Postpartum yoga can be very beneficial if practiced at the right time and using the right advice. When you begin practicing postpartum yoga you should use all the modification for second and third trimester, just like you used during your prenatal yoga practice.
Make sure to deepen the forward-bending movements very gradually and avoid straining the abdominal muscles too much. Be very gentle with your body.
It is best to wait 6 weeks after giving birth before practicing yoga or to start type of exercise activity. At your six week follow up appointment ask your health care professional if you can start doing yoga.
Also, it is advisable to wait three months after giving birth before resuming a full yoga practice. There are certain poses you should not perform yet.
This waiting period allows your uterus to shrink and wait until all of the lochia (postpartum bleeding) has been expelled from your uterus to avoid causing cramping and prolonged bleeding.
A Word of Caution!
Three months after giving birth (this time is also called by many "the fourth trimester") your muscles, ligaments and joints are still soft from the pregnancy and birth, making you more prone to injuries.
If you had a C-section, you will need to wait a lot longer before beginning postpartum yoga. In this case, ask your doctor.
You can definitely loss you baby weight simply by doing 20 minutes of yoga a day! But you still need to listen to your body and do your best without pushing for fast weight loss.
There is so much pressure on women these days about losing baby weight, that drives me insane! I talk to postpartum women all the time that feel sad, depressed and unattractive because of their baby weight.
I am not sure why they show on TV how celebrities that gain lots of weight during pregnancy, loose it in just a few weeks.
I do not believe that can be possibly healthy for you. Maybe I am a bit jealous, Ok, I admit to that, but I am not overweight and I eat healthy and I still struggled to lose those extra pounds after my pregnancies!
The struggle really comes from the pressure, because when you let go of the pressure and start enjoying your postpartum period with your baby, you realise that your body simply needs time.
Honouring this time is the key to a happy postpartum.
This is what postpartum yoga can do for you!
The benefits of postpartum yoga are so many, here are just the main 5 every postpartum woman needs to know:
Postpartum Depression and Yoga
Postpartum yoga helps prevent and alleviate postpartum depression. As you practice breathing techniques during yoga your create balance in your nervous and endocrine systems.
The result is an increased ability to deal with stress and less susceptibility to anxiety, sadness and depression.
When the body produces less stress hormones a state of mental and physical wellness is achieved.
Postpartum Yoga Safety Measures
Your postpartum body may be very different than the body you had before getting pregnant.
You will have to work with the body you have now, not the one you had nine months ago.
If you are breastfeeding, you may be uncomfortable lying on your stomach in poses that press your chest.
Also, do not forget to wear breast pads!
What to Expect During Postpartum Yoga
If this is the first time you practice yoga, you will find that the poses are easy to learn and you will immediately feel more relaxed and at ease. You will also have the opportunity to meet other new moms and share your postpartum experiences.
Do yourself a favour though, do not compare yourself to them and most of all do not compare your baby's growth or developmental milestones to those of other's. Remember, you are unique. Relax, enjoy motherhood and trust your body and your baby.
In most mom and baby postpartum yoga classes, moms places a baby blanket from home overtop their yoga mat so the baby can lie on the blanket happily for the duration of the entire class.
Depending on your baby's age, you can bring a few toys to keep him or her entertained while you practice postpartum yoga.
The nice thing about a mom and baby class is that you are totally free to pick up your baby and feed him or her, change the diaper, etc.
The following are a few of the best postpartum yoga poses that can help you build strength, align your pelvic floor and tone your legs, spine and abs.
1. Lie with your stomach to the floor, your toes pointed on the floor, and your palms flat at shoulder width.
2. Press your thighs your palms into the floor and extending your arms.
3. Lift up your chest.
Cobra opens the upper back and chest, and strengthens the lower back, inner thighs, and pelvic floor; it also helps relieve stress and fatigue.
Many postpartum yoga classes offer Mom and Baby classes. Those are the ones I recommend. This allows you to bring your baby with you to the class. Some poses are done with your baby to enhance bonding and stimulate the baby.
If you are able to have someone care for the baby while you go to class, you will be more relaxed and be able to focus just on you, which is a very important aspect of postpartum. Otherwise, bring your baby with you and try to have as much as fun as possible.
Remember, postpartum is a time of healing, bonding, caring and most of all, it is the time to give unconditional love to yourself and your growing family.
The following yoga poses are for you and your baby. They are easy to perform and so much fun.
I would recommend putting a blanket on the floor to keep your baby warm.
Getting Started with Yoga During Postpartum
By doing yoga on a regular bases your body will benefit at every level mental, emotional and physical. You can practice 10 minutes of yoga every day to gain a sense of relaxation during your busy day or if you feel stressed, depressed and sluggish. Doing you favourite yoga pose will pick you up, guaranteed!
Even when tired you can always find a yoga pose that will soothe you.
The biggest benefit of doing yoga during postpartum is that you increase your metabolic rate stimulating fat burning allowing healthy weight loss without increasing stress to your body.
Another added benefit is that you can practice yoga in your own living room with your baby next to you! My kids used to enjoy watching me doing yoga and when they began to sit, crawl and walk, they would join me. What a great time!
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