Whether you did yoga leading up to childbirth or not, it’s never to late to start a practice. Today Latham Thomas, Maternity Wellness Maven and founder of Mama Glow, will ease you back in with yoga poses that will help you rebuild your strength after pregnancy — and you’ll need it!
There are lots of changes that happen along the pregnancy and birth continuum, but there is always an entry point for anyone willing to pursue a yoga practice. It’s about taking your time as you start or re-enter your practice. Remember, yoga is about union — meet your body where it is today. Get on your mat and get back into your practice. Make sure you’re comfortable in your gear. Having a comfortable bra like the Bravado Body Silk Seamless Yoga Nursing Bra can ensure you feel cozy versus crammed into a constrictive sports bra. Have a gentle practice, or work yourself harder to meet the needs of your new body and lifestyle. The body weight training you get in yoga helps to protect the joints, build surrounding muscles, and rehabilitate the core—which was on vacation for nine months. Try the postures that follow to rebuild your strength post-baby.
Goddess Squat Series
Strength in birthing squats is key. It helps to have strong legs during pregnancy and postpartum. This series gets your legs ready for the final stretch—the pushing phase. After the birth, the legs and pelvic floor are fatigued. This squat sequence helps to reintegrate the body. Abdominal work is also challenging because it’s something we typically avoid throughout the pregnancy, but postnatal abdominal work is important.
Pigeon (or Dove Pose)
This pose is great for those who have any low back pain, tight hips, or sciatica. It helps lengthen the hip flexors and stretches the groin, thighs, chest, shoulders, and neck, and it stimulates abdominal organs. Interlacing the fingers behind the back offers a gentle stretch opening the chest and offering relief for nursing moms.
Reclined Hero’s Pose
Seated on the floor, place feet on either side of the hips. Make sure the sits bones are pressing into the floor. Adjust the feet so the toes are pointed straight back toward the wall behind you. First lower down onto the elbows, chin relaxed. Relax the ribs down and lengthen the spine. You can continue to lower down along the bolster or all the way to the floor. This pose increases blood circulation through knee joints. Helps high blood pressure. Stretches the thighs, knees, and ankles. Improves digestion and relieves gas and helps with edema in the legs and opens the spine and chest which relieves breastfeeding moms.
Vidroli Mudra (Kegel) or the “pelvic pump”
This pose generates intense energy in the lower body while keeping it contained. Vajra means thunderbolt in Sanskrit. Vajroli Mudra (the thunderbolt) stimulates the genitals with activated blood. Vajroli is simply the constriction of the urethral, vulvic, and perineal muscles. Vajroli Mudra tightens vaginal walls, which will stretch considerably during childbirth, and allows great pleasure for both partners during intercourse. Mastery of this exercise allows you to restore your pelvic floor and heal.
Supported Bridge Pose
The anatomical focus of this pose is the uterus. The Supported Bridge stretches the chest, neck, and spine and allows you a gentle backbend with total support. Some of the benefits include stimulation of the abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid; improved digestion; and reduced anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, and insomnia. This pose calms the mind and helps alleviate stress and mild depression. This is a great pose for postpartum moms as well. You can even do a lighter version of the pelvic tilt hours after birth.
Thanks to Latham for the tips and ideas! The one yoga pose I’d add? Child’s pose. It always feels so good to me! —Erin