Learn some safe and gentle postpartum yoga poses for brand new moms!
People have known for centuries that doing yoga on a regular basis has some great physical and mental health benefits.
Doing yoga brings together breathing exercises, poses, and meditation to reduce stress and encourage physical and mental wellbeing.
The benefits of yoga are even greater for new mothers.
But, one thing you might be wondering is if doing any type of exercise right after giving birth is a good thing or not.
Here are ten amazing postpartum yoga poses that are gentle and safe for you to do, even if you have had a cesarean section.
The Benefits of PostPartum Yoga
Yoga has some awesome benefits for new mothers.
It can help to rebuild your muscle tone and improve flexibility which can help to reduce postpartum back pains.
While you are pregnant, your body produces relaxin in order to prepare for the delivery, yoga can help to maintain spinal integrity and prevent overstretching of your ligaments.
Yoga can also help with toning your upper body and stretching out your shoulders and back, which are prone to poor posture during pregnancy and while breastfeeding or pumping.
Postpartum yoga is also great for your mental health and can help to ward off those baby blues, especially if you are taking a postpartum yoga class and are able to connect with other moms and adorable babies in the community.
We all know that having a newborn can be challenging, postpartum yoga can also help you to develop more patience for your little one with the use of breathing and meditation techniques.
Incorporating yoga into your daily routine can also help you to develop a workout routine if you were not already used to following one. Just be sure to consult with your doctor before you start any workout routine, especially if you have had a cesarean section.
Postpartum Yoga Poses
1. Corpse Pose
The corpse pose is the easiest of all the yoga poses and a great pose for relaxation and meditation.
It helps to calm the mind, reduce fatigue and stress, relieve headache pain, and improve your quality of sleep. It is very easy to to pretty much anywhere and is a great end to a gentle yoga session.
Simply lay flat on the floor on your back with your feet relaxed and your palms face up by your sides.
Also make sure your shoulders are relaxed and not kinked up to your neck.
Don’t just flop and lay on the floor, work yourself into the position by adjusting your body until you are in a comfortable and relaxed position.
Relax your mind and focus on your breathing trying to just let your mind be calm and not think about anything that might cause stress.
If you find it difficult to lay flat on your back, you can place a folded towel or small pillow under the small of your back.
2. The Child’s Pose
The child’s pose is a very easy pose to get started with and is great for stretching out your back.
This is a great pose to squeeze in after a pumping session. It also works well for transitioning between poses and just about anyone can do it.
This works especially well when transitioning from downward dog if you are doing a yoga flow.
While kneeling on your mat, bring your knees as wide as the mat with your big toes together sitting on your feet.
There are two different variations of this pose. For the first variation, bring your arms down to your sides with your palms facing up while bending at the hips and bringing your head to the floor and your belly on your knees.
The second variation you bring your arms directly out in front of you in line with your hips to elongate and stretch out your spine.
Keep your forehead on the mat and your neck in line with your arms while focusing on your breathing.
3. Cat and Cow
The Cat and Cow positions together are great for stretching out your back and the perfect move to prepare for downward dog.
This is also a great move to do right in the beginning of your practice to help open up the spine and get everything moving.
Start in a tabletop position with your hand flat on the mat, your back parallel to the floor, knees on the floor, and toes pointed down.
Spread your hands as wide as they can go and push down through all of your toes and fingers. To get a really good stretch in your back, first perform the cat and cow positions. For cat round your back and shoulders with your head dropped between your arms, hold that for a one full breathe.
Then transition into cow by bringing your head up and dropping your chest and bringing your shoulders blades together. Hold this for one breathe.
Then bring your back, back into neutral position and hold for one more breathe.
4. Downward Facing Dog
This is one of the more well known yoga poses out there.
It is great for lengthening your spine and strengthening your arms.
And as moms we can always use a little extra upper body strength to carry around our little ones!
I would very cautious doing this pose after having a c-section as it can create come pressure in the abdomen area.
It is great to go into this pose from the cat and cow position or tabletop with a neutral spine parallel to the floor. Bring your hips up with your head between your arms looking towards your toes.
Press your weight down and forward into your palms and keep your arms elongated and stretched out. To come out of the pose, gently drop the knees back to the floor and return to the neutral table top position.
5. Forearm Plank
This is a wonderful pose for strengthening your core, which is greatly needed after you haven’t used your stomach muscles for nine months.
It helps you to engage your core and build your core back up.
In order to perform this move start in a kneeling position.
Lower your upper body down onto the floor with your elbows right under your shoulders. Then stretch out your legs with your toes on the floor going into a plank position like you would for a pushup.
Make sure you are breathing through this pose while engaging your core and NOT holding your breathe.
If you are able to, come up from your elbows onto your hands and elongating your arms and pushing into the floor into a traditional plank.
6. Ragdoll Roll
The ragdoll roll is great for stretching out your hamstrings and hips.
It helps to relieve tension and stress and can be very meditative.
This is also a very simple pose you can perform just about anywhere to help you feel more relaxed and relieve tension. This pose is also great to squeeze in after a pumping or a breastfeeding session to help stretch out your back.
Start by slightly bending the knees and roll the body down with your whole upper body hang with ease to loosen up.
Then take and cross your arms in front of you holding on to the elbows making sure your head is relaxed and not holding on to tension. Then begin to sway from side to side while taking deep breaths. Then relax the arms down and let them dangle and sway.
Then to end the pose slowly roll the body up to standing position.
7. Legs Up a Wall
This is an incredibly easy and relaxing yoga pose to do.
It helps with relieving headache pain and to get a better nights sleep (which we all need more of with little ones around!).
You can easily get into this position by sitting next to a wall, laying back and then placing your legs vertical against a wall until your back and legs are at a 90 degree angle. Once you legs are on the wall you can scoot your butt back to the wall to achieve the 90 degree angle for your back and legs.
Place your arms by your sides with your palms facing up and your head in a neutral position. You can get an even deeper stretch when you place a folded blanket or a pillow underneath your lower back to create a pocket for your butt to lay in.
8. Chair Pose
The chair pose is another great pose for building up your core muscles, hip flexors, and your lower back.
This one might be a little more difficult if you don’t have naturally strong leg muscles, but it will work for building up those quads!
To perform, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and sweep your arms up in the air with your palms facing each other as you slowly lower yourself down like you are going to sit in a chair.
Focus on your breathing!
You should be able to see your toes, if not, pull your hips back a little further. Hold that position for a few breathes then stand up again with your arms still up then bring your hands together in front of your chest to end.
9. Bridge Pose
The bridge pose is great for relieving mild depression and anxiety. It is also a great and simple strengthening pose for the back, hamstrings, and glutes while helping to stretch the hips, spine, neck, and chest.
To perform, lay on your back with your feet flat on the floor hip distance apart as close to your butt as possible.
While keeping your arms by your side, gently lift up your tailbone towards the ceiling while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Then moving your hands behind your back, interlock your fingers pressing the pinky side of your hands towards the floor.
All the while pressing your hands and feet into the floor and breathing.
10. Boat Pose
The boat pose can be a little more difficult for some people, especially those that are not used to using their ab muscles often.
However, it is great for helping to increase abdominal strength for those that suffer from diastasis recti, or a separation of the abdomen which many women suffer from postpartum.
If you have had a c-section though, it would be wise to hold off on this pose until you are completely healed as to not rip any stitches.
While in a normal sitting position bring your knees to your chest and keep your back elongated and straight.
While keeping your hands at the back of your thighs, walk your feet on to your tip toes and slowly lift your legs up so your toes are pointed to the ceiling. Put your arms straight out in front of you with your palms facing up.
Then gently lean back just a bit to create a large V shape with your body.
You can add a level or difficulty to this pose by “pulsing” or slightly raising your arms and breathing while in the position.
Postpartum Yoga For New Moms
Doesn’t this look fun to do?
And what’s best is that these are gentle enough to do next to your newborn.
She can watch you down at her level when doing these yoga poses!
As well, these poses are great if you only have a few minutes to squeeze in a pose or two – and trust me, that’s pretty much what you’ll have every day as a new mom!
You can also put them all together into a yoga flow session to do while your little one is napping.
Doing these poses on a regular basis will help to strengthen your core, relieve tension and stress, and create more mindfulness in your daily life.
Over to you – have you recently given birth and are looking for a gentle exercise routine? Maybe try some postpartum yoga!
Share with me your favorite yoga pose in the comments!
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