Postpartum Yoga Routine for New Moms

postpartum yoga routine for new moms

11 yoga poses to help your recover after giving birth! Ease your way back into fitness after baby with this postpartum yoga routine

Postpartum Yoga Routine for New Moms

So you’ve delivered your bundle of joy and are starting to get used to your new life now as a mom! If you are anything like me, you are itching to get back to your mat or perhaps you are looking to start a yoga practice!  Either way, its difficult to know just where to start postpartum. Your body has been through a lot, after all you just birthed a tiny human! It’s important to take the time to heal your body after labor, and that is different for every mom! Once you’re cleared by your doctor to return to exercise, you still may not be ready to work out or practice yoga at the level you were pre pregnancy. Have no fear,  I’ve put together a postpartum yoga routine to help you get back into the swing of things after baby!

I could go on and on about the endless benefits of yoga, but I will keep this short and sweet. There are so many benefits to incorporating a yoga routine into your life postpartum. Some of these include:

  • Improved mood and state of well being
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Decreased stress
  • Helps to balance hormone levels
  • Improved strength
  • Improved flexibility
  • Decreased pain
  • Improved posture
  • My personal favorite: a few minutes out of the day for some “me” time

Being a new mom is overwhelming, whether this is your first, second or even fourth child. Before having my daughter I used to work out and practice yoga for hours every day. Needless to say my life is a little bit different now. I breastfed my baby for a full year and between nursing and working full time I didn’t have much time left over. However squeezing in some time for yoga truly helped me both mentally and physically. I developed pretty severe back pain from nursing and pumping and I don’t know what I would have done without my practice. As a physical therapist, I spend my day helping others, however ( typically as moms do) I sometimes neglect to spend more time on myself! This yoga routine can fix just that because I tried to make this possible to squeeze into your busy day! I hope you all enjoy this routine and find it helpful!

Always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise routine postpartum. I started this routine at about 2-3 weeks postpartum because I could not wait any longer. If you are less than 6 weeks post partum, it’s important to listen to your body, go with how you feel and when in doubt always talk to your doctor first!

Another key point to keep in mind is that your hormones are still adjusting to your new postpartum state. The hormone relaxin ( present during pregnancy), which is responsible for allowing the hips/pelvis to open in preparation for childbirth is still present for anywhere up to 3-6 months postpartum. This means you may be a little more flexible and thus more prone to injury from overstretching. Therefore, it’s important to use caution and listen to your body.

Remember your abdominal muscles have been through quite a bit about over the past 9 months! It’s ok to perform gentle spinal twists if you feel ready. Use caution if you are recovering from a C-section. You can check out my article on some great ways to properly work your abdominals post partum here!

If you are like me and suffered from diastasis recti ( the splitting of your abdominal muscles) during pregnancy, I have a few posts on this topic as well. Feel free to click here to learn more!

Ok so now on to the good stuff. For this yoga routine, try to hold each pose (asana) for a full 5 breaths. Personally, if I find that my body needs to stay in a pose for longer than 5 breaths then I do! That’s the beauty of yoga, you get a chance to just tune out the world and really listen to your body!  I like to start with child’s pose( balasana) which can also be used as a resting pose. Anytime you feel as though you need a break, you can always come back to this pose.

Please note: I do many of these yoga poses with my baby as it is the only time I have sometimes to practice! Baby is optional, but it sure is fun to practice yoga with your little one! It’s certainly much more challenging now that she is walking!

Postpartum Yoga Routine for New Moms

  • Child’s pose 
    • This yoga pose is great postpartum for gently stretching the spine, hips, pelvis and thighs.
      1. Begin on hands and knees on your yoga mat.
      2. Take a nice deep inhale, as your exhale shift your butt back onto your heels, tucking your chin towards your chest and resting your forehead on your mat.
      3. To engage the upper spine and shoulders, walk your hands out in front of you and press your palms into the floor as you draw your shoulders down away from your ears.
      4. You can further stretch the inner thighs by spreading your knees apart if this feels good for you!
      5. Hold this yoga pose for 5 deep breaths10 must do exercises to activate your glutes before your workout to maximize your booty gains, get a tighter tush and decrease low back pain
  • Upward Facing Dog
    • This yoga pose is so wonderful postpartum for opening up the spine, easing low back pain, strengthening the back muscles and improving posture.
      1. From child’s pose, walk your hands out and lengthen your body until you are on your stomach.
      2. Bring your hands right underneath your shoulders and hug your elbows in by your sides as you press your thighs, feet and pelvis into your yoga mat
      3. Inhale as you straighten our arms and press your hands into the floor, as your keep your shoulders down away from your ears. Think about drawing your shoulders blades down your back. Keep your eye gaze forward or slightly up to maintain normal curves in your neck
      4. Exhale as you relax your lower back and gluteals. You should feel a gentle stretch in your lower back, not a strain.
      5. Hold this pose for 5 breaths and repeat 3 times.
      6. Return to child’s pose for a rest if needed.postpartum yoga routine for new moms
  • Downward Facing Dog 
    • This yoga pose lengthens the spine, stretches the back of your legs, strengthens the upper body, core and legs while energizing the body! It will make you feel so good postpartum!
      1. From child’s pose, move onto hands and knees. Walk your hands a few inches in front of you and curl your toes under.
      2. Inhale, as you lift up your knees and press back through your heels into downward facing dog.
      3. It’s so important to keep proper alignment to properly engage your muscles: focus on squeezing your thighs, pressing back through your heels and keeping your navel drawn in towards your spine. Keep your shoulders down away from your ears and eye gaze towards your navel.
      4. Think about trying spread your shoulders as you bring your chest towards your thighs to work your back muscles and lengthen your spine.
      5. Take 5 deep breaths and repeat 3x
      6. Rest in child’s pose  if needed!postpartum yoga routine for new moms
  • Plank Pose
    • Plank pose is one of my favorite overall body toning and abdominal focused exercises. Planks are so great because they do not put stress on your abdomen as crunches do, and it works your abs so much more. It really targets the Transverse abdominus muscle, which is the deeper abdominal muscle that acts as your internal support system! This is so important for moms postpartum!
      1. Begin in downward facing dog. Shift your weight forward into a plank position as shown.
      2. Your body should be straight with your wrists under your shoulders and navel drawn in towards your spine. Squeeze your thighs and press your weight back through your heels to take some pressure off of your shoulders.
      3. If you need to modify, you can always drop your knees to the floor as if you are in a modified push up position.
      4. Try to hold this yoga pose for 30 seconds. If this feels too easy begin with one minute; if this feels to hard, try to start with a 15 seconds hold. Rest in child’s pose and repeat for a total of 3x
      5. End in child’s pose10 plank exercises to get you bikini ready for summer
  • High Lunge or Crescent lunge
    • This yoga pose focuses on stretching/opening up the hip flexors, strengthening/toning the legs, activating your core muscles and improving overall mood while opening up the heart. It’s also a great pose for boosting energy, which all moms could use postpartum!
      1. Begin in Downward facing dog. Bring your right foot forward in between your hands as your bring yourself into a high lunge position as shown.
      2. Your front knee (right) should be bent to 90 degrees, making sure your knee is not extending over your toes. Your back leg  (left) should be straight and your back heel is lifted.
      3. Draw your navel in towards your spine as you feel a stretch in your left hip flexor.
      4. Raise your arms overhead to further lengthen the spine and stretch the hip flexors.
      5. Hold this for 5 breaths and then repeat on the opposite side.
      6. Return to downward facing dog
  • Tree pose
    • This yoga pose is great for improving strength, balance, focus and overall energy postpartum!
      1. Begin in downward facing dog. Looking forward, walk your feet up towards you hands and gently roll your spine up to a standing positon at the top of your yoga mat.
      2. Stand tall with your navel drawn in towards your spine as you bring the sole of your left foot to your inner right thigh as shown. Find something in front of you that you can focus on to improve your balance. Bring your hands to heart center in prayer position or of course hold your baby if you are doing this routine at home like me!
      3. If this is too much for you, bring your foot lower across your ankle until you are able to work to full tree pose.
      4. You can also bring your arms up overhead to further challenge your balance.
      5. Hold this yoga pose for 5 breaths and then repeat on the opposite side.mommy and me workout: 10 yoga poses to do with your baby or toddler
  • Camel Pose
    • This yoga pose is a heart opener. It’s great for opening up the chest and the front of your body, allowing for improved breathing and posture. It’s also a gentle backbend, allowing for improved spinal mobility, flexibility and decreased lower back pain postpartum!
      1. Begin in a kneeling position at the front of your yoga mat, knees about hip width apart
      2. Start with your  toes curled under, and if you are new to yoga or just want a little extra support, keep your hands on the small of your back for support.
      3. Gently press the front of your hips forward as your inhale.
      4. Exhale as you perform a gentle backbend taking your eye gaze up towards the ceiling, but being careful not to drop your head back so you’re not irritating your neck.
      5. If you would like to take this backbend further, relax the tops of your feet as shown and reach back for your heels.
      6. Hold this pose for 5 full breaths. Rest in child’s pose  and repeat this 3x. 
  • Seated forward fold
    • This yoga pose is great for stretching the back and legs, improving digestion, decreasing anxiety and overall sense of well being postpartum!
      1. Begin in a seated position on your yoga mat. Extend your legs out in front you of you and sit as tall as you can, lengthening your spine. Draw your navel in towards your spine and flex your feet towards you as you press the back of your thighs into your mat. Inhale your arms overhead; exhale as you bend forward at the waist as your lengthen your spine reaching for your toes.
      2. Do not stress if you cannot reach your toes, it’s more important to keep your spine nice and long to protect your back. You can place a slight bend in your knees if you feel stress on your lower back. You can also use a strap, towel or sheet around your feet if you are unable to reach your toes.
      3. Think about trying to bring your chest towards your thighs as your lengthen your spine and gently stretch the back of your legs.
      4. Hold this pose for 5 breaths and repeat 3x.
  • Bridge pose 
    • This is one of my favorite yoga poses for strengthening the glutes, hamstrings and core, while opening up the spine and front of your body, especially the hip flexors. My baby loves to practice this one with me!
      1. Begin on your back on your yoga mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keep your arms down by your sides and shoulders underneath you.
      2. Draw your navel in towards your spine and keep your back straight as you press through your heels and lift your butt up off the floor so you are in bridge pose as shown.
      3. Hold this for 5 breaths and then return back down to rest your back on the floor. Roll slowly in a C-curve position on the way down: think lowering in steps: upper back, middle back then lower back.
      4. Repeat this yoga pose 3x  total
  • Gentle spinal twist 
    • Spinal twists are a wonderful way to detox the body, improve digestion, decrease back pain and stress postpartum!
      1. Lie on your back on your yoga mat with your legs extended out in front of you. Bring one knee up towards your chest so that your hip is flexed to 90 degrees. With the opposite hand, gently grab on to the outside of your knee and pull it across your body until a stretch is felt in the lower back and buttock. Make sure you keep your shoulders flat on the ground during the stretch. Hold for 5 full breaths on each side.
  • Legs up the wall
    • This is the perfect pose to end your practice with! It is a gentle inversion great for improving mood, decreasing stress and decreasing low back pain postpartum!
      1. To perform: begin in a seated positon facing sideways about 6 inches away from a wall.
      2. As you lie down, turn your body so you face the wall and bring your feet up against it as you rest your legs on the wall.
      3. Relax your back, upper body and head.
      4. Close your eyes and let your breathing be natural
      5. Stay here for as long as you need to, or as long as time allows!

Practice this postpartum yoga routine 3x a week and you will truly notice a difference in how you feel both physically and mentally. You can click here to check out some other safe exercises to perform in the early weeks postpartum!

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Dr. Allie Flowers, PT, DPT, RYT

 

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16 Replies to “Postpartum Yoga Routine for New Moms”

  1. I need new exercises in my routine, that’s a great that I find this blog.

    1. onefitmomma says: Reply

      I’m always sharing new routines so thank you so much for the feedback and for following!!

  2. I’m pregnant right now and my go to is yoga! I can’t wait to try these moves when I have the baby and get cleared to work out!

    1. onefitmomma says: Reply

      That’s great! I hope you enjoy it!

  3. Love this! I think yoga is such a good way to recover post partum, I definitely was doing a lot of it to recover from my c-section!

    1. onefitmomma says: Reply

      Absolutely! Yoga is amazingly helpful postpartum!

  4. These are great poses with great benefits. I definitely needed this after my babies. Thank you for sharing!

    1. onefitmomma says: Reply

      You’re welcome! I wanted to share what really helped me!

  5. Love this! Yoga has so many amazing benefits! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    1. Yes it does you are so right! Yoga is amazing! Glad you enjoyed it!

  6. Thank you for sharing these! I love yoga, it’s so relaxing, my 4 year old loves to join in as well.

    1. You’re welcome! That’s so awesome!

  7. I am definitely saving this for the next go around. I wish I would’ve jumped on the active train a little sooner with baby number one, but most things were so intimidating. This seems very manageable. Thank you!

    1. You’re welcome! I totally understand, I’ve heard there is less anxiety with baby #2! You can do this routine any time too!!

  8. Wow, these are really do-able. Thank you for sharing.

    1. onefitmomma says: Reply

      You’re welcome! Yes absolutely do-able and a great way to ease back into things after childbirth!

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