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Yoga for Postpartum

Doing yoga after giving birth is not just a great way to get back in shape, it can also help new moms deal with the pressures and stress of caring for a newborn infant.

In fact, many of Hollywood’s fittest moms credit yoga to helping them reclaim their pre-baby body. For some, they even attest to yoga helping them develop a leaner and stronger physique than before they were pregnant.

Here is what you need to know about yoga for postpartum:

Benefits

From sleepless nights to a sagging baby belly, the last thing that many new moms want to do is perform physical exercise. But yoga, with its amazing ability to tone the body and ease the mind, can provide enormous benefits to a young mom. Even just a few minutes can rev up the heart, tighten soft abdominal muscles and bring a sense of energy and vitality to a woman who has just given birth.

Plus, since all you need for yoga is a few quiet minutes and a yoga mat, it can be done while your new baby sleeps or kicks around in his or her bouncy seat. With its ability to help women lose weight and tone up while keeping stress down, yoga may offer benefits in helping prevent the symptoms of postpartum depression.

Poses

Triangle Pose (Trikonasana): This engaging posture is a practice in itself given its far-reaching effects and benefits. Triangle pose stretches and strengthens arms and leg muscles while toning the core muscles. In addition, its requirement of balance helps cultivate a sense of stillness and groundedness, two qualities that any new mom may have a hard time experiencing. Perform this posture for a minimum of five breaths on each side, doing both the upright and revolved expression of the pose.

Sun Salutation A and B (Surya Namaskar A and B): This dynamic series of movements is the perfect practice for a new mom with little time on her hands and who needs a complete but effective total body workout. Sun Salutations increase metabolism through their strong cardiovascular component while also fostering strength and power in the legs and arms. It also tones the abdominal wall. New moms should start by performing three rounds of each, gradually increasing the number of Salutations they can do to 10 or more.

Cautions

While doctors recommend waiting until bleeding has stopped to do some gentle yoga postures, it is still important to get the okay first from your ob/gyn or midwife before you roll out your yoga mat. For women who had a Cesarean section, the wait for doing yoga will be much longer. Also, if you are breastfeeding, you might want to avoid doing yoga postures that require you to lie on your belly.

While yoga has been shown to improve the symptoms of depression, any new mom who is experiencing the signs of postpartum depression must receive approval from a trained counselor or from a medical doctor before starting a yoga practice.

As with any form of exercise, it is wise to use your own judgment in performing movements and postures that feel comfortable, safe and restorative.

Also read:

View Yoga for Fitness Slideshow

August 5th, 2010

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