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What is Postnatal Yoga?

and why would you come to a class?

· Parenting,postnatal,yoga

The benefits of pregnancy yoga are widely known, and recommended by the NHS - but why might you want to continue classes after baby's born?

Reconnect with your body

Postnatal yoga class can be a great starting point for reconnecting with your body. They're aimed at new mums with babies up to crawling stage (around 6 months old), during this time you are adapting to big changes both physically and in your new family life. Once you've been for your postnatal check up with the GP, and have their go-ahead, you're welcome to join classes. If your tummy wasn't checked by the doctors, let your yoga teacher know and see if they can check you or refer you to someone who can. You may need to see someone with specialist training to make sure you're doing the best things for your body if you have a gap.

More about abdominal muscles after birth.

Baby class or mums only?

Your baby is growing and changing rapidly, you're tired and it can be hard to do even simple things some days. It's important to find a class with timing that works for you both - some teachers will let you arrange a trial class before booking. Some people find that coming to a class while baby's napping in their buggy is good. Other people prefer to have baby join in and find that they sleep well after yoga.

Some postnatal yoga classes involve baby too, using simple songs, movement and props to help them stay engaged wile you move, this can be a lovely way of bonding with your little one. Other classes are more focused on the mum and may not involve the babies in the same way, others are mums only with no babies in class. Think about what type of class will work best for you.

Elements of postnatal yoga

Classes will normally have time for you to practice some form of mindfulness or meditation, a variety of held poses or movements while seated, standing and lying down. There's often time for chatting with other mums and benefiting from their knowledge and experience. Some classes will include chanting, breathwork, mudras or other traditional aspects of yoga, others may be more mindfullness and movement focused. Often classes look to relieve the areas most new mothers find tense; shoulders, lower-midback, arms.

What if my baby cries in class?

It's normal. Everyone's baby will cry at some point in class. Most teachers will be happy for you to move around to settle, feed or change baby as you need. Generally speaking it's best to do this when they first start to get upset as they tend to settle down again quicker once they've been helped to get comfortable.

Mum and baby yoga classes can give mums space to be themselves, help bond with baby and meet other new parents.

- a blog by Emilie, the founder of motherslove; pregnancy and postnatal specialist since 2008.

Emilie's a qualified yoga teacher, doula, antenatal teacher and maternity massage specialist based in Frome, Somerset, UK. You can subscribe to her blog or explore more on www.motherslove.co.uk or if you're local come and join a class.

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