Rediscovering My Daily Sadhana Postpartum

Maintaining my Sādhana postpartum has, and continues to be the most important thing I do for myself and my family. It is the one thing I have learned to unequivocally prioritize in my day. And truthfully, it is the one thing that is keeping me together in what is shaping up to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done – raise a tiny human.

Now maybe that makes me sound like a crazy, type A Ashtangi, but I assure you it’s much deeper than that.

I think when you do this practice with sincerity for long enough, you open up something inside you; like a Pandora’s box of unexplored, unchartered energy. You unleash your inner demons with the intention of facing them each day on your mat. And once that box is open, you can’t close it, you can only contain it.

For me, Ashtanga contains that energy and makes everything else I do manageable. It’s like on my mat, I use my breath to transform chaos into Prana, and I leave the practice feeling a little bit more in control. But a few days without the practice, and it feels like my demons are running amuck in my mind. It feels like they are in control, not me.

Now add a baby to the mix of the “no-practice-crazies” and you can see why giving up my practice as a new mom just wasn’t in the cards for me.

Listen, I get it – coming back to practice postpartum can be intimidating and scary. I mean, you literally just grew an entire human and you’re probably exhausted. You might feel like you don’t have the time or the energy, or like you could be doing other things. You might feel like you aren’t physically ready yet, and that’s ok.

Deciding when to come back is very personal

Every pregnancy and delivery is unique and individual, which means that there isn’t really a hard and fast rule on when someone should return to practice after having a baby. I personally came back to practice at 5 weeks postpartum – but I’ve heard of people starting slowly at just a few days after labour, while some take several months or even years off.

Clinically, my midwife suggested waiting approximately 6 weeks. My best advice is to listen to your body and consult your healthcare provider to determine what is right for you.

But I encourage you to come back to your Sādhana as soon as you’re ready. And not so you can get your pre-baby body back. So you can allow the practice to work it’s magic, and support you through this new time in your life.

Navigating my practice since having my little girl has been an amazing journey. I feel that I have birthed a new awareness of what this practice is all about, and why it’s so important – especially after having a baby.

Here’s why I think it’s so important:

It is the one thing I do each day that is just for me.

As a new mom, that is huge for mental and emotional well-being. It’s easy to get caught up in being a mother and in doing everything for everyone else. But it is so important to take time for yourself – to fill up your own cup so it can overflow for your baby, and your loved ones.

It is the one time of day I get to connect – deeply – with my breath and my body. Amidst the chaos of life, it is the one thing I do each day that is consistent. Having this ritual to come back to brings semblance to my life.

It has allowed me to let go of my perfectionism.

I can have a very all or nothing outlook when it comes to my practice. It’s easy for me to fall into the mentality that, if I can’t do my whole practice, why bother even showing up?

Some days as a new parent just don’t permit me to do my full practice – or to even practice at all. Sometimes there’s no one to watch my daughter. And others I’m just so exhausted from being constantly up in the middle of the night to feed, or change diapers.

In those moments it’s easy to get caught up in my “mom guilt” and feel like a “bad lady” because I can’t do my whole practice. I’ve really had to grapple with my attachment to the practice, and while it’s been uncomfortable, it’s been so liberating.

I’m learning that it’s ok to show up and do sun salutations if that’s all I can manage.

David has taught me that consistency is more important than performance in this practice. Just showing up and doing whatever you can – especially as a new mom – is enough.

It has taught me about non-attachment to my physical body.

Let’s be honest – growing an entire human being inside of you changes you physically. I mean how can it not? And while the tiny human you’ve brought into the world is a beautiful reward, sometimes the reality that your body just ain’t what it used to be is hard to accept.

In my postpartum practice, I’ve realized how much I compare my body and its capabilities to how it was before I had my daughter. I’ve realized how much I judge my body, and how critical I am of how it looks now.

The practice gives me the space to notice these feelings and to go beyond them. It gives me the space to notice the mental chatter that berates my body, and the breath to continually come back to. It’s taught me to accept myself exactly where I am because anything else would be futile and exhausting.

Listen, coming back to practice after having a baby isn’t always easy. I get it. I’m sure there are a hundred reasons you could list as to why you can’t come back. But I can assuredly tell you that intentionally creating time and space for myself to practice has been the greatest gift I have given myself.

I leave you with this paraphrased quote that my dear friend Elyse shared with me the other day that came from the AYCT philosophy teacher Ram Vakkalanka:

Practice is liberation. Life is bondage. – Ram Vakkalanka

As a new mom, you have a thousand commitments. You have a tiny human that literally relies on you for survival. But when you commit to your Sādhana, and you create that time (even if it’s 5-10 minutes every day) for your practice, suddenly you’re free.





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Melissa Singh


  1. Julia S on April 4, 2018 at 11:07 am

    Interestingly I think it works not just for new mom, but in general when your life is very busy.
    I recently discovered that the more busy your life become the more you NEED your practice.
    Bonus of not having regular practice : when you can compare your life with and without morning practice it become the best inspiration to come to your mat. I would not suggest to stop practicing for a while (mostly cos I am afraid David may read that), but coming back make the practice deeper and really open new dimensions of Sadhana for me too..

  2. marie douglas on May 11, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    Getting back into these habits are so amazing and healing! Plus as my toddler got older she loved joining in with me!

    • Melissa Singh on May 14, 2018 at 7:52 pm

      They really are so healing, and it’s adorable that your daughter joined in with you! Start them young right 😉

  3. Jal on June 25, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    Thank you for this. I’m 8 weeks postpartum and planning to get back to my mat when I’m ready. I’ve started with walks and it definitely helps to reconnect with my breath and body.