Yoga for Postpartum Depression

Millions of women experience the ‘Baby Blues’ which can have symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, tearing up and feeling overwhelmed with the changes in their life. Postpartum depression is a bit more serious and occurs in nearly 13% of the American mama population. It makes sense.

Many women are exhausted and sometimes feel miserable after giving birth. They are often ashamed of those feelings and do not talk about it or deal with the fear that they have. – Susan Ricker, Psychotherapist

It is in this fear that women get stuck in a cycle of negative reinforcement. They feel lost, helpless and confused. They lose sleep and are either eating too little or too much as a way to cope with their symptoms.

New mom’s sympathetic nervous systems are exhausted in the first few months (even years) after giving birth. This sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ response which releases loads of stress hormones into the body.

Yoga can help women suffering from postpartum depression dramatically by literally changing their brain chemistry. Susan Ricker says that within a minute and a half, women can rewire their brain to respond as though they are on vacation! The pranayama (breathing linked to movement as well as visualization and sound) of yoga has a profound effect. This act creates a biofeedback mechanism that can physically alter brain chemistry. With the alteration in brain chemistry, hormones become more balanced and those negative chemicals that cause postpartum depression are purged out of the system.

Yoga also allows women to keep a healthy relationship with their body as they transition from being pregnant to nursing or simply just going back to the way they were before pregnancy. It allows them to reconnect with themselves, find their center and really regain their sense of ‘self’.

The postures in yoga help to balance the hormones by stimulating the organs and glands that release hormones during the practice. There is an increased circulation to the spine that helps with this overall balancing of the hormones as well. Inversions are helpful as they increase blood flow to the brain. Inversions should be avoided, however, if you are still bleeding from giving birth. Be sure to get the go ahead to practice yoga from your care provider after giving birth as well.

Some poses that are great for a mama postpartum are simple seated twists as well as childs pose, half tortoise pose, and cat to cow pose. Standing poses such as Warrior I, II, & III are more energizing and help to build strength and confidence back into the body. A gentle vinyasa flow will be very energizing, increase circulation and allow you to enjoy in the ebb and flow of your movements and your life.

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The CAP Wellness Center offers Mama & Baby yoga by certified instructors who will help both you and your baby reap the amazing benefits from their class. We want to help you heal. We are your village and you are not alone. Check out our schedule here.

Namaste beautiful mamas,

The team at CAP Wellness Center