Postpartum Yoga for Beginners
The best time to begin postpartum yoga is eight weeks after giving birth. You must focus on deep breathing to optimize the oxygenation of the body. These initial exercises are known as asanas.
Asanas are different body postures that’ll prepare the body and mind so that a month later you can gradually increase the level of difficulty.
Incorporating yoga into your postpartum routine shouldn’t be hard if you’re already used to doing it. However, know some consider it the only method for the physical, mental, and spiritual development of the human being if you’re going to try it for the first time, according to Indra Devi in her book Forever Young, Forever Healthy.
Thus, it restores tone to the muscles and, in turn, breathing and relaxation provide a state of emotional balance. In fact, it’s as restorative for mothers as taking a long nap.
In addition, yoga is an ally to reduce the stress of postpartum depression.
Check out these Tips to Manage Postpartum Depression and Stress
Considerations before starting
Ask your attending physician if you’re already allowed to exercise before you begin postpartum yoga. The times may vary according to the type of delivery, that is if it’s the childbirth was vaginal or via C-section. The latter requires a few more weeks of rest — around 12 to 16 weeks.
In addition, take into consideration that you’ll probably have to make a stop by the mall since you’ll need a series of basic accessories to begin. Here are some of them.
Wear comfortable clothes, preferably made of cotton
Make sure the clothes aren’t too tight if you opt for lycra as it may cause discomfort with some movements. The ideal outfits are those tight ones designed for postpartum that provide mobility.
A yoga mat
This is to place it on the floor so you can work on it. It’ll keep you from slipping when resting your hands, knees, and feet. Most importantly, it’ll offer stability when doing the poses, as well as protect you from the temperature of the floor.
Select one made with ecological materials such as natural rubber if you still don’t have one and intend to buy it. Other materials that’ll do are organic cotton or microfiber, ecological polyurethane, and even cork.
These are usually made of materials such as cork or foam. The least common ones are the wooden ones people used in the past. They’re practical as an extension of the body when you haven’t reached enough flexibility in a certain pose.
These bands help maintain proper alignment in any pose or asana you’re doing. They’re not entirely necessary but are a good complement to the exercises that correct the back’s position.
Things to avoid when practicing postpartum yoga
You should avoid orienting the practice towards postures that demand high levels of flexibility during the postpartum period. This is because the body is still in the process of recovery and adaptation. As you shouldn’t force it, stay away from crunches that exert a level of pressure in the area that can exacerbate pelvic problems.
Similarly, skip any exercises that trigger the discomfort that remains after childbirth by working the tone in the muscles. For example, those in which you must squat, especially if you’ve had hemorrhoids or a tear that required stitches.
We suggest that you go to a nearby location for weekly yoga practice. This way you can share your experiences with other moms and have expert assistance.
You can have your baby around, either in a stroller or by incorporating them in certain poses that help strengthen your bond. Look them in the eyes and smile at them. In fact, their inclusion is a good idea until they’re about seven months old.
Another alternative is to do it at home if it suits you best. Do it either with a remote guide or on your own if you already know what you’re doing. One or two sessions a week for 30 to 60 minutes will be enough to start.
Warm-up slowly. In addition, keep in mind that the increase in activity should be gradual. Furthermore, remain well-hydrated and wear a firm bra. Of course, stop any painful effort.
You can tone the pelvic floor, the abdominal girdle, the rearrangement of the internal organs, and the womb with postpartum yoga. It also helps align the spine and return it to its natural shape.
Here are some exercises you can do.
This exercise strengthens the abdominal muscles. It consists of lying on your back with your legs bent and your back completely flat on the floor.
Then, contract your abdominal muscles without shrinking your buttocks and tilt your pelvis backward — keeping your waist close to the floor.
Now, hold the position for about 10 seconds and repeat five times.
Kegel exercise in postpartum yoga
You can tone the pelvic floor muscles which support the uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum with these exercises. They’ll help you control urinary and anal incontinence.
Begin by contracting your abdominal muscles as if you want to stop peeing. Now, hold it for 10 seconds and then release. Subsequently, relax for 10 seconds between every contraction and do the series about three times a day with ten repetitions each time.
Ananda Balasana, or happy baby pose
Lie on your back and bring your knees up to your chest. Then, open them a little wider than the width of your hips. Now, keep your arms on the inside of your knees while using your hands to support your feet or ankles.
At this point, bend your knees so that the soles of your feet face upward and gently pull your feet down to lower them. Then, focus on relaxing the pelvic muscles in this pose for about 90 seconds.
This asana is great for warming up and stretching the hip region, lower back, and legs. It’ll help you fall asleep at the end of the day.
You can do this one sitting or standing, with your head and spine straight, and the ears in line with your shoulders. Bring your shoulder blades back as if seeking to join them together.
Then, hold it for one second, release it, and repeat it 15 times, three times a day.
The health benefits of postpartum yoga
We must highlight the emotional support that yoga provides to mothers during the postpartum period. This is through the conscious work of deep breathing by understanding “consciousness,” particularly from the Eastern definition that links it with a spiritual action and not as a mere mental operation.
For this reason, yoga offers balance just when feelings shift between joy, tiredness, optimism, exhaustion, hope, uncertainty and so many others. It’s a useful tool to cope with postpartum depression, a current reality made visible as a way to support and be there for mothers.
Another advantage is it accelerates the process of returning to optimal physical conditions before pregnancy. It’s also an ally to correct bad postures adopted in the back and neck. It allows you to regain stability, balance, and well-being comprehensively.
Final recommendations for doing postpartum yoga
You can find some DIY options on the internet to replace the blocks or the mat if you still don’t have the specific equipment to do postpartum yoga.
There are also many scientific and multimedia resources available to guide you on this journey.
Finally, keep in mind this isn’t a vehicle to lose weight and get back the figure you had before pregnancy. These exercises with breathing techniques are just part of a method that helps you connect with your inner self and your baby. It’s just a place where you can relax and meditate until you recharge and are ready to continue on your path of motherhood.