Prenatal/Postnatal, Yoga Practice

Getting back to ashtanga


Not a bad way to enjoy savasana. Oh, and the TV was on for background music. NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts are pretty awesome.

It only took me two months postpartum to roll my mat out at home and get back to my ashtanga practice. I realize I’ve only been okay’ed for exercise for 2 weeks, but the bigger thing that kept me from jumping right in was the simple fact that I’ve lost a lot of strength and stamina. I’m simply not ready to do a 90 minute vigorous practice yet. Um, or 10 sun salutations in a row. Gotta catch my breath!

I spent the first month at home in my pj’s all day in survival mode. In this second month, I’ve been trying to stretch and stop feeling super achy from constant nursing and cuddling.

So I’ve been to a few postnatal yoga classes the last couple of weeks. These are pretty gentle classes – as they should be. The body holds on to the relaxin hormones after birth, and my abs still have that weird separation that will only get worse with crunches. I’m trying to be mindful of any big movements, so no super wide steps as I could injure any loose joints. My balance is pretty awful lately too. Again, I blame the relaxin hormones that are making my joints not as stable as they used to be.

But I wanted to mix things up. I wanted to see where my body was at from whatever remnant strength and flexibility I have. I did a round of ashtanga light, which is sun salutations, standing postures and closing postures.

Here’s where I’m at, 2 months after baby:

– My lung capacity seemed to have shortened in my time away from ashtanga. Sun salutations are challenging!

– Oh, hello ab muscles. My core is super weak, and it got a nice workout with every vinyasa. I can actually feel some soreness in my mid-section.

– Yeah, I gotta do a lot of chaturangas. Where are my tricep muscles? I was still rocking chaturanga while 40+ weeks pregnant, and now it’s a struggle.

– Ahh… twists feels so good on my spine. So do backbends. Although, I’m doing bridge for now and working back up to full wheel.

– Keeping stable in shoulderstand was pretty funny. I dropped this pose around the start of the third trimester with my belly getting in the way of getting my legs up. I forgot how much core was needed to keep from wobbling.

– I got up into headstand relatively easily, but finding my balance was a little tricky. I managed about 15 breaths before I couldn’t keep the swaying from getting volatile.

– Jumpbacks and jump forwards? Forget it. They do not agree with breastfeeding. I’ll leave it at that.

So yeah. Not too shabby for the first time getting back into it. I think Bear Shark is starting to fall into more predictable sleep patterns (and there shouldn’t be another growth spurt for a few weeks), so I can hopefully work ashtanga in a few days each week in addition to the postnatal yoga classes. Also, he doesn’t seem to mind the swing, so I’m not “stuck” holding him ALL day. Just most of the day. Gotta get my snuggles in while I can.

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