Yoga can be an ideal workout for postpartum women because it relieves stress, helps regulate breathing, and can help sore muscles regenerate. Not only has your pelvic floor gone through a proverbial war as you’ve grown and birthed your child, but your abs have likely forgotten how to, you know, ab. And since 64 percent of postpartum moms feel that their body image gets worse after they become mothers, according to a recent BabyCenter survey, yoga is a great way to reconnect with your body. Jyothi Larson, author of Yoga Mom, Buddha Baby, tells Parents “Yoga is a wonderful tool for becoming better acquainted with your body.” And according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Mindfulness Cognitive Therapy, which combines the mindfulness techniques of yoga and deep breathing with traditional behavior therapy, can “reduce a mom’s odds of experiencing depression and it’s impacts.”
Tailoring a yoga workout to benefit your postpartum body means choosing poses that don’t force you to push you past a certain limit. Larson tells Parents, “Yoga’s emphasis on breathing and moving simultaneously helps you breath more deeply.” The point of yoga isn’t to bench a certain number of pounds or “get your pre-pregnancy body back” or any other goal that can, and usually is, problematic for a postpartum woman. Instead, it’s to help you feel connected to yourself, heal slowly, and to provide you with an opportunity to be surrounded by other women in a postnatal class that know what you’re going through.
Of course, it’s vital you discuss postpartum yoga with your doctor prior to trying any of the following poses, just to make sure it’s safe for you to do so. After all, every body is different.
Balasana (Child’s Pose)
To do this move, Yoga Basics says to first put yourself into table pose (on all fours). Next, exhale and lower your hips into your heels, placing your forehead against the floor. You can put your arms over or under — wherever they’re most comfortable — then you take full, deep breaths, pushing your stomach onto your thighs with every inhale. When you take a breath in, it’s suggested you hold each for a count of 4-12 beats.