HEALTH > Healing >

Here's How Yoga Can Help You Manage Postpartum Depression

Marisa Brenizer
Here's How Yoga Can Help You Manage Postpartum Depression

Becoming a mother is one of the most joyous events a woman can experience. However, some new mothers find themselves in an anxious, overwhelmed, or deeply depressed state after giving birth.

Through subtle body movements, deepened breathing, and the inner stillness that yoga offers, many postpartum depression sufferers find an immense amount of relief, making yoga a popular go-to method for alleviating the effects of PPD. 

Mindfulness

Anxiety and sadness often make us run for the hills because it’s much easier to avoid unpleasant emotions than face them head-on. However, as the old adage goes, “what we resist persists.” Rather than avoid sadness, it’s best to get to the root of it.

Yoga gently nudges us into a place of quiet observation, where we feel safe to explore our innermost thoughts and concerns. Practicing mindfulness also inspires us to practice awareness in other areas of our lives, enhancing each precious moment and bringing new meaning and purpose to our experiences. 

Breathwork

When we’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed, we’re often instructed to “just breathe.” Easier said than done! The symptoms of postpartum depression can manifest into uneven or halted breath, which can worsen your mental state. Breath is life, and if this precious life source isn’t flowing freely, depression can easily take hold. 

Taking the time to connect with the breath can work wonders. Incorporating breath-centered yoga poses into your practice is a great way to invigorate the body while calming the mind. Even a few minutes a day can make a huge impact!

Balance

Our emotional state can largely influence our mental and physical well-being, and vice versa. Although PPD is largely rooted in the emotional, it can take a heavy toll on the body; especially when insomnia, anxiety, and panic are present. 

Yoga brings balance to the body, mind, and emotions, bridging the gaps on a metaphysical level and leading us to a place of total understanding and connectivity. Consider nurturing poses, like Child’s Pose, to heal the deepest wounds. Simply surrendering to the experience can allow you to transcend it, bringing insight, healing, and compassion to every aspect of your being. 

Taking Action

Postpartum depression can bring about feelings of helplessness and apathy, making it very difficult to find the motivation to carry on with day-to-day life. In addition, many new mothers feel lonely during this major transition in their lives, often taking a break from work responsibilities, social engagements, and other obligations to care for their new baby.

Yoga offers a reprieve from the daily routine, especially when practicing it with others. Simply making an effort to move your body can inspire you to improve all areas of your life; taking action breathes new life into the body, mind, and spirit. Stagnation leads to depression, so try to shake things up a bit! 

Consistent practice is not only rewarding, it can be immensely enjoyable, too. Even the busiest mothers can find a few moments each day to check out and tap in.

Women who suffer from PDD are the perfect candidates for yoga. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced yogi, make an effort to stick to the practice through thick and thin. Be gentle with yourself during this transition, but also know when to give yourself that needed a nudge to venture out of your comfort zone, as well.

Each breath, pose, and intention in yoga becomes a mindful step towards wholeness, welcoming a newfound sense of confidence, strength, and compassion into the wondrous experience of motherhood.

Image credit: Alissa

Marisa Brenizer
Holistic mystic, writer, wellness guide, and dog worshiper.