YTU Beyond Mamahood

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In my previous blog, Yoga Tune Up® for Mamahood Part 3, I spoke about my last weeks of pregnancy. Well, I am now on the other side and the proud mama to a three-month old little dude.

The other side is wonderful, full of love, joy and excitement; and, of sleepless nights that don’t matter once you wake up to witness the miracle you’ve created. But it’s also a rollercoaster of emotions and comes with its own set of challenges.

Post C-section, I thought I’d get out of bed the same day, just like I did with my first boy. Nope, wasn’t going to happen! When I did manage to get up the following morning, I felt like a marionette whose strings had been sliced off. My breath had completely left me – my creepy shoulders had burrowed their way into my ears creating immense tension – and my whole body felt unstable, resulting in low back, knee and foot pain and a general feeling of dis-ease that stayed with me well into the first few weeks post-partum.

And so to the rescue came my beloved therapy balls. I had a set of YTU original Therapy Balls at hospital and as soon as I was able to be up and about for more than a few minutes, I self-massaged my upper back and shoulders against the wall to mobilize my T-spine, uncage my breath, and stop wearing my shoulders as earrings. The upper back sequence for postpartum self massage is now on my daily tap – between carrying my little guy and feeding him, my shoulders and thoracic spine need all the help they can get!

Right away, I also added simple movements, such as pelvic tilts and clocks, leg slides and knee sways to begin to reconnect with my core. I was surprised at how difficult those movements, which so recently were second nature to me, had now become. But as with any surgery, patience and reason are key – my mind was often ready to do things my body simply wasn’t, and this was sometimes quite frustrating. That said, with every passing week, one more piece of the puzzle fell into place and I knew I had to trust the process, no matter how much I wanted it to be speedy.

After my six-week check-up, I consulted a pelvic floor (PF) physiotherapist. We started with the breath and I was surprised to find out I couldn’t use my lungs to their full capacity. But the body doesn’t forget – after a couple tactile cues, I was able to mobilize my entire ribcage, including the lowest ribs. It really was an “a-ha” moment as I just hadn’t realized I wasn’t breathing properly! The PT also checked that my diastasis recti had closed, began working my C-section scar and assessed my pelvic floor. As it turns out, I had some scar tissue on one side of my pelvic floor that contributed to a dysfunctional psoas and QL. I also found out that although my PF could release well, the muscles weren’t as strong as they could be and was given a few simple exercises to remedy the issue (which I’m still working on).

I can’t recommend seeing a women’s health specialist enough. I would never have known about some of the issues I had – and what to do about them – if I hadn’t checked with a professional. She answered all my questions regarding returning to the activities I love and gave me all the tools and information I needed to restore my body, which was such a boost for my morale. Onwards and upwards!

Come back Friday for a few of my favourite post-pregnancy sequences.

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Emilie Mikulla

Having contracted a major case of wanderlust, Emilie has traveled the world, working as journalist, and now lives Dubai. After a second surgery on her spine, Emilie followed a lengthy Pilates rehabilitation program and, amazed by the results in her own body, became a comprehensively trained Pilates instructor in 2008. Emilie has taught in Thailand, South Africa, Dubai and in San Francisco. Emilie is an E-RYT and has completed her trainings with YogaWorks and Yoga Tree San Francisco, before earning her Yoga Tune Up® certification from Jill Miller. She has also spent hundreds of hours assisting her mentor Harvey Deutch PT at RedHawk Physical Therapy clinic in San Francisco, in teacher trainings, and on retreats at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. She has also recently participated in a week-long cadaver dissection workshop with Gil Hedley of Integral Anatomy. Emilie is the Lifestyle Editor for Women's Health & Fitness Middle East where she contributes a variety of articles and columns ranging from fitness and wellness, inspirational stories and nutrition. Blending dynamic movement with therapeutic releases, Emilie’s classes will empower you to practice the activities you love with awareness and joy.

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Thank you for sharing your experience! Good to hear that you were able to find healing and recuperation in the YTU balls after having experienced such a traumatic (and beautiful) event, I’m definitely going to put that in my toolbox. I find it inspiring on how you were able to take charge of getting back into touch with your breath, body as well as finding the muscles in the PF.

Pamela Cupak

I agree completely that a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy appointment is a must postpartum!

Also thank you for being authentic about the frustrations post c section when trying to get back to movement.


Thank you for this! My gf had a C-section and I am uncertain if she has seen a specialist to give her as much information as you have received. It is now on my list of things to ask her and to hopefully encourage her to see someone so she can get back to where she wants to be!

Vivi Sørensen

Thanks for sharing, it’s good to know what to be potentially prepared for. I hope you had a good recovery all in all.

Katelyn K Natalie

Thanks for sharing Emilie! I also brought my balls to the hospital. They were a great way to jump start recovery after delivery ( c-section for me as well with my 2nd!) It was sad to observe how concerned doctors and nurses were when they would walk into my room and find me out of bed with balls on the wall. I attribute the work with the balls and proprioceptive knowledge of my own body to a good recovery. These are great tools for prenatal and postpartum.

Krysten Hills

Very familiar story. I’m now eager to see some of your favourite post pregnancy sequences.

Roberto Martinez

Thank you for being willing to be vulnerable and post this blog! Not many people would have that type of courage!