from the truth. Disrespect for the still healing female body may not have any immediate consequences, but can lead to serious problems later on. Most importantly, the muscles of the pelvic floor, back, and abdominal area need to be gently strengthened from the inside out, with all three of these muscle groups being of equal importance post-natally, as neglecting one will have a knock-on effect on the other.
Needless to say, the benefits for babies are plentiful too – especially in our busy and overly stimulating lives as part of an industrialised society, infants spend the majority of their time enclosed in contraptions that hinder their natural movements.
Babies’ balance and co-ordination are strengthened, stretching muscles aids relaxation and digestion, and even infant brain development is supported by the cross lateral movements that are part of baby yoga. Rather than the overstimulation found in so many toys and activities aimed at babies, baby yoga is always appropriate for the developmental stage the child is currently in.
Thus, baby yoga in combination with post-partum yoga is a holistic practice that benefits the mother as well as the child and can set a positive pattern for their future relationship.