Postpartum Yoga For Recovery After Child Birth

Postpartum yoga can strengthen your body, provides you energy and help you to relax in spite of your busy schedule as a new mother. A simple yoga practice can put you on path to recover your health, lose weight and helps you to avoid postpartum depression.

Physical and emotional stress is high particularly after first baby. A new mother has to cope with general weakness, hormonal changes and sleepless nights while caring for the baby.

Challenges After Child Birth

Yoga can be most effective way of getting back in shape by toning abdominal muscles and provide strength to back, leg and hip muscles. Postpartum yoga can be easier if you have previous experience of doing yoga. You can start with easy poses at home. Newbies to yoga need to start doing yoga under guidance.

When to Start Yoga?

Your body should have healed and should have sufficient strength to start yoga. With normal delivery you can start practice after six weeks of delivery. Women who have undergone Caesarean procedure may need more time before they can start with yoga.

Precautions Before Starting Postpartum Yoga

  • To ensure  your fitness, consult your doctor before doing yoga.
  • Initially do not push your body beyond limits. Choose only the poses you feel comfortable.
  • Initial aim of your yoga practice is to get more of rest and relaxation. Gradually your body will regain strength and you can do more asanas.
  • With regular practice you will get back into shape.
  • Be patient, learn the yoga poses correctly and follow correct technique.

Why to Start Yoga?

new mother Photo Courtesy EraPhernalia Vintage

Be focused with your yoga practice. As a general guideline you must strive to achieve the aims listed below. These aims are listed in the descending order of priority.

Restorative Yoga.  During this period of two to three months, you can practice more of easy poses, shavasana, rhythmic breathing and yoga nidra.

Relaxation and Proper sleep. Make adequate use of shavasana, yoga nidra and meditation to achieve proper relaxation and to ensure sound sleep.

Eat healthy.  Eat healthy and nutritious yogic diet which is easy to digest.

Strength And Flexibility.  Yoga provides both physical and emotional strength. Yoga practice helps to rebuild muscles of legs, hips and abdomen. Regular yoga practice of asanas and pranayama along with sattvik diet will improve your flexibility.

Toning of Abdominal Muscles.  Once you get enough strength, focus on  excercising of abdomen muscles.

Weight Loss.  Weight loss will naturally follow if you can take care of your diet and do regular yoga.  issues mentioned above.

Start With Pranayama And Relaxation

Initially start with rhythmic deep breathing, anulom vilom and shavasana (corpse pose). These will provide much needed rest and relaxation and also condition your body for full fledged yoga practice.  Shavasana  itself will benefit you a lot.

During the day take 5 minutes break and lie down in shavasana (on a yoga mat put on the floor) to comfort your back.  Do rhythmic breathing while doing shavasana.

Try to breathe rhythmically during the day taking deep breaths. After some days your breathing will become deeper. Practice rhythmic breathin  whenever you have spare time during the day. If you can breathe deeply most of your problems will vanish.

Here is a link to free yoga breathing lessons. First start with only rhythmic breathing (10 minutes) and alom vilom (upto 10 or 15 minutes).

Make efforts to catch up with your sleep and try to stay relaxed.

Take care of your posture. Try to sit erect with spine straight while working or feeding the child. Initially you have to do some efforts, gradually you will be able to maintain correct sitting posture with ease.

Take a walk for 10-15 minutes whenever possible.

In addition to yoga, diet, mental make up (relaxation), proper sleep are very important. Therefore follow a simple and nutritious diet. Do not fear the calories if these are coming from healthy food choices as you need to build up strength.  If you do not eat junk, fried food, most likely you will not exceed your daily calorie intake. Follow a healthy yogic diet  with emphasis on getting enough fiber and nutrition.

Yoga Asanas

You may experience pain if you over do the asanas before your body is healed properly. Do not do asanas that you feel difficult. Initially, do not do asanas which require forward bending.

Yoga Asanas for Postpartum Yoga

Here is a list  of asanas which are comfortable for beginners:

  • Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
  • Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
  • Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) - Good for back pain 
  • Locust Pose (Shalabhasana)
  • Camel Pose (Ushtrasana)
  • Markatasna - Good for backache
  • Plank Pose

Do pranayama after doing asanas. In the end do shavasana for 5 to 10 minutes.

While doing pranayama you can sit in vajrasana. If you do not feel comfortable for sitting in vajra asana for long duration,  increase the duration of vajrasana gradually.  Meanwhile, do pranayama sitting in sukhasana or padmasana (lotus pose).

Weight Loss Through Postpartum Yoga

Once you gain adequate strength, aim to improve your yoga practice and concentrate on your abdominal muscles. These are the most difficult muscles to push back. Try the following for your abdomen. Gradually increase the repetitions and enjoy the results.

    Boat Pose (Navasana)
    Snake Pose (Sarp Asana)
    Kapalabhati Pranayama

Postpartum yoga can improve your quality of life and provide you with good health with regular practice.

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