yoga for mom and baby
It is truly remarkable how adaptable a woman’s body is, and how much it changes in one brief year of pregnancy, birth, and lactation.
I distinctly recall the day I arrived home with my three-day-old son, looked in the mirror, and laughed in the delightful realization of what an amazing and wondrous thing a “woman’s body is.
Common sense tells a woman that she has to take it slow and easy when it comes to exercise after her baby is born.
She may wish to look and feel as she did before her pregnancy, but the reality is that it took nine months to make the baby and it will probably take at least that long for her body to return to a pre-pregnancy state of health and fitness.
Barring complications, most women may begin with pelvic floor exercises and gentle exercise within a few days or weeks of birth.
Women’s concerns about exercise in the post-partum phase usually have to do with three basic practicalities: having time for exercise; having the energy, and knowing which exercises will be safe and effective.
Having energy can be a real challenge for a new mother. There is so much to adjust to that it can easily become overwhelming.
Suddenly there is a small being who is completely dependent on you.
That alone would be enough, but huge hormonal changes are going on in your body that can wreak havoc on your emotional state of mind.
You may alternate between feelings of blissful contentment and frenzied anxiety, and everything in between.
Just remember, you are handling a lot of change; go easy on yourself and ground yourself in your meditative mind as often as possible.
As for finding time to exercise, find a few minutes here and there for stretching, maybe while waiting for the kettle to boil with your baby in a carrier on the kitchen table.
Hold onto the table and stretch your lower back. Most of these exercises are great for post-partum, with one important difference: the emphasis during pregnancy is on poses and exercises that open the pelvis, like Squats and Butterfly pose; the focus in post-partum is on healing and strengthening the pelvic area and pulling it back together.
The post-partum phase is a recovery period. Be gentle with yourself and have patience and appreciation for your body.
Yoga for mom and baby
If your labor and delivery were uncomplicated, you may be able to begin to exercise within the first few weeks of delivery.
Every woman’s body and every birthing story is different, so check first with your physician.
Go slowly and stay aware of your body as you practice. Stay in a pose for 3—4 breaths to with, and work up slowly to 15 breaths.
This adjusts the vertebrae of the middle and upper spine, opens the chest and shoulder areas, and counteracts any tendency to slump while breastfeeding or carrying your baby.
It may be helpful to use a prop.
1: Sit on a chair, or the ground, or stand. Keep your spine straight and chest lifted the entire time to perform this pose.
Bend your left elbow and reach your left arm behind your back.
Draw the upper part of your arm close to the side of your body. Raise your right arm up.
2: Bend your right arm at the elbow so that your right-hand reaches toward your shoulder blade and faces your back. Interlock your fingers.
If they do not reach, touch your fingers together or use a belt or rope.
Breathe deeply with your eyes closed for 5-8 breaths, then reverse the hands.
Recovering muscle tone after pregnancy is key, especially in the core muscles that support the pelvis and torso.
Locust Lifts are particularly beneficial for strengthening and toning the abdominal and back muscles.
To build strength and to prepare for holding this pose, try inhaling up into the pose and exhaling down several times beforehand.
1: Lie on your front with your arms by your sides, palms facing upward. Rest your chin on the ground.
2: Inhale and simultaneously lift your right leg and your left arm up. Arch your chest and pelvis as you extend up.
Inhale and exhale deeply and hold for 5-8 breaths. Then relax down briefly and repeat with the left leg and right arm.
Continue for 6-10 breaths.
3: To end, turn your head to one side, place your arms by your sides, and relax.
This gives a lateral stretch to the vertebrae, back muscles, and hips to keep the spine elastic and help to retain side-to-side mobility.
It also massages the abdominal muscles, aids in digestion, and induces calm nerves.
1: Sit in Easy Pose with your spine straight. Raise the right knee. Place the right foot flat on the ground.
2: Place the right foot on the ground outside your left thigh, your right knee bent over your left leg.
Place the right hand on the ground just behind your back. It should bear no weight. Raise the left arm up.
3: Bring your left arm over to your right knee, and reach around to catch hold of the right ankle if possible.
Your left arm will push against your right knee.
Your head is erect and turned to look over your right shoulder Your chest is lifted and the shoulders are parallel to the ground.
Hold for 5-10 deep breaths. Release and repeat on the other side.
This gentle movement strengthens your navel chakra and abdominal muscles. If your abdominals need more gradual strengthening, straighten your legs to a 90° angle instead, then bring them back into your chest.
1: Lie on your back and tuck your knees to your chest. Place your hands on your shins, holding your knees in Cocoon pose. Exhale.
2: Inhale and open your arms out straight to the sides, almost touching the ground.
Simultaneously extend your legs straight out to a 60° angle from the ground into the Butterfly pose. On the exhale slowly return to Cocoon.
Continue for 1-3 minutes.
Yoga for mom and baby
You will have your baby by your side most of the time, so why not enjoy your time together in a way that benefits both of you?
When assisting your baby to move her body, never move her with force.
Don’t be discouraged if she resists: she is adjusting to the wide-open spaces of a new life, so help her relax and uncurl, and learn about her environment in a natural, flowing way with a gentle touch, eye contact, your voice, and your love.
Crossing the midline of the body strengthens crossover connections between the right and left brains.
This exercise stretches and strengthens your baby’s arms and upper back.
1: Lay your baby on a blanket facing you, and sit or kneel in front of her Hold her hands and cross her arms over her chest.
2: Bring her arms out to the sides. Chant a mantra such as Sat Nam in rhythm with the movement.
Repeat the sequence of steps I and 2 for as long as you both like.
Moving your baby’s legs in a bicycling motion and rocking her knees up to her chest helps to relieve and trapped gas.
It also helps your baby to strengthen her leg and abdominal muscles.
1: Lay your baby on a soft blanket. Smile and look in her eyes. Talk to her about what you are going to do.
Gently rotate her legs alternately in a bicycling motion. Sing or chant in rhythm with the motion.
2: To end, bring both of her knees up toward her chest and rock her slightly back, so her bottom comes off the floor, Do this a few times, then let her legs relax down.
Yoga for mom and baby
Pelvic Tilts enhance the flexibility in your spine and tone your abdominal and leg muscles.
After giving birth, practice Pelvic Tilts against the wall before trying them with your baby.
1: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your pelvis tucked forward slightly.
Place your baby on your abdomen, facing you and resting against your bent legs.
Hold your baby on her shoulders, or if your baby’s neck is stable, hold onto her arms.
2: Inhale and lift your pelvis slightly, then exhale and bring it back down.
Hold your baby steady the entire time.
Smile, laugh and keep eye contact with her Continue for as long as you both like.
Iyengar Yoga is a well-known in-depth study of asanas (posture) and pranayama (breath control) with the use of props such as belts and blocks.
The exercises included in Iyengar Yoga are structured and categorized so as to allow a beginner to progress surely and safely from basic postures to the most advanced as they Relief, strength and sensitivity can be obtained in mind, body, and spirit.
Yoga for mom and baby
This is perfect for a busy new mom. It is quick and potent, and you can do it lying down. It helps to positively channel your emotions.
There are two parts, and although it is recommended to do them together, they can be done separately or whenever you have a spare five minutes.
It uses the mantra “I am Grace of God.” The optimum times for this meditation are at sunrise and sunset, preferably practiced twice a day.
1: Lie on your back with your arms at your sides. Relax your face and body. Take a few deep breaths.
Inhale, hold the breath in, and repeat silently to your self “I am Grace of God.” Exhale and repeat the affirmation silently 10 times.
Continue for five breaths. This will make a total of 100 times that the mantra/affirmation is repeated.
2: After the cycle is completed, or at a different time during the day, sit in Easy pose. Bring your right hand into Gyan Mudra.
Hold the left hand up by the left shoulder, palm flat and facing forward, as though taking an oath.
The chest is lifted and the spine is straight. Your breath is relaxed and normal.
Beginning with the index finger of the left hand, tense the finger and repeat out loud, “I am Grace of God” five times.
Then proceed to do the same with each of the other fingers, including the thumb.
Inhale to end and feel the reality of the affirmation you have just repeated. Exhale and relax.
This post was last modified on August 1, 2020