In my last post I mentioned some of the awesome benefits of postnatal yoga. With all of the benefits in mind, it is also important to be aware of a few differences in what the postpartum body needs from a yoga practice, and where to be cautious.
Important Precautions to Consider Before Returning to the Mat!
1. Firstly, the hormone called “Relaxin” that helps make the pelvis more mobile and the body more flexible for pregnancy and delivery is still present after the baby is born, and especially while breastfeeding. This means you have to be more careful to not overstretch during yoga, which could lead to low back pain or injury. A postnatal yoga practice should place more emphasis on strengthening the core and muscles that support the pelvis and less on deep stretches that may place stress on the lower back.
2. During pregnancy some Mom’s experience a “diastasis recti” which is a separation of the rectus abdominus muscle commonly described as the “six pack” muscles. Some moms describe a bulging sensation or doming of the abdominals when they contract their abs. If you have a diastasis there are specific exercise you can do to help your abdominals recover. I recommend seeing a Physiotherapist to work on this before doing any other core work, which can make this problem worse.
3. Following a cesarian section it is important to get the “ok” from your Doctor before starting any new exercise program. In the meantime while you wait to start your yoga practice you can start with some breathing exercises that help to relax the diaphragm that has been elevated during pregnancy, and help you to relax during your busy life as a mom. Try a simple equal part diaphragmatic breath inhaling for the count of 3 sending the breath down to your belly and exhaling for the count of 3. Repeat 10 times.
Remember every body has different needs and the above suggestions may not be appropriate for everyone. It’s always smart to check with your Doctor or Allied Health Professional (Physiotherapist, Chiropractor, Osteopath) before starting a new exercise program to make sure it’s right for you.
Hope to see you on the Mat!
*Stay Tuned for the Final Part of this Series "3 Perfect Postpartum Yoga Poses"
*Sarah Symmes is a registered Physiotherapist and Certified Yoga Instructor with PhysioPlus Health Group & Fifty-Seven. Sarah’s unique approach focuses on breaking down poses into their components to ensure safety, body awareness and accessibility to individuals of all abilities and needs. Sarah Co-Instructs Mom & Baby Yoga Monday mornings at 10 am & has a NEW Prenatal Yoga class on Thursday evenings starting April 24th 6:30pm. See our Yoga Page for full details.