Yoga's Benefits for First-Time Mothers

In this new study, first-time mothers were recruited from a Sure Start Community Centre and included in the study if they had a baby aged between 6 weeks to one-year-old

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The dominant Western ideology of women as natural mothers, immediately able to care for their babies, and ultimately fulfilled in this role of selfless carer and nurturer can make it difficult for dissatisfaction and negative feelings about motherhood to be expressed without the guilt or fear of being considered a ‘bad’ mother. Supporting mothers, particular first-time mothers, in the transition to motherhood is an under-neglected area, despite the high levels of psychological and emotional upheaval regularly experienced by this section of the population.

Happily, recent research has shown that yoga can make a contribution to enhancing psychological well-being in early motherhood. In this new study, first-time mothers were recruited from a Sure Start Community Centre and included in the study if they had a baby aged between 6 weeks to one-year-old. Exclusion criteria were the presence of sciatica, bulging discs, heart disease or whiplash and if they already practiced yoga.

These women were randomised into a Dru yoga group (n=16) who received a one-hour Dru yoga session each week for 4 weeks and a 20-minute DVD for practice at home. The control group (n=16) who did not receive an intervention. Baseline and follow up measures of perceived stress, mood and coping were assessed in each group.

Results showed that in comparison to the control group, the Dru yoga intervention group had improved psychological well-being as indicated by reductions in stress, negative affect, and dysfunctional coping and increases in problem focused coping at follow up.

These are very important findings indicating, we believe, that yoga should be offered to first-time mothers as a matter of course.

Namaste and have a very lovely weekend everyone.

Heather Mason

Founder of the Minded Institute, The Minded Institute

Heather Mason is a leader in the field of mind-body therapy and the founder of Yoga Therapy for the Mind. She develops innovative methods for mental health treatment drawing on her robust educational background including an MA in Psychotherapy, an MA in Buddhist Studies, studies in Neuroscience and a current MSc in Medical Physiology.. She is also a 500 RYT, a yoga therapist and an MBCT facilitator. Heather offers various professional trainings for yoga teachers, healthcare professionals and therapists, lectures around the world, and delivers training to medical students. She also develops protocols for different client populations by translating cutting edge research from the psycho-biology and neuro-biology of stress into yoga practices, breathwork, mindfulness interventions and therapeutic holding. Further she is involved in research on the efficacy of these practices, holds the annual UK yoga therapy conference and is blazing the trail for the integration of yoga therapy into the NHS

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