Why did you decide to write Yoga Mama, Yoga Baby?
I decided to write Yoga Mama, Yoga Baby because I wanted to write the book I was looking for when I was first pregnant, almost fourteen years ago. I saw a void in the pregnancy literature available at the time and I saw a need for women to be supported by the wisdom of Ayurveda and yoga together in pregnancy.
How did Ayurveda and Yoga, help you during pregnancy, delivery, and post-pregnancy?
Pregnancy- Ayurveda provided a fantastic framework to learn about my pregnancy, what was happening inside my body and how this system of natural medicine could help common ailments. Yoga was immensely helpful to support the physical, emotional and spiritual changes of pregnancy. By deepening my daily practice I was able to drop in deeper to the experience of pregnancy, connect with the baby growing inside and find a peaceful meditative space in which to operate my daily activities.
Delivery— The Ayurvedic view of the process of birth helped me to better prepare for birthing. Yoga provided many tools useful in labor, such as building endurance, stretching muscles that support the low back and pelvis and using meditation to help focus the mind. All of these served me well in during the whole birthing process.
Postpartum was deeply supported by the wisdom of Ayurveda. In Ayurveda, women are taught to rest, replenish and seclude themselves during the first six weeks after birth. This view is highly valued in this culture as a way to support the mothers and babies health for many years to come. By following this wisdom, I was able to nurture my digestion, my nervous system, for example with gentle herbal tonics and specific foods.
How can knowing your dosha, our tendencies of imbalances, be insightful during pregnancy or post-pregnancy?
Knowing our doshas and our tendencies for imbalance gives us a new awareness of how our body and mind functions. This awareness can help us make better choices to support our health and teach us where to pay attention to in order to bring balance back.
You speak about ojas building foods, what is ojas & why are ojas building foods important for the mother?
Ojas is a subtle essence within our bodies. It governs our immunity, our vitality and helps maintain natural resistance. Ojas building foods are important for the previously mentioned reasons and they are also pure, wholesome, and incredibly nutritious- all important for pregnant women.
In the allopathic field, a syndrome called postnatal depletion seems to be stirring up conversations on the importance of the fourth trimester. Can you speak about this through the lens of Ayurveda?
Ayurveda has always recognized the importance of the first six weeks after birth, which could be referred to as the fourth trimester. Ayurveda sees this as a time of great vata depletion. Apana vayu has performed a monumental task- birth. Many women lose a significant amount of blood and body fluids, which is depleting. Losing sleep and breastfeeding are also depleting. Women’s bodies are slowly returning to pre-pregnancy state. It is easy for the digestive system to become imbalanced. All of these factors can a depleted, suboptimal state. Ayurveda advises women to sleep when baby sleep, eat simple nourishing foods that are easy to digest, take herbal tonics to build back up, help lactation, etc… these are just a small sampling of diet and lifestyle guidance Ayurveda offers for postpartum women.
Margo’s 3 Tips
- Learn about yourself- discover your strengths and weaknesses
- Make time every day (or as often as you can) to support yourself on any level- i.e. eat a nourishing meal, talk to a friend, make a cup of tea, meditate, dance…
- Relax, have fun and do what makes your heart happy. We only live once! And I think most of us could use a little more joy in our lives ☺
Dr. Margo Bachman L.Ac., DOM is a NAMA certified Ayurvedic practitioner, licensed acupuncturist and Doctor of Oriental Medicine. She is the author of Yoga Mama Yoga Baby; Ayurveda and Yoga for a Healthy Pregnancy and Birth. Her practice and teaching focus on women and children’s health.