Yoga Treats Postpartum Depression

Postpartum (or Postnatal) Depression is more common than you may realize

Roughly 1 in 10 new mums will face the challenge of having to overcome the crippling weight that is postnatal depression.  The first step in beginning letting go of the unbearable weight of PND is to please trust that you are not alone.

Do I have PND? –  Let your doctor determine whether or not you are facing something more serious than the normal ups and downs that new mums experience from severe sleep deprivation, problems with feeding and trying to comfort your baby through any problems she may be facing, possibly with a lack of support.  Just go and speak to them about how you are feeling.  As a starting point, I really like Katherine Stone’s article: The Symptoms of Postpartum Depression & Anxiety (in Plain Mama English)

As a new mum to a 9 week-old baby I understand all too well the overwhelming pressure-cooker that is new motherhood – and I’ve had it easy – so my heart goes out to all of you battling PND.  I hope that this page will help start to empower you with a feeling of heightened control over this afflication.

As a complement, Postnatal Depression can be treated naturally – There’s no doubt that anti-depressants and counseling provide invaluable (and vital) help to women suffering from PND.  But even if you are already being treated for PND by conventional means, you may feel that you would also like to try a natural treatment to help you get better faster and to make your days and nights just that bit easier.

Try these 3 simple yoga exercises to beat PND – Ideally spend 15 minutes on this routine every morning and evening for one week.  However, if you do not have that much time to yourself, just 5 minutes a day can still make a difference to your mood. If you get good results, stick with the routine for at least one month before stopping.

Your 3 Simple Exercises:



Very quickly and easily open up your heart chakra and flush out the stagnant sadness weighing down your heart and lungs with this assisted fish pose.  Lie on the floor (on a yoga mat or a towel or folded blanket) and pop a yoga block (or a thick book) under your back where your heart sits.  Then slowly bring your palms together as you inhale and raise your arms above your head and exhale as you lower your arms to the ground above your head.  Feel the enormous stretch from your toes to your fingertips and observe the tremendous opening of your heart centre.  Breathe deeply and feel any negativity sitting deep in your heart centre start to float out of your chest.  Stay here for a few minutes if you can but even 30 seconds will be beneficial.  When you are ready, roll onto your right side and gently get up using your left arm to assist you.  You will notice you are already feeling a little lighter, slightly revitalized and more connected to your centre.


Now invite gentle nurturing energy into your heart with this simple Kundalini exercise: sit with crossed legs with your back nice and tall.  Close your eyes and extend your arms out in front of you crossed at the wrists.  With a graceful sweeping motion, inhale as you raise your arms to eye level as you flex your spine and neck forward. As you inhale think of all of the things that you would like to make you feel safe, warm, secure and nurtured – a loving partner, a peaceful baby, kind parental support, financial independence (whatever you feel you need but do not have or would like more of).  As you exhale, RELEASE your pain.  Lower your arms to your lap and push your heart and lungs forward and your head back.  As you exhale you can feel all of the disappointment, your hurt, the trauma of labor and the paralysis of depression be expelled from your body.  With each inhalation you grow stronger and more positive.  With each exhalation you rid yourself of more and more toxic pain.  Try to build a bit of a rhythm with this exercise to stimulate your adrenal glands and promote healing.


To finish, bask your soul in the calm of healing breath:  Lie flat on your back, arms by your sides, with your eyes closed. Breath deeply and as you inhale, visualize the color green all through your body.  Imagine green grass, green leaves, green apples, green water, fields of green everywhere as far as the eye can see.  Breath in green! Feel the color green nurture your spirit as it washes away any remaining impurities in your heart chakra.  Then see yourself washing the green away – like soap from your body – with a clear and luminous universal white light.

You should now feel a little better than before you started.  Please try it and let me know if it does not help you.

Worked For You?  Get Even More Natural Relief:

Extend your yoga practice – These exercises provide just a taste of what yoga can do to help you with this problem.  If you are able to get a couple of hours to yourself (very difficult I know), try to attend a group class with an experienced yoga instructor for best results. Make the effort to let them know about your PND in private before the class so they can incorporate suitable asanas and pranayamas to help you.

Dose up on Vitamin B – Try to find a good quality slow release vitamin B supplement to help your body deal with the stress and lessen the depression.

Flower Power – Try flower remedies containing Clematis, Rock Rose, Scleranthus and Impatiens.  Brauer make a great oral spray Brauer Mood And Anxiety Remedy Bach Flower 20ml which I highly recommend.

Let the sunshine in – before midday, sit outside for 5 – 15 minutes in your underwear, or your birthday suit and feel your heart chakra sigh with relief.  Try to let the sun shine onto the backs of your knees.  Pop your baby in the shade though!

Stock up on yummy fruit and chamomile tea – avoid caffeine as much as possible.  You need to be kind and gentle to your body right now and caffeine does neither.  It destroys your inner sense of calm.  You have recently performed a miracle (making a baby, giving birth to her and possibly feeding her from your own body) and deserve to rest whenever you can so give yourself the best chance to take this valuable rest by going caffeine-free in the first few months of baby’s life.

Postnatal Depression is not something you should ever try to deal with on your own.  In addition to doing these simple exercises, please speak to your healthcare provider  – your midwife, community nurse or doctor – about getting treatment.  And just remember, you are a brilliant warrior-goddess.  You have given the precious gift of life to another.  Have faith that brighter times are ahead.

Namaste friend

Picture credit: premasagar via Compfight




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