Growing a baby and giving birth is hard work... but what nobody ever seems to talk about is the time after the baby is born! Now that's when the hard work really starts! I remember it very well!
Exercise is the last thing on your mind but there might come a time when you feel ready to get back to your former self. That's the time to try out these 5 postnatal yoga exercises below.
If you suffer from lower back pain, neck and shoulder tension from carrying and feeding your baby and just generally feel exhausted then do give them a try!
1. Cat Cow
This exercise is great for mobilising the spine and getting rid of back ache! Start in all fours with the hands directly under the shoulders and knees directly under the hips. Inhale lift the chest and look up, exhale round the spine and draw the navel in.
2. Core work in all fours
This is a back strengthening exercise which is so important when you're carrying your baby all day long. The back gets very strained from sitting, feeding and generally doing things one handed!
Start in all fours then extend one leg backwards with the toes tucked under on the floor. This is a nice leg stretch in itself. If you're feeling strong lift the leg in line with the rest of the body - make sure not to lift it beyond hip level!
If you're feeling really strong lift the opposite arm as well! Take 3 long breaths then change sides.
3. Block squeeze
This one is great to start noticing your core muscles again and to activate the pelvic floor! It's very important to give yourself time to heal before you're doing any strong core exercises so this one is perfect for building up strength gradually!
Lie on your back and bring a yoga block or book between your thighs. On the next inhale to a count of four squeeze the block and lift the pelvic floor (also described as the muscles that stop you from doing a wee). Exhale release without dropping the block. Repeat 5-7 times.
4. Gomukhasana legs
This is another one which is good for the pelvic floor and generally encouraging "things to close up" that had to widen and open when you were giving birth!
Start in a seated position with one leg in towards you. Cross the other leg on top stacking the knees on top of each other. Sit up tall and bring the hands together at the centre of the chest. Stay for 10 breaths then change sides.
5. Warrior 1
If you feel tired and a bit down then this is the one to practice!
In a traditional warrior pose you would take the legs a bit wider but depending on if you had a vaginal birth or c-section, had stitches etc you might not want to take the legs too far apart! Instead do a mini version with just taking the back leg a comfortable step back. Lift the arms over the head and bend the front knee so it's directly over the ankle.
Stay for 3-5 breaths then repeat on the other side.
For more information on the next Postnatal Yoga course in Kingston click here