For me, yoga combines two things that I find incredibly beneficial to mental health: exercise and meditation. And they’re two things that you might struggle to find time to do once you have a baby. That’s why something like baby yoga might be a great thing to incorporate into your life to help treat postnatal depression. Even if you’re not depressed, it’s still a great way to bond with your baby.
Yoga and Depression
Yoga is extremely helpful in alleviating the symptoms of depression. Don’t just take my word for it, research even shows that people who participated in a 8-week hatha yoga plan saw statistically and clinically significant reductions in depression severity. Yoga also modulates perceived stress and anxiety by slowing down rapid breathing and heart rates, lowering high blood pressure, and increasing heart rate variability.
That’s all well and good, but what about baby yoga?
Baby Yoga Benefits
A baby yoga class is obviously going to be a far different experience to that of a normal yoga class. It might not be quite as beneficial as a regular class, but you do have a baby with you. Here are some of the benefits – thanks to the NCT – you might gain from attending a baby yoga class:
- Strengthening and toning your muscles, especially abdominals, pelvic floor and back.
- Encouraging you and your baby to find time and space for relaxation.
- Using the breath to increase calm and confidence.
- Improving your sleep.
- Promoting understanding of your baby’s development.
- Engaging and bonding with your baby.
Baby Yoga Near Me
It’s a little hard for me to put up links to local baby yoga classes, as of course they’re going to depend entirely on where you live. Here’s YogaBellies, who offer baby yoga for mom and baby (I’m going to assume that dads can go in place of the mother, otherwise that’s very sexist).
Alternatively, if you can’t find a class, or merely don’t want to go, then here’s a video that you can follow:
Yoga Really Is Something Everyone Should Try
I understand if you might be a bit hesitant to attend a baby yoga class. I go to yoga quite often – well, not as much as I wish I did – and the idea of doing it with a baby doesn’t exactly scream ‘relaxation’. But it’s basically another baby class, much like baby massage, that’s designed to give a little bit of bonding between the parent and the baby and then throw in a little bit of physical and mental wellbeing.
This might not be something that lifts you out of postnatal depression on its own, but I think it’s all part of a bigger picture. Combine this with a bunch of the other things that I’ve suggested and you might be on your way to recovery.