Yoga is one of the first forms of exercise that most women feel comfortable beginning again post-birth. With hormones chasing around your body and perhaps more than a little sleeplessness and anxiety thrown in, the opportunity to breathe, move intuitively and mobilise your body can feel amazing. However, here at Bumps & Burpees we want to make sure that you start off in the best way. So we have asked our post-natal yoga expert – Stacey Epstein, to answer your questions on getting back into yoga after birth.
How soon after birth can I start doing yoga?
This always depends on each woman’s recovery, but general guidelines to start practising post natal yoga is after seeing your GP, Midwife or OBGYN, and have been given the all clear to return to execute. From 6 weeks + for a vaginal birth. If you had an episiotomy or other instrumental help during birth 8+ weeks is recommended.
Some very gentle movement, and yoga stretches before this can feel great especially for the shoulders but I would highly recommend you do this with a trained pre and post natal yoga teacher.
How soon after c-section can you practice yoga?
This always depends on each woman’s recovery, but general guidelines to start practising post natal yoga after a cesarean birth is after seeing your GP, Midwife or OBGYN, and been given the all clear. 8+ weeks post birth, being mindful that even being given the all clear to begin doesn’t mean you can jump fully right back in, take it slow and steady.
Yoga poses to avoid after birth?
There’s no one size fits all of poses not to do I’m afraid as each birth and recovery experience is unique. Even after being given the green light to exercise be cautious with your poses and ease into them. Be particularly mindful with back bends, even cobra and twists. Especially if you had a c-section as these poses can be too much on a healing scar. After birth is similar to pregnancy in what to avoid but you can now fully lie on your back again! You’ll still want to be mindful of coning and doming throughout all of your practice. When moving from lying on your back to sitting or standing, roll over to your side to come up without creating too much internal abdominal pressure.
Best yoga poses to practice if I have diastastis recti?
You’re breath! Working with your breath lying on your back in a supine position as if you were setting up for bridge pose is the best place to start with diastasis recti and general core recovery. Starting with just your breath to contract and release the core muscles then adding in heel slides, toe taps and knee fall outs.
How often should I practice yoga every week after birth?
You can practice yoga as often as you like. I would honor how you are feeling, postpartum life with a newborn is amazing but exhausting. I wouldn’t do a full class of poses every day by any means. But just a couple of poses 5-10 minutes of gentle yoga a day can really help ease any aches and pains from the physical demands on the body of having a newborn.
Why is post-natal yoga so good for you?
Yoga is all about connection, connection to yourself, your body mind, and spirit. Sharing your practice with your little one can be a lovely bonding experience too. Moving with your breath will not only benefit your body but your mind too. Yoga is more than just the physical poses, newborn life can be so demanding. Practicing pranayamas, like Golden thread breath or Dirga breath (3 part breathing exercise, if you practiced with me you’ll probably know it, it’s my favourite for connecting the mind body, and breath) can be such a useful tool to help cope with the overwhelming moments of motherhood.
Starting back with exercise after giving birth requires a slow and steady approach. Post natal yoga is fantastic for both mental and physical well-being during this time. Yoga is one of six weekly classes on the Post Natal Plan, that helps you re-connect with your body and get back to fitness. We have leading experts in post-natal fitness including yoga and pilates as well as strength and cardio, pelvic floor physiotherapy, nutrition and a supportive community of pregnant and new mums. If you are looking for a structured plan, our 12 week on-demand post natal course is worth taking a closer look.