On discovering Yoga

I first came across Yoga after recovering from postnatal depression with Leo back in 2015. I needed to find something to ground myself as I was still living with Generalised Anxiety Disorder.  So, I joined a basic yoga class through the local community centre and attended weekly.  Yoga ticked all the boxes – it improved my flexibility, increased my muscle tone and helped bring my anxiety to manageable levels.

We then moved suburbs and I stopped going for a while until I found a yoga studio that was close to home and offered a variety of classes including Hot, Slow Flow, Power and Yin.  I’d never heard of Yin Yoga before and wanted to know more.  Well, since my first Yin Yoga class, I haven’t looked back.

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I always get excited before going Yin Yoga, because I know how much it will benefit me.  I like to arrive 10 minutes before the class starts, to put my stuff in a locker, pick a bolster, make a cup of tea and settle into my spot.  Once I am in my spot, I take 3 deep breaths and then I put the bolster behind my knees and lie down on my back. I almost always fall asleep as the room is peaceful, and, there is gentle meditative music playing in the background.  The teacher will come into the room and welcome us by saying something like “Today, honour your body and your mind.  However you are feeling, and, whatever you are thinking is exactly as it should be.”  We then set the intention for the practice.

 

So, what exactly is Yin Yoga?

Yin Yoga is a quiet, contemplative practice.  The class usually consists of a series of long-held, passive floor poses intended to help you dig into the connective tissues that surround the joints and release tension.  For those who experience anxiety, it also helps free up emotional energy by holding each pose a little longer than you might be used to. Yin yoga is basically like taking deep breaths for your body.  The poses can also be meditative, helping you to become more present and bringing your nervous system into a calm and restful state.  Energetically, Yin yoga improves the energy flow, enhancing the flow of chi (vital energy) in the organs. To be healthy, we need healthy organs as well as healthy muscles.

Who is Yin yoga for?

Yin yoga is for everyone, however, it is especially beneficial if you are feeling over-stimulated and have too much energy.  In the current world we live in – we seem to be bombarded with stimuli 24/7.  Our minds are kept busy processing all the information that’s thrown at it.  Yin Yoga forces us – in a gentle way – to slow down and go inward.  It is an intimate practice, so get ready to get intimate with yourself, feelings, sensations & emotions.  Yin Yoga offers the chance to be still, be present, and work within, while you breathe and stretch deeply.  The practice also helps to create more space in the mind and body. Once we manage to achieve this beautiful state, and we learn to put those anxious thoughts aside for an hour, we give our minds a break from the busy world.  We find deeper relaxation, and we experience how it feels not to have that constant anxiety. If you are able to get to yoga once a week, hopefully the calming effects felt during the class will spill into the rest of the day and beyond the yoga mat.

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On October 12, I am thrilled to be hosting a Yin Yoga and Meditation class at Kula Yoga in Hawthorn.  Stephanie Williams one of Kula Yoga’s Certified Yoga Instructor’s will guide us through the practice.  At the completion of the practice you will receive a touch of peppermint oil behind the ears to refresh your senses. We will also finish off the class with some Smiling after PND Comfort tea.

I look forward to sharing this beautiful afternoon with you all.

Namaste 

Josie xx

Further reading:

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/smiling-after-pnd-hosts-an-afternoon-of-yin-yoga-and-meditation-tickets-70428725213

https://kulayoga.com.au

https://ashtangayogagirl.com/yin-yoga-anxiety/ 

https://www.aurawellnesscenter.com/2011/12/19/yin-yoga-poses-to-relieve-anxiety/

https://inspireyoga.com/yin-yoga-for-anxiety

https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/10-reasons-make-time-yin-yoga

https://www.ekhartyoga.com/articles/practice/the-benefits-of-yin-yoga

 

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On having another baby after PND – Lily (PART ONE)

When Leo was about two years old, Hugh and I started chatting about having another baby.  We always thought we would have two (me, three) children.  However, after having gone through postnatal depression (PND), we were both fearful of trying.  I was terrified about getting PND again, particularly after working so hard to overcome it […]

When Leo was about two years old, Hugh and I started chatting about having another baby.  We always thought we would have two (me, three) children.  However, after having gone through postnatal depression (PND), we were both fearful of trying.  I was terrified about getting PND again, particularly after working so hard to overcome it and, Hugh was concerned he wouldn’t be able to see me go through it again.   In the back of my mind, I didn’t think I could survive it again.

However, as time went on the desire, to grow our family grew stronger.  So, together, we started the process of putting measures in place to lower the chances of PND reoccurring, given I was living with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD).  One measure was the increase of therapy sessions.  At my therapy sessions, we started to work towards what life might be like if we did get pregnant again, and, then the challenges of being a mum to two children whilst living with GAD.  We also explored what would happen if PND reared its ugly head again.

We also met with an outstanding Perinatal Psychiatrist who provided us with written advice on the risks of the reoccurrence of PND, what may occur if left untreated, implications of GAD and treatment pathways.  Hugh and I went away after that meeting feeling very well informed and for a time, we weighed up our options.  In the end, we felt supported enough to start the path of having another baby.

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In the middle of 2017, we were ecstatic to find out we were pregnant with a little baby girl.  My pregnancy was uneventful which was a blessing.  As a preventative, given the risks of developing PND again, I increased my therapy sessions, I regularly saw my GP who was always so supportive and encouraging, and, my OB checked in on mental health at every appointment.  There were points throughout my pregnancy whereby I had feelings of impending doom which I explicitly told my OB at one appointment to which he wrote to my therapist and GP with my approval.  It was so comforting to know that lines of communication were open with all medical professionals.

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The birth of Lily was everything I had of hoped for.  I was supported by two midwives from the moment I walked into the labour ward and then a third in my later stages of labour.  My OB kept checking in on me periodically and when I became too anxious, I asked him stay and he did until I gave birth.  I had a few days in the hospital setting and then was transferred to a hotel for the remainder of the stay – AMAZING!

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Unfortunately, I experienced postnatal depression again and in my next post, I will tell you all about that and about life with exuberant baby Lily.  Stay tuned for PART TWO where it gets a little bit tricky but it has a lot of hope.    Love and Smiles xxx

Smiling after PND hosts a workshop on Mindfulness and Meditation.

I live with Generalised Anxiety Disorder which means I’m anxious, worried and have a feeling that something terrible will happen most of the time.  I’ve had anxiety for most of my life, it’s all I know.  This year I decided to go back to Uni to do a Masters degree, and, I turned Smiling after PND into a business.  As soon as I do something new, feel a bit vulnerable and uncertain – in comes my little friend anxiety at peak levels.  It is exhausting. It questions everything I do, fills me with doubt and can be overwhelming at times. I have professional help to manage my anxiety, however, when it is at peak levels, I need to access other tools in my tool box to keep my little friend at a manageable level.  If I don’t, I know I will get depressed.  One of the tools I recently learned about is mindfulness.

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Once I had done a bit of research on the topic, I thought to myself, I would love to share this with you all, and, so began my first workshop on mindfulness and meditation.  I engaged Suzanne and Amanda from Present Mindfulness Academy to talk us through how we can achieve mindfulness and meditation in our daily lives.

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In the two hour workshop, we learnt about what it means to be mindful, the benefits of being mindful, the importance of self care, and, how easy it is to incorporate self care and mindfulness in our every day lives.  We enjoyed morning tea and a massage from Jayne from Mama’s Angels.

Overall, it was a great learning experience and I was chuffed to have those who attended the workshop, report back to me that they are now more mindful in their lives and happier for it.  Since the workshop, I now put a buzzer on my phone to remind me to breathe, I start the day more positively, my husband and children are better for it and I am happier and more present.  I’ve also re-engaged with Yoga which I gave up when I was depressed.  More on that in another post very soon!

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Finally, I am so pleased to announce that we also raised $200 towards PANDA from ticket prices.  The donation will enable PANDA to train community champions volunteers, to share their stories in local communities so people understand perinatal mental illness and expecting and new mums and dads aren’t left to suffer alone.  Stay tuned for the next one…….

Much love and smiles xxx

For more information, please visit

http://pmacademy.com.au/

https://www.mamasangels.co

https://www.instagram.com/cafeblac/