What is Closing the Bones?
Closing the Bones is a Latin American midwifery rite. It completes the birthing process energetically, physically, and emotionally. Some women receive it three days postpartum or a few weeks later, and others a number of months and years after giving birth. It is also used after a miscarriage, abortion, illness or rite of passage. It can actually address any kind of depletion a person may be experiencing.
The ritual begins with a hot bath infused with special herbs to calm and relax the mother. She is invited to talk about whatever aspects of the birth or her new role as mother are lingering that she may want to resolve. The mother then receives an abdominal-sacral massage. After this her body is wrapped up. This ‘hug’ is performed from crown to toes with rebozos (Mexico) or mantas (Ecuador) creating a sensation of closure. Rebozos and mantas are traditional shawls. I offer a sound bath environment drumming and singing to finish with silent meditation. Once complete she lies quietly to integrate her experience and I’m there with her to praise and support her in every way. We use this time to acknowledge the beauty and power that her body and soul has given to the birthing of her child.
This process literally helps “close” a mother’s body, which “opens” in so many ways, both in preparation for, and during birth itself. During the ceremony, pelvic bones are pulled back to their pre-pregnancy placement, and shrinkage of the uterus is facilitated. This helps “close” a new mother energetically, as both pregnancy and particularly the intense process of labour and birth can be very vulnerable times for a woman, psychologically and psychically. The loss of blood during birth is thought to induce a “cold” state in a postpartum mother, so the hot bath helps restore her warmth. It can also increase milk flow, help milk to let down into the breasts, prevent the breast milk from being “cold,” and address muscle fatigue, heaviness in the limbs, oedema, appetite loss and constipation. Hot baths alone can positively influence cardiovascular, hormonal, immune, musculoskeletal and respiratory systems. The herbs for the “Baño de Hierbas” are specifically chosen to stimulate circulation, energise the body, fight infection, and recover vital heat and moisture. The essential oils released by the herbs affect recuperation, balance, and relaxation.
Closing the Bones is a very intimate ritual performed in your home. Plan on two hours of time between feeding your baby and to have a caretaker (papa perhaps) present to attend to your baby while we are in ceremony.
To book a session contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mummy & Me (Dads too!) Yoga Chelsea
Alexa teaches this class at triyoga Chelsea located at World’s End of King’s Road in Chelsea.
Postnatal yoga classes are a great way to heal, strengthen and nurture yourself without needing a babysitter. Bring your little one along for some parent-baby bonding and be part of a community of new parents. Class includes yoga and baby massage.
Why Choose Alexa’s Postnatal Yoga Classes?
Alexa trained with world renowned teachers. She is also one of most trusted doulas in London having assisted more than 65 births since she started in November 2013.
In her classes Alexa teaches a combination of yoga postures and movements to create comfort and gain strength and tone in your body. These classes are gentle and informal and no previous experience is required. You’ll bond with your baby sharing yoga together, having fun singing and dancing!
What people say about Alexa’s classes
Renata, August 2018
I just want to let you know how amazing I find your classes. I loved coming to your prenatal ones and I love coming to your Mummy + Me classes. I think you are an amazing yoga teacher. I love your energy and the energy of your class, how you embrace motherhood and femininity in general. Your class is exactly what I expect from a yoga class with babies. It’s a perfect balance of yoga for me, my baby and the baby massage is such a bonus!!! I had no idea it was part of the class 🙂 As you say at the beginning of the class, it’s hard for the babies to keep attention for such a long time and it’s great you give us the opportunity to interact with our babies, to entertain them, to assure them we are there for them as part of your class while still focusing on the mums as well.
Join Alexa’s Mum and Baby yoga classes
Wednesdays 10:30 – 12:00
Unit 2, 10 Cygnet Street
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57 Jamestown Road
Email Alexa for more information
Mum & Baby Yoga with Alexa Dean
Chelsea Postnatal Yoga / Shoreditch Postnatal Yoga
Practising yoga with your baby next to you is, fun, lively, cute, noisy… requires lots of pauses and creativity to adapt the postures and moves to add sounds, peek-a-books, smiles, songs, cuddles, eye contact, feeding and changing nappies and of course lots of kisses!
Be gentle with the movements, work within your strength and flexibility and never force anything. It is best to start from around 6 weeks postnatal when your body has recovered a little from birth. Don’t make moves too fast and try to use the flow and rhythm of your breath.
Breathing Warm Up
Sitting on Easy Pose (legs crossed) sit your baby on your lap and hold her back against your belly or if your baby is on the floor place one hand on her belly and your other hand on your heart centre. Align your spine making it tall, elegant and light, let your eyes close. Feel the energy from the crown of your head reaching up the skies and an opposing energy from your seat bones, reaching down to the centre of the earth. Enjoy as many breaths as you can, simply feeling the movement of your breath in your body. Do a few gentle head and neck circles in both directions and the same with your shoulders. Then draw your shoulders up and release with a big sigh three times. And saying to yourself, ask your baby to teach you something new today, as your baby is your greatest teacher!
Keeping the same seating position, maybe you want to change the crossing of the legs, bring one arm up on the inhale and as you exhale feel your intercostal muscles, in between your ribs, as you give your body a lovely side stretch. I like the flow from side to side when baby is next to you and follows the movement of your arms. You can also do this with your baby in your lap holding the baby with one hand and inhale the other arm up and over to feel the stretch. Repeat on the other side. 3-5 times each side.
Lying on your back with your knees bent. Baby may be on your chest, or next to you on a blanket or the top of your mat. Tuck your belly button in toward your spine, exhale and tilt your pelvis up, inhale and tilt your pelvis back. You are rocking your pelvis back and forth for gentle strengthening of the abdomen. You will feel your spine flat on the floor as you exhale and a natural curve as you inhale. Starting gently and moving slowly is the best. Add a gather of your pelvic floor muscles as you exhale and soften on the exhalation. Mindful conscious movement with breath is key here. Repeat around 20 times.
Half Bridge Up-Downs
Stay lying on your back with knees bent and hip width apart (feet too!). Baby sitting on your hips, hold her with your hands – or baby next to you, hands on the floor next to your body. Inhale here. On the exhale, press your feet down to the earth and lift your hips off the mat. You are opening up the space around your heart. It has a calming and quieting effect, therefore great for anxiety! Don’t squeeze your bum too much, think firm, not hard rock! Exhale raise, inhale back down synchronizing with a slow, steady breath. Here you can also activate your pelvic floor muscles each time you exhale up, and release as you inhale down to the mat. Always start the movement first grounding the feet to the floor then the lift becomes easier.
Bridge is a fantastic antidote to anxiety and therefore a pose I recommend to post-natal yogis. It calms the mind, helps with headaches, and alleviates stress and mild depression.
Cat-Cow Stretches (modified)
From Table Pose with hands below your shoulders and knees under your hips, exhale and create a dome shape to cat pose, the spine towards the sky. On the inhale come back to table. To this movement and breath add pelvic floor gathering and release. A full Cow Pose (with head and tailbone lifted) is not recommended with diastasis recti.
Movement releases tension and this posture is great for the spine and to strengthen the core and your pelvic floor.
Standing poses help us build strength, balance and confidence.
Step your left foot back, heel off the floor as you bend the right knee and your arms flow up to Crescent Moon Pose. Align the spine, drop the shoulders down, open your heart centre, ground your feet to the earth. Now come to Warrior II as the left heals goes down to the floor and your hips open gently to the left, front knee always bent. One arm in front of you, the other one behind. Feel the feet rooting down and the opposing energies from your arms. Check your spine. A gentle tone in your belly and the pelvic floor. Keep dancing from Crescent Moon Pose to Warrior II Pose.
Hold your baby in your arms. Standing with legs shoulder-width apart, start moving the hips in circles. Keep the pelvic floor activated as you move your hips. If you feel good and want to try more, widen your stance and bend your knees a bit more. Dance! Smile! Have fun!
At the end of your practice, take a moment to lay still, on your back in Savasana or side to let your body and mind relax and take in the practice you have just done. Maybe sing a song to the baby…
About Alexa Dean
Alexa is a Yoga Teacher, Doula, Hypnobirthing Childbirth Educator, Massage Therapist and Placenta Remedies Specialist. She is passionate about active, positive and conscious birth and supporting pregnant women and new parents through the amazing transformation that parenthood brings forth. She encourages her mamas to enjoy their pregnancy and to feel the empowerment obtained through knowledge and understanding of the process of birth. Her classes with mums-to-be and mums with babies are fun and are offered with an open mind and open heart. The vibe is upbeat, nurturing and friendly. For more info visit her website
Alexa teaches Mummy & Me (Dads Welcome) at:
Fridays 12:45-14:15. To book click here.
Wednesdays 10:30-12:00. To book click here
Mum and Baby Chelsea / Postnatal Chelsea
Mum and Baby Shoreditch / Postnatal Shoreditch
London Bengkung Belly Binding
What is a Bengkung Belly Wrap?
Bengkung Belly Binding is the art of wrapping a postpartum women’s belly for physical support and to help hasten the recovery process after childbirth. This belly binding technique uses a long strip of 100% natural cotton cloth to wrap around the abdomen from the hips to the ribcage.
Belly wrap in a variety of forms has been practiced by cultures throughout the world for generations. Bengkung Belly Binding comes to the West from Malaysia, where Malay women begin binding about day 4 and bind for at least 40 days postpartum to help support the healing process.
Benefits of Bengkung Belly Wrap
Bengkung is said to have healing properties which include:
– Supporting the internal organs
– Assisting in abdominal wall retraction (including with diastasis recti)
– Encouraging good posture
– Improving circulation
– Reducing water retention
– Closing the hips and the rib cage
– Decreasing postpartum bleeding time
– Supporting the pelvic floor
– Lessening afterpains
– Encouraging spinal realignment to a pre-pregnancy state
Women should be wrapped as soon they can after birth, ideally on day four or five postpartum. The belly bind should be worn daily for 12 hours a day for at least 40 days or longer. After a cesarean birth women should wait at least 6 weeks until the incision is mostly healed before they are wrapped.
Bengkung belly binding is different than western girdles and corsets. The goal with Bengkung binding is not a flatter tummy but overall holistic healing.
Bengkung Belly Wrap Service London
Three sessions at your home which include:
- Application of a postpartum healing belly balm and a relaxing Abdominal-Sacral Massage
- Belly Bind paste application
- Belly Binding instruction to teach you how to bind yourself daily at home. A friend or family member is welcome to learn so they can help wrap you at home
- Includes your own Bengkung Belly Bind Kit
Price: £250 – three sessions (60mins each)
Email Alexa for bookings and more info