Pregnancy is a journey that completely transforms your body. After the nine months or so of gestating and creating a little human, the concept of reclaiming your body as your own and feeling normal again can seem inconceivable. Many women will attempt to jump right back into their pre-pregnancy workout routine in hopes of toning up and losing the pregnancy weight. But as any new momma can tell you, it’s something that’s much easier said than done.
If this sounds all too familiar, it might be time to give postnatal yoga a try. Yoga is perfect for calming emotional stress, balancing postpartum hormones and building up strength and flexibility – all things a woman who has recently given birth needs.
So, what types of yoga poses are best in the postnatal period and how frequently should you practice? Here’s a few guidelines for gently easing into your postnatal yoga routine.
Strength Building Postnatal Yoga Poses
Let’s be honest. Pregnancy and childbirth are like a nine month marathon that takes over your entire body. At the end of it, you’re tired with sore and fatigued muscles that you didn’t even know existed. In fact, many women are surprised by the way pregnancy and childbirth affect some of their muscles and postnatal yoga is great way to strengthen them. Here are a few poses to get you started.
Child pose is one of the most relaxing and comforting of yoga poses, and it’s well suited for the postnatal body. If you’ve recently had a caesarean birth, you might want to place a soft pillow between your stomach and your thighs as a cushion.
Once you’re in child’s pose, add to it by including those Kegel exercises your doctor has been telling you to do and hold for a count of 5. This combination stretches the back and core muscles while strengthening the pelvic floor.
This pose is excellent for the postpartum body because it stretches and tones the abdominal muscles while putting little stress on them. However, maybe the best postpartum benefit of this pose is that it strengthens and reduces tension from the neck, shoulders and arms – areas that are likely fatigued from all that newborn snuggle time.
Camel pose is perfect for increasing your flexibility, but it’s also one of the best yoga exercises for balancing emotions. According to yogic beliefs, the camel pose opens the heart chakra and allows for a free flow of energy. This can be very balancing for women who are feeling emotionally drained after childbirth.
Respecting Your Postnatal Body
It’s important to remember to be kind to your postnatal body and respect it for the tremendous work that it has recently done. You should discuss when the right time to start a regular yoga practice, or any other workout routine, with your doctor before beginning. Each woman heals at a different rate and it isn’t fair to compare your journey to anyone else’s.
Start by taking it slow and practicing yoga once or twice a week until you feel comfortable adding more in. And most importantly, respect your body at all times. If you’re breastfeeding or have a scar that’s healing, there will be certain positions that might feel uncomfortable to you. Don’t force your body and adapt the positions instead.
Yoga is very therapeutic for the postpartum body. We offer classes that suitable for any level, including those that are gentle and healing for new mothers. Contact Yogacorefit today to learn more.