Nurturing Your Body and Soul: Gentle Postpartum Yoga Poses for Healing
Bringing a baby into the world is monumental, and as a new mom, your body deserves all the love and care it can get. Postpartum recovery is a unique journey, and what better way to ease back into movement than with the gentle embrace of yoga. In this blog, we will explore a healing yoga series including pranayama (a special breathing technique to promote balance), and postures designed to soothe your body and to promote healing. You can enjoy this yoga sequence at home next to your baby. You can set up your yoga mat next to the bassinet or stroller if your baby is napping, or set up a comfortable place for your baby on top of a blanket at the front of your yoga mat. In this way yoga will become a natural part of your routine, and your little one will grow up with a mom that models self-care. Aim to practice the poses at least three times a week. This is the perfect quick practice for late morning or early evening.
The Power of Practice
Yoga isn't just about the physical postures, it's a holistic practice that marries breath, movement, and mindfulness. For women in the postpartum phase of motherhood, yoga can be a gentle yet powerful tool for healing both the body and the mind. Yoga can help to restore flexibility, reconnect you to your core awareness, and alleviate common discomforts associated with delivery and recovery. Before we explore these nurturing yoga postures and practices, it is important to remember that everyone's postpartum journey is unique. Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise routine and stay receptive to your body throughout your practice. Pause whenever necessary and be gentle with your body.
Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)
Nadi Shodhana, also known as alternate nostril breathing, is a yogic breathing technique aimed at balancing the energy channels in the body. Begin in a comfortable seated position, keeping your spine straight. Using your right thumb, close off your right nostril, and inhale deeply and slowly through your left nostril. Then, close off your left nostril with your right ring finger, release your right nostril, and exhale slowly. Continue this pattern, alternating nostrils for each breath cycle. Focus on smooth, controlled breaths and maintain a calm, steady pace.
Benefits: Nadi Shodhana is believed to reduce stress, enhance mental clarity, and promote overall well-being, making it an excellent addition to a daily mindfulness or yoga practice.
Child's Pose (Balasana)
Begin in a quadruped (all fours) position with your hands shoulder width apart and your knees hips width apart. Gently lower your hips onto your heels and allow your big toes to touch, as you rest your forehead on the earth. Your arms can extend overhead to allow for a gentle stretch through the torso. Enjoy the pose for 5-10 slow, deep breaths, allowing yourself to reconnect to a sense of peace.
Benefits: Child’s Pose gently stretches the lower back and hips.
Cat & Cow Stretch
Begin in the quadruped position (all fours). Inhale, arching your spine as you lift your head and tailbone towards the sky (Cow pose). Exhale, rounding your spine, as you bring your chin towards your chest and tuck your tailbone. Repeat this fluid movement for 5-10 rounds, marrying your breath with your movement.
Benefits: Cat & Cow stretches the muscles of the core (abdomen and lower back), stimulates blood flow, and can help alleviate tension in the back and neck.
Begin by placing a yoga block on your yoga mat. Place a yoga bolster or pillow on top of a yoga block, with the block underneath the top portion of the bolster. Have a seat with your right hip touching the bottom of the bolster. Lay your torso down on the bolster with your head facing away from your legs. Enjoy one full minute in this pose and then change sides and repeat the pose on the left.
Benefits: Stretches the chest (pectorals), shoulders, and the upper back. This pose can also help to alleviate sensitivity in the lower back as well as assisting with digestion.
Supported Butterfly (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Begin by placing a yoga block on your yoga mat. Place a yoga bolster or pillow on top of the bolster with the block underneath the top portion of the bolster. Lay down on the bolster with your spine supported, and your head slightly elevated above your heart and hips. Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together as your knees then open to the sides. Your legs will gently open creating a diamond shape with your legs. Your arms can open wide, like a butterfly’s wings.
Benefits: Helps to stretch and release tension in the inner thighs and hip flexors. It is often practiced in restorative or yin yoga practices to promote relaxation and calm the nervous system.
Savasana is a classic relaxation pose that is practiced laying on your back. You can bring support and comfort to this pose by placing a bolster or pillow under your knees. As you lay down, extend your legs straight, as well as your arms, with your palms facing up. Allow your body to completely surrender to the feeling of relaxation.
Benefits: Savasana promotes a sense of calm, can help reduce stress, and allows time for your body to integrate the physical movements that you have just practiced.
As you move forward on the path of postpartum healing, remember that each breath and movement is a step toward nurturing your body and soul. The benefit of yoga lies not only in the physical poses but in the mindfulness and self-compassion it brings. Be patient with yourself, mama, and allow these gentle exercises to guide you toward strength, flexibility, and a deeper connection with your body.
This site is intended for informational purposes only and does not provide medical advice. Please consult your physician or other health-care professional.