Yoga helps bond new borns and new moms

The life of a woman changes after her beautiful baby comes into the world and she becomes a new mother.

But that lifestyle adjustment can take quite a toll on both the mother’s mind and body, and sometimes mothers need a little help along the way.

“A lot of women experience stress as a new mother, as there’s a lot of responsibility on them and an enormous change in their lifestyle,” said Zahra Haji, teacher and director at Yoga Goddess.

“They go from being professional women who go to work everyday, and now all of a sudden they are required to go into a motherly, nurturing mode… It is rediscovering a whole other part of yourself, and it requires a whole set of resources.”

Haji teaches several types of yoga, including yoga for mothers-to-be and women who recently gave birth. She also created and used to teach a class called yoga mom and Zen baby.

In this class, new mother and baby would arrive in the studio and do yoga together for about 60 minutes. Haji also added that the child should be between six weeks old and crawling stage.

Haji said that yoga mom and zen baby is not only a great way for mother and child to bond, but also allows the mother to strengthen and recover muscles that have been weakened or stretched due to the pregnancy.

“After childbirth, the pelvic floor muscles have become stretched and you want to be able to recover the muscle tone in that particular area,” she said.

“Another area is the abdominal muscles and the lower back muscles that pregnancy takes a real toll on. Basically, you’re strengthening and toning those areas.”

Laura Samaras has been the co-ordinator of childbirth and parenting classes at St.Joseph’s hospital for about 15 years. She said that post natal yoga helps strengthen muscles that are most affected by pregnancy, such as the pelvic floor and abdominals.

“Those are the muscles that have absolutely been stretched whether they have had a c-section or vaginal delivery, “ she said. “I think yoga is a very gentle way of strengthening the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. That’s why we support it… I do absolutely believe in it.”

She also added St.Joseph’s Hospital offers postnatal classes, which have always been “extremely popular.”

During class time, Haji encourages the mother to have lots of physical contact by massaging the baby and incorporating their babies into different yoga poses.

She said during bridge pose, for example, the mother’s feet are on the ground, her knees are bent, and her hips are lifted. If the baby is small, they would be on the mother’s chest. If the child was older, they would be by the mother’s side.

“You’re still doing a physical movement but you’re incorporating the baby in a fun, loving way into the posture that you’re doing,” she said. “You’re hugging, you’re laughing, touching each other. It’s just fun.”

Yoga Goddess’ studio is located at 45 Gardiner Rd. Haji also offers group classes at Lil Bean N Green on Queen Street East and is set to offer prenatal classes there, starting April 12.