So you’ve successfully made it through the gestation period to the birth of your newborn. Congratulations. As exhausting and life-altering childbirth and motherhood are, the healing of a new mum’s body is just as crucial as the baby’s safety and health. So your post-partum recovery is a high priority.
No, this does not mean enrolling in/going back to a gym and immediately hitting those crunches. A regimen that is more soothing and mellow is much more advisable and this is entirely possible through the practice of specific yoga postures that are kind to the postpartum body.
Of course, most sleep-deprived new parents barely have time to think about, much less actually do, any exercise, when their life has just been turned upside down by a newborn! Exhausting days and debilitating nights hijacked by constant feeding, rocking, nappy changing, carrying etc leave little desire or energy for anything.
However, making time for regular yoga practice even if regular means just once a week (attending a class while someone takes care of baby or using an app at home while baby naps) rather than occasional sporadic sessions) can be highly effective and healing for a new mum.
So what exactly are the benefits of yoga for women who have recently undergone the intense process of child-birth and gestation period?
HERE ARE 12 REASONS WHY YOGA IS SO IMPORTANT FOR NEW MOTHERS!
1) Yoga Strengthens and Tightens the Pelvic Floor Muscles
If you gave birth naturally rather than via c-section, then a loose pelvic floor is normal after delivery. Drop the kegels and try yoga for strengthening and tightening the pelvic floor to help restore it to its original form.
Most Recommended Yoga Poses (Asanas): Mountain Pose (Tadasana), Chair Pose (Utkatasana), Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby), and Locust Pose (Salabhasana).
2) It Strengthens the Spine
Nine months of carrying another life inside one’s belly is bound to affect the agility and strength of one’s back. It is vital to recondition and strengthen the spine, which bears most of the load and this can be accomplished effectively with a regular yoga practice.
Most Recommended Asanas: Downward Dog Pose (Adho-Mukha-Svanasana), Bhujangasana(Cobra Pose), Phalakasana (Plank Pose), Camel Pose (Ustrasana), Cat Pose (Marjaryasana), Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
3.) Yoga Corrects Posture
Crouching, slouching, bending: these are common postures that expectant mothers seek comfort in when carrying a baby. This often leads to a tweaked posture which Yoga practice can safely and evidently help correct.
Most Recommended Yoga Asanas: Tree Pose (Vrikshasana), Cat- Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana), Bow Pose (Dhanurasana), Warrior Pose (Veerbhadrasana), Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho-Mukha-Svanasana)
4.) It Provides Deep Relaxation for the Upper Body
During the gestation period, a woman’s upper body is affected the most. A new mother holds a lot of tension and stress at various points in her body that need to be relieved. A soothing yoga practice can safely eliminate this pent-up stress and from deep within.
Most Recommended Yoga Asanas: Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana), Crocodile Pose (Makarasana), Fish Pose (Matsyasana), Rabbit Pose (Sasakasana)
5) Yoga Can Help Ease Pain
Body-ache is a common issue women face after delivery. With recuperative yoga asanas, this pain can be safely managed and gradually relieved.
Most Recommended Yoga Asanas: Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana), Child’s Pose (Balasana), Corpse Pose (Savasana), Cat/Cow Pose (Marjaryasana Bitilasana)
6) It Promotes Faster Recovery
We all know life changes forever after baby comes along; but to feel at least a bit normal again, a faster recovery of the body is essential. Schedule as regular a yoga practice as is realistic for your circumstances to speed up the recovery process.
Most Recommended Yoga Asanas: Legs Up The Wall (Viparita Karani), Plank Pose (Phalakasana), Triangle Pose (Trikonasana), Chair Pose (Utkatasana), Marichyasana I (Marichi’s Pose)
7.) Yoga Helps Safe Shedding of Pregnancy Weight
Yoga is the safest and most effective method of losing pregnancy weight and regaining (some of!) the body’s original shape.
Most Recommended Yoga Asanas: Half-Spinal Twist Pose (Vakrasana), Triangle Pose (Trikonasana), Camel Pose (Ustrasana), Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana), Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
8.) Toning the Abdomen and Body
Pregnancy affects the elasticity of the skin around the abdomen. You can get rid of this post-baby belly with the help of a dedicated yoga practice that helps recondition the skin.
Most Recommended Yoga Asanas: Locust Pose (Salabhasana), Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), Bhujangasana(Cobra Pose), Navasana(Boat Pose)
9.) Yoga is Great for Detoxification and Releasing of Fluids
Fluid retention is another common issue that surfaces in a majority of mothers in their post-partum stage. Yoga provides a safe effective way of releasing excess water and eliminating unwanted toxins.
Most Recommended Yoga Asanas: Bharadvaja’s Twist (Bharadvajasana I), Plow Pose (Halasana), Half Locust (Ardha Śalabhāsana), Revolved Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana), Revolved Triangle Pose (Parivrtta Trikonasana)
10.) It Improves Blood Circulation
Blood circulation slows down after child-birth as the body goes into a domicile mode. Hence, it is crucial to retrigger it. Yoga asanas promote healthy circulation, channeling the blood it through the entire body.
Most Recommended Yoga Asanas: Warrior Pose (Virabhadrasana), Leg’s Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani), Corpse Pose (Shavasana), Shoulder Stand (Salamba Sarvangasana), Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
11.) Yoga Aids Hormonal Imbalance Correction
Hormones are thrown out of kilter during pregnancy and need to be brought back on track. Medication helps, but not as safely and effectively as with the support of a regular Yoga practice.
Most Recommended Yoga Asanas: Rabbit Pose (Sasangasana), Camel Pose (Ustrasana), Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana), Standing Head to Knee (Janursirasana), Easy Pose (Sukhasana), Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
12.) Yoga Revives the Body’s Energy Centres (Chakras)
Delivering another human being utilises a woman’s energy to its maximum extent. Extreme weakness and lethargy are entirely normal. Yoga stimulates the body’s chakras (energy centers) and regulates the energy through various channels of the body from head to toe.
Most Recommended Yoga Asanas: Bow Pose (Dhanurasana), Warrior II (Veerbhadrasana II), One-Legged King Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana), Camel Pose (Ustrasana), Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
In addition to all of the above, yoga has many more profound mental and spiritual benefits which can help through the post-partum period with ease and comfort. Undergo a regular practice of the art to reach the stage of complete recovery.
Manmohan Singh is a passionate Yogi, Yoga Teacher and a Traveller in India. He provides yoga teacher training in Rishikesh, India. He loves writing and reading the books related to yoga, health, nature and the Himalayas. For more information, visit his superb website.
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