Pregnancy, birth and childcare can be tough on the body and the mind, which is why we’ve specially selected some yoga poses with new mothers in mind to alleviate anxiety and stress as well as help with much-needed recovery and strengthening.
This beginner’s yoga pose is often featured at the start of the practice as it gently stretches the muscles of the lower back and the inner thighs while being completely relaxing. To practice the child’s pose, you should start on the ground on your knees with your knees wide apart and toes touching. Lower the upper body forwards to the ground and rest your forehead on the ground with your arms stretched out in front of you, all the while concentrating on your breathing. Child’s pose is known for calming the mind as the forehead, otherwise known as the third eye, is resting on the ground and soothing the brain.
Practicing these poses will introduce some movement into your exercise and warm up the body with the gentle flow of energy from one to the other. The cat/cow pose begins on all fours in a tabletop position with the knees under the hips and hands shoulder-width apart but slightly forward of the shoulders. With an exhale, push on the hands to slowly round the back and bring the tailbone and head down so that you are gazing towards your stomach. On an inhale, slowly invert your position, moving so that the chest is pushed forwards and hips are pushed back while looking upwards. Repeat these transitions while focusing on the breath before returning to the neutral tabletop position. The cat/cow transition promotes flexibility in the spine and stretches the back, torso and neck.
An essential pose for relieving spine discomfort, stretching the hips, shoulders and chest and reducing anxiety. To begin bridge pose, you lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor hip-width apart. Leave arms by your side as you lift your hips upwards. If you have the ability, clasp your hands underneath your back to increase the impact on the neck, chest and back. Not only does bridge pose help stretch out key muscles, but it also benefits by strengthening the back and legs and stimulates organs of the abdomen to improve digestion.
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After attempting gentle exercise for a few weeks post-birth, new mothers can try slightly more challenging poses to rebuild and strengthen the abdomen. Many women have abdominal separation after birth, and incorporating abdominal exercises can help. To begin with, you should sit on the mat using the abdominals to ensure a flat, straight back. Bend the knees towards the chest, keeping the back straight and the toes on the mat. Bring your hands to rest in your knee pit while balancing on the Sitz bones and removing weight from your toes. It is okay to stay here or beginners, but as you regain strength, you can begin to lift one foot off the mat so that it is parallel to the floor and then the other to balance fully on your Sitz bones. The full pose also includes stretching the arms out in front of you.
The essential ending to all yoga practice at every level, the Savasana is a chance to calm the brain, relax the body, and reap the rewards of the practice. It is the simplest physical pose to achieve, but perhaps the most challenging yoga pose to perfect. Lie on your back with arms and legs spread out and palms facing the sky. You should make an effort to detect any tension in the body and release it. Focus on your breathing and aim to reach a meditative state and release the mind.
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Why you should practice yoga
Yoga is an ideal, gentle way to rebuild strength and energy for exhausted new mothers. Naturally, it will take a while to strengthen muscles after birth, and new mothers should be prepared to take it slowly and not to push their bodies too hard. With gentle practice, they will soon be feeling fit and strong again.
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