3 Things I Wish I’d Known About Postpartum Yoga And Diastasis Recti

3 Things I Wish I’d Known About Postpartum Yoga And Diastasis Recti

I knew it in my heart before I knew it in my mind. Yoga is hurting me.

I was so excited to begin practicing again at 8 weeks postpartum. I’d spent 10 months modifying for pregnancy, and 8 weeks healing from my daughter’s beautiful, painful birth. The idea of moving again thrilled me.

And move I did. Nothing crazy. My body was still mending. A simple, straightforward flow of basic yoga postures. Sun salutations to get the blood moving. Twists to move energy through my spine. Gentle backbends to open up my heart which, despite being so full of love for my daughter, was completely closed off from the endless hours of nursing.

Little did I know, these “simple” poses were hurting more than healing.

After the first session, it was easy to dismiss the physical signs that something was wrong. The twinge in my low back. The feeling that things were even more discombobulated “down there” than when I started.

I’d just had a baby, after all. I didn’t expect it to feel perfect.  

But I continued to dismiss those signs for months. I couldn’t believe that my beloved yoga practice could hurt me. For someone who’s spent much of her life listening to her body on a yoga mat, I was surprisingly good at ignoring my body’s whispers.  

But just like a toddler you ignore, those whispers eventually became a yell.

It hit me at 6 months postpartum. Half a year after I’d delivered my baby, I was suffering more than I had in the weeks after delivery.  

  • My pelvic floor was still injured and, often, very uncomfortable.
  • My back hurt around the clock, not just after a yoga practice.
  • I felt like a limp noodle and found myself slumping nonstop. I had no support when sitting or standing.  

 

I started consuming everything I could about the postpartum body.

The lightbulb went off when I learned about diastasis recti.

Diastasis recti is a separation of the abdominal muscles, caused by a stretching and thinning of the connective tissue during pregnancy.

It’s associated with pelvic floor dysfunction, back pain, incontinence, and even hip issues.

Almost all pregnant women get a diastasis. For a lucky few, the separation closes soon after birth. For many others, the separation remains, and they have an ongoing diastasis.

A quick self-check (thanks, YouTube!) confirmed it-I had one. The more I learned, the more I realized my “simple” yoga postures were preventing my separation from healing. And possibly making it worse.

So I began the most important yoga education of my life. I could fill a book with what I’ve learned about this topic, but I’ll start with the 3 things I wish I’d known when I started my postpartum yoga practice.

The 3 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started A Postpartum Yoga Practice

 

1. When you are cleared for exercise at 6 weeks, you should be very intentional about the exercises you choose.

Odds are, you still have an abdominal separation. Jumping into crunches, planks, and trying to “get your body back” is a surefire way to make a diastasis worse. It takes 10 months for your abdominals to separate, it takes way more than 6 weeks for them to heal.

 

2.You should avoid certain yoga poses and every day movements if you have a diastasis.

They strain your weak core and prevent healing. Can you still have a full, well-rounded, practice? ABSOLUTELY. Can you eventually return to those yoga poses? YES. Once your core heals.

 

3. All yogic breathing is not created equally.

Taking breath deep into your belly contributes to diastasis. Other breathing methods can help close a separation.

When my second child was born, my healing was completely different. I had zero back pain, almost no pelvic floor issues, and never ever felt like a limp noodle. Why? Because when I started my yoga practice at 6 weeks postpartum, I knew how to create stability, heal my pelvic floor, and aid my diastasis in closing.  

This time, when I stepped onto my mat, I knew it in my heart and mind. Yoga is healing me.

Wondering if you have a diastasis? Try this self-test.


If you’re looking for more information on how to use yoga to help heal your diastasis, join me in my free online yoga and diastasis masterclass.

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4 Ways To Increase Energy: A Guide For Worn Out Moms

4 Ways To Increase Energy: A Guide For Worn Out Moms

If I’m not careful, I can easily give all my energy to those lovely, energy sucking, children of mine. I know when it’s happened because I end my day feeling like a limp, angry, noodle.

As a mom, you give to others, think about others, direct others. All day long, your energy is moving OUT.

Giving is good. But if that’s all you do, you become depleted.

What you need is to bring energy back IN.

So the million dollar question: How? 

Keep reading for four quick self-care activities, proven to nourish you and bring energy IN. Do one or all four every day. You’ll fill your energy tank, and end the day feeling balanced.

 

Four Ways Worn Out Moms Can Increase Their Energy Quickly

 

1. Deep Breathing

The Sanskrit word for breath is prana, which translates to “life force.” So, yeah, let’s bring some of that IN.
A 5-minute breath practice is one of the most potent and immediate self-care tools. It creates calm, reduces reactivity, and helps you take the day’s challenges in stride. I recommend deep breathing first thing in the morning to start your day on the right foot.

 

2. Meditation

We moms DO NOT realize how harsh our inner critic is. A daily 5-minute meditation practice attunes you to your ongoing self-talk. When you first start meditating, you will find surprising amounts of negativity. “I’m not doing a good job.” “I yell too much.” “I should play more.”
Turns out, the criticism you hear meditating is playing in your head ALL DAY LONG. Talk about exhausting.
A consistent, short meditation practice shines a light on your self-talk. Once revealed, you can choose self-compassion instead of self-criticism. Muzzling that inner critic frees up a lot of mental energy.

 

3. Do Things That Light You Up.

As much as I love being a mom, it’s easy to feel swallowed by the responsibility. To counter this, spend a few minutes each day nurturing your deepest priorities. You’ll feel vibrantly alive.

If you need help getting clear on activities you can fit into your busy life, I’ve got a system for that.

 

4. Practice Gratitude.

Our lives are busy. It’s easy to lose sight of the beauty in life.
Start a gratitude practice. Each night, write down at least 1 thing you are thankful for. Let it sink in. Revel in the beauty in your life.You’ll fill with positive energy and realize that the chaos of your life is beautifully perfect.

 

There they are. Four actions to restore your energy. Try it out. You’ll be amazed at what you create.

Watch the FREE Yoga and Diastasis Masterclass!

5 Tips For Doing Yoga With Kids

5 Tips For Doing Yoga With Kids

Tips For Doing Yoga With Kids

“Mama, can we go do some yoga?”

This little phrase is now a regular utterance at my house. But that wasn’t always the case. There was a time when I couldn’t get my love of yoga to rub off on my kids – no matter how much I requested or pushed.

It made no sense to me. How could they not love this practice that I found so fun? How could they see me practicing yoga ALL THE TIME, and not want to join in?

And then one day, I watched my children playing outside. As they moved from one shape to the next, all without premeditation or consideration, it hit me:

Kids don’t need to practice yoga. Their entire day is yoga.

Movement and mindfulness are a child’s normal way of being. For adults, not so much. At some point along the way, we lose our connection to self and the present moment. We have to “practice” finding it on our yoga mats.

Now, instead of inviting my children into my yoga practice, I step into theirs.

I don’t set yoga apart as a special, separate part of the day. I roll out a mat while we are playing and start moving. I let go of expectations and let them join as they like and leave as they like.

The result? They love yoga. They get excited when I roll out my mat because I’m going to be on the floor, connecting with them. Don’t believe me?

 

For those of you that would like to invite yoga into your days, here are 5 tips for doing yoga with kids.

 

1. Connection over Perfection.

Don’t waste a single moment correcting your child’s form or trying to teach them the right way to do a pose. This is your chance to have fun and foster a love of movement and yoga in your child. Don’t let the notion of “right” and “wrong” stand in the way of connection.

2. Keep it short!

Things go downhill after 10 minutes or so. If you hope to get your own full yoga practice in, think again.

3. Play With Advanced Poses.

Children’s bodies are incredibly strong and flexible. My daughter can pop up into a headstand and throw herself into a wheel pose without thinking. And she thinks they are FUN, not SCARY. Play with these poses with your child. She’ll be more engaged in the experience. You’ll learn to approach them with more levity.

4. Be Flexible.

There will be days when your kid is SO NOT INTO yoga. That’s ok. Cut it short if it isn’t working. End on a positive note (like a cuddly savasana together).

5. Practice Breath.

Take a few deep breaths together at some point in the practice. You’ll give your child a tool they can come back to again and again when they need to relax and manage stress.
What are you waiting for? Go roll out that mat!

Watch the FREE Yoga and Diastasis Masterclass!

The Secret To Morning Yoga Success

The Secret To Morning Yoga Success

It turns out I’m just like Gwyneth Paltrow.

Remember that movie Sliding Doors? After Gwyneth’s character (Helen) is fired, she heads home, despondent. The pivotal moment occurs as Helen rushes to catch the subway. She approaches the train just as the doors slide shut (hence the movie title). We watch two scenarios unfold.

In the first, she catches the train and arrives home to catch her deadbeat boyfriend cheating. She breaks up with him and builds a fabulous new life.

In the second, she misses the train, doesn’t discover the cheating, and grows discontent.

Every morning I watch myself either make or miss the train. Let me explain, because this isn’t about my husband cheating.

Lately, I’ve been getting up early to do yoga. Like, really early. Before 5am. Before my kids awake.

It’s the only time when no one seeks my attention, and the only time I know my to-do list won’t dominate my thoughts.

So I’ve been on a good stretch lately. But I’m a mom to two young kids, I’m not a morning person, and I’m eternally tired. Every morning I struggle with the decision to get up or to stay in bed. And this is where I watch myself run toward that sliding train door.

If I get up and head upstairs to my yoga mat, I catch the train. My day includes presence and patience.

If I hit the snooze button, and wake up to my lovely, yet demanding children, I’ve missed the train. I’m on track for a day with impatience, distraction, and disconnect.

The days I catch the train end up better for everyone in my house. I’ve started building structure into my days to give me the greatest shot at catching that train.

Here Are The Secrets To My Morning Yoga Success.

 

AT NIGHT, PREPARE FOR THE MORNING:

  • If you plan to do an online yoga class, queue it up on your laptop. brb Yoga makes this step easy.
  • Close all other tabs on your computer so you’re not tempted to check email or Facebook when you wake.
  • Set the laptop next to your yoga mat.
  • Pick pajamas that double as yoga clothes.
  • Put your phone (or alarm clock) across the room to ensure you don’t hit snooze. If you are using your phone, put it in airplane mode.
  • Fill a water bottle with water and ice and set it next to your alarm.

 

IN THE MORNING:

  • Shut off your alarm but keep your phone in airplane mode! The quickest way to miss that train is to see the notifications that popped up during the night.
  • Chug your ice cold water to hydrate and wake up.
  • Stumble onto your mat.
  • Wake up the computer and press play.
  • Do the yoga!

You may have noticed that ALL the mental work happens at night. This is by design.

If you’re going to catch the train and have a good day, you can’t wait until the morning to prepare. Do everything you can so you don’t need to think or make decisions in the morning. To cut the barriers between you and your mat, you need to be on autopilot.

Any other morning yogis out there? How do you make it happen?

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How To Modify Yoga For A Diastasis

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