It’s all in your head: Getting upside down on the mat.

A few weeks back, I posted on Instagram my daily yoga pose for the challenge I was doing and noted how my own fear of core work as the result of what I’ve seen in my job as a postnatal trainer has hindered my progress in movements that directly involve the core and require a solid, strong core.

I have worked with moms who have had severe diastasis recti. Ones suffering from prolapse. Moms hovering on the edge of a prolapse. Moms with children nearly graduated from high school who have been told that leaking, pain, etc, were normal. One mom, who was about to be a grandmother, suffering STILL from a five-finger separation in her diastasis.

I work with these moms to rehab them, teach them exercises, alignment, breathing, to help them heal their bodies. Strengthen their pelvic floors. Heal and strenghten their cores.

Every day.

In groups I’m in on forums and social media, I’ve spoken in private messages to moms who had no idea that their symptoms were the result of something that can be fixed. Their doctors telling them that there’s nothing they can do. It’s normal. It’s what happens during and after pregnancy.

Hundreds of moms to date, just this year.

I help them find the people they need in their towns or cities. I’ve reached out to people for them, connecting them. Working endlessly to help them get the help they deserve if they’re not close enough that I can help them myself.

Every. Single. Day.

What to do, what’s right, what’s not right, everything… it’s ingrained in me. I know it frontwards and backwards.

After my son, I went through my local network to have myself checked. I planned out a map of my own postnatal rehab. The entire first year postpartum, I did my breathing exercises and core exercises. After programming so many other people daily, I’ve found myself burned out on programming myself, so I often do other trainers. I did Jessie Hilgenberg’s Home Edition when she released it in 2015, four months postpartum. Swapping out her ab days with my postnatal core breathing and work. Then I jumped into her daily workouts, doing the same.

Over that year, I developed a fear of doing more for my core than what I was doing postpartum. I feared overworking myself in my “center”. I feared causing myself damage. So I panicked, and stayed in that rut I’d created for myself.

My yoga practice, thanks to daily work, grew in leaps and bounds just over this past summer alone. I was moving through flows like a dancer in the water. The movement fluid. Beautiful. The kind of flows I would watch some of my favorite yogis do with awe and admiration. I was nailing poses that I’d never though I would be able to do. I was doing them with ease, where I once struggled.

Except inversions. I actually made backwards progress on those for a bit. I also had a run where I struggled to even get into baby crow, or beginner crow. Anything that involved my core as the primary, I just could not do.

I owned up to my fear in that Insta post that day. I used that as the marker for myself. That was the day I was going to have to work through the mental aspect of it, and get myself on track.

I’m still there. I’m still fighting that fear. I probably will be for a little while. And that’s okay. I’ve called myself out, and I’m getting with myself, one-on-one, and working it out. wp-1480611427899.jpg

Since that day, I’ve started working through some core stuff outside of postnatal work. I noticed that I was getting my crow back, and I could lift my legs a little bit off of my triceps during the tripod headstands. I could lean away from the wall, just ever so slightly, when practicing my wall handstands.

Then, just this past Sunday, I grabbed my mat and a piece of that old, trusty alphabet mat for added cushion on my tile kitchen floor, and set to work on the tripod headstand. This was my starting point. Nailing getting my legs up here. I knew if I could work my way fully up with the tripod, I could move on towards handstands. Progress is what I strive for. Not perfection.

And I pretty much nailed it. One leg up. Several times. And the other leg more than half-way. Slow, steady movements and piston breathing. Not letting my “core fear” defeat me, I spent some of my morning working, over and over. Seeing how far up I could get. I call the day a success. In more ways than one. It’s like a door finally, fully, became unlocked and I can keep moving forward. Or… upsidedownwards.

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Mother. Photographer. Writer. Founder of Fit Fridays for Mental Health. Former powerlifter turned weightlifter. Coach & Nutritionist. Spondy/PCOS/Endo. Bully breed advocate.

2 thoughts on “It’s all in your head: Getting upside down on the mat.

  1. Hi,

    I am a mother of 1 year old daughter and my belly looks like I am 5 months pregnant by end of the day. I do postnatal exercises which is diastasis recti safe and I don’t have any finger gaps in my abdomen or it has been reduced to 1 finger from
    2. I used to do lots of yoga but now I fear to do leg raise or headstand of worsening my belly situation. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks

    1. Hi! Which postnatal exercises are you doing? While they may be safe, they may not be working those deep core muscles. The goal is to help strengthen those muscles, and help strengthen the integrity of the linea alba.

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