Contributor: Sandra Fang, Yin Yang Japan Ambassador
I’m Chinese Canadian from Vancouver, Canada. It’s been more than seven years since I first landed in Japan fresh and naive after my university graduation.
Welcome to my Yin Yang yoga wear column! As a long-time yoga practitioner and yoga teacher, I’m aware of the immense benefits yoga can offer to anyone. Whether you’re attracted to yoga for physical health, for a healthier lifestyle, for better focus on work, or for better relationships with others, yoga can help on all those aspects. Unfortunately there’s only so much I can share in this column, so don’t hesitate to join classes at your local studio and to practice with professional teachers regularly to receive the full benefits of yoga.
It’s been four months since I gave birth to my son. I went through a natural unmedicated childbirth, it was easier than I envisioned and I have to say I really enjoyed the whole process. After birth, I was eager to resume my yoga practice 6 weeks postpartum as soon as I got the green light from my doctor.
After 10 months of modified yoga practice during pregnancy and more than a month of resting and healing postpartum, my body is not the same as before. I feel heavier and weaker, my shoulders and lower back ache from the muscular tension of nursing. My fingers sometimes get numb from holding my baby for too long. I can no longer get into the arm balancing poses I used to practice daily. I have to use the wall to help me balancing in headstand.
I’m humbled by how much the body tells me what to do and what not to do. Now my yoga practice has been a lot gentler than before. Once my body is fully recovered I will increase the intensity, but as for now, working with what I have is the key.
The women’s bodies are amazingly strong and we have an incredible capacity to endure pain. But it can be overwhelming to take care of a newborn 24 hours a day. To spare time from taking care of a baby for yoga sounds difficult, but the benefits are tremendous. For new moms, sometimes we feel the stress to find our pre-baby body shapes. To me, the point of practicing postnatal yoga isn’t about losing some pounds I’ve gained during pregnancy. After all, I need those extra calories to breastfeed my baby. Yoga helps me to breathe deeper, my body feels more energetic and less tense around the shoulders and lower back, and my mind is clearer. I need the time off to take care of myself so I can come back to my family with more love and mindfulness.