There are a lot of misconceptions about yoga. From needing to be flexible to it being its own religion, the fact is that yoga can be good for everyone with postnatal yoga being especially beneficial for new mums.
When Can I Start?
Mums who gave birth vaginally and who don’t have any significant bleeding can usually begin a postnatal yoga regime about six weeks after delivering their baby. Mothers who had a cesarean section may need to wait another couple of weeks.
There’s no hard-and-fast rule as to when you can start postnatal yoga. The best way to determine whether your body is ready is to check in with your doctor or midwife. These health professionals will also check for other issues, including diastasis recti, to help you plan the most effective exercise routine for your physical and mental healing.
At Home or a Studio?
A lot of new mums opt to start yoga in the comfort of their own homes. This way, you don’t have to worry about arranging for child care, or feeling silly if you stumble or fall when trying to strike a pose.
With that said, postnatal yoga classes may be more beneficial if you aren’t experienced with yoga and if you’re hoping to make some new mama friends. Your yoga instructor will help you get the most out of the class by guiding you through the best postnatal poses for your mind, body and spirit. Many of these classes are also “Baby & Me” style so you can bring your little one along for your workout session.
It’s Not About Perfection – It’s About the Journey
If “looking silly” or “failing” to stay balanced is keeping you away from postnatal yoga, quash those fears now. Experienced yogis know that the practice of yoga is about trying something new and fresh rather than aiming for perfection.
Physically and mentally challenging ourselves leads to a number of positive outcomes, especially for new moms. Some of the key benefits of postnatal yoga include:
- Relieving back pain
- Strengthening and tightening the pelvic floor, abdominal muscles, lower back and hip muscles
- Nourishing and restoring our internal organs
- Calming the nervous system
- Increasing our immune response
- Reducing fatigue
Top Postnatal Poses for Mum
- Kegel Exercises
This exercise helps restore the pelvic floor, which becomes weakened during pregnancy and birth.
Start by lying on your back, sitting cross-legged or in Child’s Pose. Then quickly draw up and squeeze the muscles used to stop your flow of urine. Hold for five seconds and then release for five seconds, repeating this sequence ten times.
- Warrior I with Shoulder Bind
Sore neck and shoulders are common for new mamas, and this pose will help you stretch them out and reduce that pain.
Place your right foot forward and your left foot behind you. Bend forward until your knee is over the ankle, aiming to create a 90-degree angle. Then draw your hands upward above your head, interlacing your fingers as you reach upwards and over your head with your biceps beside your ears. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds and switch legs.
- Pelvic Tilts
Take any abdominal exercises slowly after giving birth. Pelvic tilts are a great way to start strengthening your core without the risk of overdoing the exercise.
Lie on your back and tuck your belly button in towards your spine, so your back is completely flat. When you exhale, tilt your pelvis upwards. When you inhale, tilt your pelvis back. Continue this move 20 times.
All mums need some “me” time for ourselves, even if that time is only five to ten minutes, compared to the hours during which we tend to our newest bundles of joy. Try out the above poses or stop by your local yoga studio to give yourself the much-deserved gift of physically and mentally dealing with the new pleasures and pressures of motherhood.