“Yoga” was one of Google’s most searched-for words in 2016.
What is it about yoga that draws so much of us in? For many, it is the promise of a better overall lifestyle. Less stress, greater happiness, and a fitter physique are yours if you can carve out the time to unroll a mat and learn some basic yoga poses for new moms.
New mums find yoga particularly beneficial. A lack of sleep, self-doubt, and stress can all play a roll in an overall sense of malaise.
What are the benefits of yoga after pregnancy? How can you best alter your yoga practice to support your new lifestyle? Which yoga poses are best for strengthening our lower back and reducing lower back pain?
Here’s what we found.
1. Increased Flexibility
Flexibility is the ability to move muscles and joints through their complete range. A lack of flexibility during pregnancy can reduce your range of motion and can lead to muscle tears and the reduction of muscle cartilage. Chronically over-tight muscle groups can pull your body out of alignment.
Try a cat stretch pose, where you come onto all fours with your arms shoulder-width apart. Bring your arms into the floor and your spine into a neutral position. Inhale and arch your spine to open up your sit bones.
Half-moon poses and high lunges can also help you to stretch your muscles comfortably without overworking them.
A warrior pose with a shoulder bind can help counteract the sore shoulders and back that result from constantly feeding and carrying your beautiful new baby.
Start out in a traditional warrior I pose to alleviate tight hips and strengthen your lower body. Then interlace your fingers and connect your wrists to create a shoulder bind.
Bend forward with your chest towards the earth and place the same side shoulder inside your front knee. Hold the pose for three-to-five breaths. If at any point you feel too much tension, stop and try again when you are more comfortable.
When you are looking for a deep backbend and even more heart opening, try the Camel pose. Arch your back and open your heart to the sky. Begin to reach toward your ankles if you feel comfortable.
Camel pose will open up your heart. If you feel light-headed, be sure to come out of it gradually.
2. Improved Metabolism and Weight Loss
The key to postpartum workouts is to take it easy. Doctors usually recommend waiting six weeks after a regular birth and even longer after a C-section to become active.
When your doctor gives you the okay, you can start doing yoga again. You will need to listen to your body and not push too hard.
If you are breastfeeding, you may not be comfortable in poses that squash your chest.
During a regular vinyasa yoga class, you may want to try other poses during long sequences.
Gentle postpartum poses can get your metabolism going and your body back in shape again. Bridge poses can help with anxiety and alleviate stress and mild depression. They are also a great way to get your muscles flexing again.
Once you are ready, the boat poses practiced for ten minutes a day can work on building muscle tone again in your abdomen.
Sun salutations are also great for engaging your entire body and boosting positivity. They are also great for your endocrine system. You can slowly work up to triangle poses.
Focus on toning up and maintaining a healthy lifestyle rather than losing weight. Cut down on bad fats but make sure you are eating lots of protein and good fats. If you feel healthy and nurtured, it’s easier to make sure your baby will too.
3. Improved Mental Health
Yoga has been known to provide excellent benefits for women suffering from postpartum depression. It naturally increases serotonin levels, so you will begin to feel happier and more nurtured.
Through breathing and encouraging your body to flow through poses, you can change the pattern of your heartbeats. This will dominate any pattern of stress that has taken over your body. Yoga can slow down your body and make it easier for you to breathe.
The mindfulness in yoga can make you aware of any physical and mental pain in your body. It teaches you to be kinder to yourself. You will be less likely to react emotionally and keep the depressive cycle going.
Yoga mindfulness allows you to step back, take a deep breath, and center yourself. The breathing practice is something you can carry into your daily life to help manage feelings of being stressed-out and overwhelmed.
Yoga can decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body. This can bring relief from depression and lower your risk of stress-related illnesses such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
Yoga changes the firing patterns of nerves and the chemical makeup of the body’s fluids and blood gases that act as a relaxation response. Relaxing into a yoga pose through deep breathing will lower your brain’s threshold for responding to threats.
At a more practical level, yoga can get you out of the house and doing something just for you. Busy new moms may find a yoga class to be like a relaxing mini-retreat from the daily stresses of life.
4. Better Sleep Patterns
Many new mums are tired because they can only sleep when the baby does. Some mothers find it difficult to sleep during the day or intermittently throughout the night.
Postpartum yoga encourages total relaxation that can help you sleep better at night. It can help you sleep longer, fall asleep faster, and experience better quality sleep.
Those with healthy sleep patterns find it easier to lose weight and keep it off. You will have an improved mood and get sick less often. It will also help keep your mind clear so you can maintain healthier relationships.
5. Improved Digestion
Postpartum yoga can help with common digestive problems such as bloating, constipation, and cramping. It can send lots of oxygen-rich blood into your digestive organs to improve their function.
Yoga also calms down the sympathetic nervous system that regulates your body’s breathing, heart rate, and digestion. Yoga movements also increase peristalsis or the movement of food through the intestines.
Even a simple Savasana can lead blood away from your extremities and into your digestive organs.
6. Strengthens Immunity
The last thing you want to be is sick when you have a little one to care for.
Yoga can help lower the stress hormones that will compromise your immune system. It will also condition your lungs and immune system to push toxins out of your body. Oxygenated blood will return to your organs to keep them functioning optimally.
Yoga provides a gentle, natural means of supporting your immune system, no matter how busy your schedule is.
Many new mums find comfort knowing that they can practice yoga without leaving the home through online classes or videos. This is also a great way to avoid having to pay for childcare.
Take advantage of your baby’s naptime to pop in a video and put your mat on the living room floor. If you are a working mum, yoga during a lunch break can be a great release. If you are an early bird, use your first waking hours to do some deep breathing and stretching.
As your kids get older, you may want to practice yoga together. Search the internet for good videos and show them on your TV screen. This helps create bonding time while you get in shape!
7. Tips For Yoga After Pregnancy
Many new mums find it helpful to practice yoga on an empty stomach. Allow at least twenty minutes after drinking and three hours after eating before practicing postpartum yoga.
Be sure to follow sequences in the order given to avoid injury. Stop immediately or modify exercises if you feel tension or pain. Avoid any deep stretches that could cause damage to your ligaments.
Many yoga studios offer postnatal or even baby-and-me yoga classes. It gives you a chance to meet other mothers and bond with your baby. Workout buddies can also keep you motivated and returning week after week.
As you form new friendships, it is important to remember not to compare yourself to other mums. Your journey is unique, and you will need to continually congratulate yourself on making the effort to do something good for your body.
Yoga after pregnancy can seem intimidating. A yoga practice designed for post pregnancy, however, can help you lose weight, sleep better, and regain the sense of poise and well-being that you crave.