Pregnancy, labor, and delivery take a toll, and not just a physical one. You will go through mentally and emotionally difficult situations that will test you in every way imaginable. And, in the end, it's not uncommon to feel incredibly close to the new baby you just brought into the world, but miles away from your own body. That's why the following yoga poses for postpartum women can be so valuable. If done properly, they can gently guide you through the postpartum recovery process while simultaneously connecting you to your body. As a new mother, the last thing you need is to feel like a stranger in your own skin.
Yoga can be an ideal workout for postpartum women because it relieves stress, helps regulate breathing, and can help sore muscles regenerate. Not only has your pelvic floor gone through a proverbial war as you've grown and birthed your child, but your abs have likely forgotten how to, you know, ab. And since 64 percent of postpartum moms feel that their body image gets worse after they become mothers, according to a recent BabyCenter survey, yoga is a great way to reconnect with your body. Jyothi Larson, author of Yoga Mom, Buddha Baby, tells Parents "Yoga is a wonderful tool for becoming better acquainted with your body." And according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Mindfulness Cognitive Therapy, which combines the mindfulness techniques of yoga and deep breathing with traditional behavior therapy, can "reduce a mom's odds of experiencing depression and it's impacts."
Tailoring a yoga workout to benefit your postpartum body means choosing poses that don't force you to push you past a certain limit. Larson tells Parents, "Yoga's emphasis on breathing and moving simultaneously helps you breath more deeply." The point of yoga isn't to bench a certain number of pounds or "get your pre-pregnancy body back" or any other goal that can, and usually is, problematic for a postpartum woman. Instead, it's to help you feel connected to yourself, heal slowly, and to provide you with an opportunity to be surrounded by other women in a postnatal class that know what you're going through.
Of course, it's vital you discuss postpartum yoga with your doctor prior to trying any of the following poses, just to make sure it's safe for you to do so. After all, every body is different.