7 Post-Pregnancy Yoga Poses We Love
Motherhood is so rewarding, but pregnancy can cause many mental and physical changes that can be difficult to cope with- such as muscle loss, tight muscles, tension, postpartum depression, exhaustion, weight gain, and more. Thankfully, yoga is an excellent practice that can add some relief for all these discomforts, help realign posture, or simply to remain calm and level-headed. Keep reading to learn about some excellent post-pregnancy yoga poses.
1. Rabbit Pose
After giving birth, doing yoga (or any exercise, for that matter) may seem intimidating. A great feature of Rabbit Pose is that it is incredibly gentle, and a great way to ease back in to exercise post-pregnancy! This yoga pose is a helpful yet gentle way to realign posture, stretch your arms and shoulders, as well as stimulate the internal organs and thyroid gland. To execute this pose, start in Child’s Pose. From Child’s Pose, hold onto your heels and pull your forehead in towards your keens, until the top of your head is on the floor. While inhaling, lift your hips upwards and press your forehead as close to your knees as you can. If this pose is uncomfortable or challenging, we recommend placing a folded blanket under the knees and/or head to help alleviate them from pressure and stress.
2. Bridge Pose
We mentioned bridge pose in our post on 10 Yoga Poses to Practice in Under 10 Minutes, but wanted to bring it up again here! We explained in our previous blog that this pose is incredibly simple and takes little time to execute. However, we want to add that this simple pose has many direct benefits for new moms! Bridge helps to stretch the hip flexors, shoulders and chest, which are all areas that may become tight after childbirth. After spending time sitting or lying with your baby, try this pose to alleviate discomfort and feel more relaxed. To do this pose, lie on your back, bend your knees, and place your feet flat on the floor. Next, simply press down into your arms and shoulders to raise your spine and lift the chest up.
3. ‘Legs Up The Wall’ Pose
Let’s all be honest - newborn babies are so exciting, but being a mom can also be so exhausting. Waking up to care of them can cause restless nights and a lot of fatigue, so much so that our daily Starbucks run doesn’t cut it! Luckily, this yoga pose can help to alleviate some of that exhaustion. Viparita Karani, more commonly known as ‘legs up the wall’, is a great way to open the chest, allowing you to take deep breaths. This pose also gives more blood circulation towards the upper body, which can be incredibly refreshing and even alleviate headaches. If lying with your back on the ground feels uncomfortable, try placing a foam block or blanket under your lower back. Taking a few minutes to do this pose will definitely assist in allowing you to feel more rejuvenated and rebalanced.
We know that the idea of doing a plank can sound a little intimidating for some readers, especially our new moms! However, this version is highly accessible and wayyy less intense than a traditional forearm plank. When first attempting this pose, we recommend placing your knees on the ground if needed in order to get acclimated to this pose. Once you feel comfortable, attempt trying a full plank as pictured. Try practicing this pose in time increments, eventually building yourself up to a minute! We love this pose for recent moms because it is an excellent way to gain that abdominal strength back. After giving birth, moms can definitely experience weaker tummy muscles, which makes complete sense considering we've had a basketball inside our stomach, and our abs are being crammed and not really in a position to be doing much! This pose will help regain that core tightening and start rebuilding muscle! Tightening and squeezing your body in Plank can also can be a great full body strength workout and help tone up those other areas that you might not be feeling as confident about (hmmm, such as that booty and thighs) as you did 9.5 months ago (it's okay sister, we all go through it!). Although it may be challenging at first, this pose can be incredibly rewarding and helpful in the end!
5. Cat-Cow Stretching
As a new mother, you may notice neck or back pain from constantly nursing or cradling over your baby. If so, this yoga pose is for you, because it can help relieve pain in these areas! We also recommend this sequence to anyone that spends their day at work hunched over a computer screen, as this pose can help bring mobility to the spine. Transitioning from cat pose to cow pose is simple. All you need to do is move your back from an arched position (cow) to rounded position (cat).
Post-partum depression is something that is rarely discussed, but something SO many new moms out there can face. After giving birth, a woman's body makes a complicated physiological switch, and yoga can totally help a woman keep a healthy relationship with her body and mind. One pose we recommend to help cope with post-partum depression is Sukhasana, or ‘easy pose’. This is a simple cross-legged sitting pose. While doing this pose, make sure to focus on your breathing. While inhaling, visualizing places, people, or things that make you feel happy and at peace. On the exhale release feelings of doubt, frustration, or who you "should" be as a mother. This exercise can be practiced in as little as 30 seconds or as long as you would like, but will definitely help you feel stress-free and refreshed.
7. Downward Facing Dog
Our final post-pregnancy yoga pose we wanted to share with you today is downward facing dog! We’re pretty sure everyone reading probably recognizes this pose, even those who may not participate in yoga on a daily basis. Despite this, we knew we needed to include Down Dog because of the benefits it can provide for postpartum women specifically. After carrying a baby for months (and then delivering) the pelvic floor can become far less strong than it once was. Luckily, this pose helps to keep the pelvic floor and uterus contracted, which allows for them to become strengthened. Postpartum or not, this pose is also a good way to relieve all-over body tension, because by doing this pose you strengthen muscles all over your body- such as in your arms, chest, and lower back! If you're in the mood to make this pose a little more challenging, try lifting your right leg as high as possible and extending your left arm behind you! Just an added bonus to burn a few extra cals and throw in some body strengthening :)
We hope all the new moms out there enjoyed reading this post on post-pregnancy yoga poses. If we failed to include your favorite post-pregnancy yoga pose, share it with us in the comments below. Finally, thanks again to our Instagram followers for suggesting this idea to us! If you ever would like to see certain content on our blog, make sure to DM us on Instagram or Facebook to let us know so that we can make it happen.