8 benefits of yoga to cure Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression and Anxiety are the least talked about post-pregnancy conditions.

Nearly 20% of all new moms experience either PPD or PPA after childbirth.

However, the frenzy of bringing a new life into the world drowns out all other emotions.

The adjustment is HUGE. And it may leave you feeling frazzled, to say the least.

However!  Do watch out for the symptoms of PPD and PPA! 

While it is normal to feel exhausted and completely overwhelmed, IT IS NOT normal to feel so all the time, and to the extent that you find it difficult to bond with your child and yourself.

If you do feel like you might be suffering from PPD or PPA, please see a specialist ASAP.  Depending upon the severity of your condition, your specialist might prescribe medications.

Along with taking the medication prescribed by your doctor, making a few lifestyle changes are sure to take you a long way and exercising tops the list!

While you might be refrained from undertaking any rigorous form of exercise, Yoga is the perfect way to ease into an exercise regime post delivery and feel better! Not only does practicing this art help you shed all the baby weight, but it is also calming to the mind, body, and soul.

Here are 8 benefits of practicing Yoga Vidya, or the art of Yoga, in order to fight Postpartum Depression:

  1. Modulates stress response– According to this Harvard research, “for many patients dealing with stress, depression, and anxiety, yoga may be an appealing way to better manage symptoms.” Practicing yoga modulates stress response systems by reducing perceived anxiety and stress. As a result, with practice, the mind discourages impulsive response to stress and anxiety triggers.
  2. Improves concentration– Yoga requires holding various postures with the help of controlled breathing. This helps increase concentration, which is a primary symptom of a person suffering from Postpartum Depression. An increased focus helps new moms in being mindful of their surroundings, which in turn sends relaxing signals to the brain.
  3. Easy to do– Well until six months after delivering, most women are asked to refrain from undertaking any strenuous exercises. Especially if they have had a C-section delivery. This means that all rigorous forms of exercises are a big no-no. New moms can ease into their exercise regime by starting out with basic Yoga stretches.
  4. Help shed pregnancy weight– So, you looked like a hot-air balloon up until you delivered. And while most of it might have gone, there is still a long way to go before you start looking like your earlier self (or maybe even better!) There are numerous basic yogasanas that help bust fat and build muscle strength to get started.
  5. Minimum investment– All you really need is a yoga mat, and the willpower to start a yoga regime! Unlike gym and other training routines, yoga doesn’t even require you to step out of the house. So, you needn’t worry about disturbing the baby’s schedule either,
  6. Releases oxytocin– Oxytocin is the built-in anti-stress hormone of the body. The systematic breathing techniques involved in yoga, help release this happy hormone, thus battling depression.
  7. Helps you sleep better– The various yoga postures also help you sleep better. Getting a good night’s sleep is the key to better health and a healthy mind. Additionally, babies borrow their mother’s energy. So, if you are relaxed, chances are very high that your baby would be too!
  8. Boosts confidence– This one goes without saying! Confidence grows if you feel better inside and out. The more regularly you practice yoga, the more your worries and self-doubts will vanish. You will also train your mind to realize that it’s okay to be away from the baby for a bit!

Expanding on the last point, it is but natural for a new mom to feel guilty about every minute they spend being away from their babies.

However, it is not normal to wallow in the guilt forever or to think that your baby isn’t safe if they aren’t without you. With the right help and support from the family and friends around you, you MUST take some time off in a day to be with yourself and to be able to reconnect with yourself.

And, if you have been diagnosed with Postpartum Depression or Anxiety, please do seek medical advice. Shun the taboo associated with Mental Health Illnesses. Do this for yourself and your children, mama!

If you need more strength to get started, do read these real-life accounts of two mama’s from two very different cultures here and here.

While practicing yoga would make you a healthier and happier person, don’t forget to get an all clear from your Ob/Gyn beforehand! 

 

9 Comments

  1. Absolutly, PPD is so less talked about topic. Specially when we speak about it to elders..they just deny existence of it. They think its just a new generation fad. But they forget that its an illness which needs immediate help.

  2. I did yoga after I had my first and it was so great. I wish I had gotten back into it after my second. But I didn’t have the time for it. Although working out is so important postpartum!!

  3. I absolutely love this article! What a great coping strategy for PPD! This is a great encouragement to me to remember to take care of myself and get back into yoga which I have always loved! Thank you!

  4. I agree, the taboo associated with postpartum depression/mental illness need to be obliterated. Too many women are suffering in silence! Thank you for addressing this serious issue!

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