Traditionally, new mothers stayed at home with their baby for up to six weeks after giving birth as a time for healing and recuperation and to provide a calm and welcoming environment for their new born. The following practices were encouraged to replenish depleted energies and restore mind, body, spirit balance:
1. Healing Foods
Traditionally, new mothers knew of the importance of eating particular natural foods which assisted with rebalancing the body, mind and emotions after childbirth to prevent common ailments.
- Dill detoxifies and balances the reproductive tissues and organs after childbirth.
- Fennel balances the hormones, enhances digestions and prevents infant colic.
- Fenugreek cleanses and regulates the glands and assists in shedding excess weight.
- Ginger warms the body, improves blood flow and alleviates after delivery pains.
- Garlic stimulates lactation and strengthens the immune response to promote healing.
- Almonds boost milk production, nourish the body and mind and calm the nerves.
- Sesame seeds are rich in nutrients and essential fats to regulate the hormones.
- Dates regulate energy levels, uplift the mood and increase strength and immunity.
- Raw Honey empowers the body’s vital life force to promote rejuvenation and healing.
- Organic Ghee nourishes the body, calms the mind and soothes the emotions.
Traditionally, new mothers applied self-acupressure treatment to regulate the vital energy flowing throughout their body, mind and emotions which prevented postnatal ailments. Apply the following techniques to assist with common postnatal problems:
- Fatigue – firmly massage the little fingers and little toes to stimulate the energy points.
- Depression – firmly massage the ring fingers to balance the root chakra and release fear.
- Breasts – massage the centre of the back of each hand to regulate breast energy flows.
- Anaemia – massage the inside of each knee to strengthen the stomach and spleen energy.
- Tissue healing – massage the fleshy area of the big toes and thumbs to initiate self-healing.
- Piles – massage the base of each heel and the base of each palm to heal the lower colon.
- Pain – massage the entire web between the thumb and index finger to release tension.
- Anxiety – gently massage the centre of the chest in circular motions to calm the emotions.
- Weight gain – massage around the wrist and ankle bones to restore hormonal balance.
- Stress – tightly clasp the hands and press the fingers of the left hand deeply into the back of the right hand and vice versa. Hold for one minute, release and repeat five times to release accumulated tension and empower the nerves.
Traditionally, new mothers were given a daily full body oil recuperative massage, however a simple lower body massage can help to strengthen the lower chakra energies to encourage self-healing.
- Orange essential oil lifts the mood, invigorates the body and mind and alleviates exhaustion.
- Fennel essential oil restores hormonal balance, relieves irritability and encourages lactation.
- Cypress enhances circulation and detoxification, tones the muscles and promotes healing.
- Frankincense essential oil relieves stress and tension and promotes relaxation and sleep.
- Rose essential oil is a natural antiseptic, soothes anxiety and restores emotional balance.
Mix one or two drops of essential oil with one tablespoon of warmed cold-pressed sesame oil. Apply two times a day to your feet, legs, buttocks and lower back using gentle circular motions.
4. Root Lock Breath
Traditionally, new mothers practiced the root lock breath to strengthen the lower chakras which play an important role in re-balancing and re-energizing the body after childbirth.
- Sit comfortably on a cushion in Sukhasana (Easy Pose)
- Close your eyes and inhale deeply through your nose.
- Retain your breath for a mental count of eight.
- During the retention of breath, contract your anal sphincter as strongly as possible.
- Tighten your pelvic floor muscles and pull them upwards.
- Feel the energy in your cervix intensifying.
- Release the contracted muscles and exhale through your nose.
- Visualize the energy produced nourishing your entire body.
- Rest for a few breaths and repeat.
- Practice three times a day.
5. Makara Mudra
Traditionally, the makara mudra was practiced by new mothers to balance and the lower chakras to invigorate the entire body after the physical, mental and emotional stress of childbirth.
• Place your left hand over your right hand with your palms facing upwards.
• Bring your right thumb through the little finger and ring finger of your left hand.
• Place your right thumb in the middle of your left palm.
• Place the tip of your left thumb and the tip of your left ring finger together.
• Relax and extend your remaining fingers.
• Practice three times a day for ten minutes each.
6. Yoga Asanas
Traditionally, new mothers were aware of the important role of the lower chakras to heal the body and mind during the postnatal period and practiced yoga asanas daily to heal imbalances.
To balance and empower the root chakra and replenish vital energy, practice:
- Vrksasana (Tree Pose)
- Garudasana (Eagle Pose)
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
To balance and empower the sacral chakra and restore hormonal balance, practice:
- Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)
- Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)
- Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)
Traditional postnatal practices allow new mothers to care for themselves physically, mentally and emotionally to replenish depleted energies and restore balance which influences their ability to nurture their new born baby.