Postpartum Yoga Poses: Top 8 Postpartum Yoga Poses

Postpartum Yoga Poses: Top 8 Postpartum Yoga Poses

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As a yoga long-time practitioner, I’ve seen and felt the benefits of yoga. It is truly incredible how great a yoga practice can be—for everything from physical to mental to spiritual health. Mothers who have taken postpartum yoga classes have shared with me first-hand how they feel both energized and relaxed after class.

One mom shared how a class she took in the morning gave her a deep peace to draw strength from in the middle of the night when her baby was up for what seemed like the millionth time.

After having a baby, your body needs time to heal and rest — and so does your mind. Postpartum yoga, also referred to as postnatal yoga, can help with both. This form of yoga focuses on recovery and restoration and can alleviate stress and depression after giving birth.

You can start practicing these top 8 postpartum yoga poses a few days to a few weeks after childbirth, depending on how your delivery went. 

(Also Read: Yoga for The Neck: Top 5 Yoga Poses for Neck Stiffness)

Table of Contents

I.      The Benefits of Postpartum Yoga Poses:

Childbirth is a transformative process that changes a mother’s body and affects her emotions. Once a medical professional clears you for exercise in the weeks following your baby’s delivery, postpartum yoga can be a great way to gently but powerfully regain your physical strength and improve your mood.

Specifically, yoga helps strengthen and tone muscles, improve balance, and reduce anxiety while increasing the release of feel-good hormones called endorphins.

By practicing yoga during the postpartum period, we begin to strengthen and stabilize the pelvic muscles, spine, trunk, and lower body in a gentle way. It’s a great way to get to know your body after pregnancy and birth so that you can respect its new boundaries and limits.

When we start to move the joints and stretch the muscles in the lower body before getting back to our running practice postpartum, we can reduce our recovery time as well as the likelihood of getting injured.

Remember, every mama’s body is different, so listen to how you feel and seek advice from a medical professional if you have questions about how and when to begin your exercise plan.

Postpartum yoga is a modified, low-intensity yoga practice. A lot of changes happen to your body after childbirth. This type of yoga is designed to help your body recover. Postpartum yoga offers the most benefits during the first three months after childbirth.

For example, postpartum yoga has been shown to decrease the risk of postpartum depression. Yoga can help balance your energy, lower blood pressure, and reduce stress and anxiety.

Postpartum yoga may also offer the following benefits:

  1. Increased calmness
  2. Decreased anxiety and depression
  3. Reduced irritability and anger
  4. Increased energy
  5. Lower blood pressure
  6. Reduced muscle tension
  7. Relaxation through meditation

Note: Try to do the following yoga poses in the order they are listed.

II.   A Few Tips Before You Try Postpartum Yoga Poses and Roll Out Your Mat

The postpartum period, or period of recovery that takes place after a mother gives birth, is an important time for mothers to take care of themselves. Typically, if you’re less than 6 weeks postpartum, you don’t want to put any pressure on your core muscles. Also, your body’s levels of relaxation, the hormone that loosens joints to prepare for childbirth, are elevated for 3-6 months after childbirth, and longer if you are breastfeeding.

All this means is: take these postpartum yoga poses slowly and stretch yourself gently—no gymnastics here or pushing beyond what is comfortable.

III. Things to keep in mind while doing postpartum yoga:

Though gentle postpartum yoga poses are almost as safe as it gets, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind when practicing postpartum yoga poses. Which are as follows:

1. Listen to your body

If there’s one time that you need to listen to your body, it’s now. When your body tells you that it’s time to stop, don’t push it. Similarly, if your hips are begging for some movement, practice a few of the postpartum yoga poses mentioned in this article to open them gently.

2. Mind your core

Your core will be weak and in need of lots of TLC after pregnancy, so be mindful when practicing any postpartum yoga poses that require core strength. Begin by checking with your doctor or midwife that it’s safe for you to start engaging the core; then practice poses such as triangle pose and warrior I to warm up the abdominal muscles.

3. Go easy on yourself

Your postpartum yoga poses practice might not look how it used to, but your body is nothing like it used to be! The transition back to running is going to take time. Postpartum yoga poses will help you to get there safely and stably, but remember to take things slowly and remember to love your body for what it’s done in bringing your child into the world.

IV.   Pregnancy Yoga Poses:

Carrying a baby to term and giving birth is an exciting and fulfilling moment in a woman’s life, but it is also physically and emotionally demanding. After the baby is born your body needs time to re-adjust. Your uterus must slough off extra cells and your hormones need to stabilize.

You also have a tiny human being to take care of 24/7, so don’t rush straight into an exhausting exercise routine too soon. If yours was a natural birth, we recommend that you wait at least 2–3 weeks, or until the bleeding has stopped, before taking up yoga again.

If you had a cesarean you should wait 6–8 weeks, or until the wound has healed. Then, start slowly, with gentle breathing and relaxation asanas, such as Corpse Pose and Belly Breathing. When your body is completely healed, usually at about three months, you can resume full yoga practice.

V.      Postpartum Yoga Poses: Top 8 Postpartum Yoga Poses

Hereby mentioned are the top 8 postpartum yoga poses to do during pregnancy. Doing these postpartum yoga poses before bed will only take 5 – 10 minutes and can help you calm your mind while preparing your body for labor and postpartum recovery.

Postpartum Yoga Poses #1: Complete Breath Standing

We begin again today without classic warm-up asana.

Postpartum Yoga Pose #1 Complete Breath Standing Benefits:

  1. Increases energy & focus
  2. Strengthens spine
  3. Tones arms & upper body
  4. Improves balance & posture

Yoga Poses Pregnancy Steps:

  1. Stand in Mountain Pose.  Exhale slowly through the nose, contracting your abdomen and relaxing your shoulders and neck. Let your chin sink towards your chest.
  2. Begin a long, deep breath as you slowly raise your chin and arms, palms facing upwards. Lifting your arms opens your lungs allowing the air to flow in.
  3. At the same time, rise on your toes until your arms are fully extended and, if you feel steady, bring your hands together. Hold your breath and count slowly to five.
  4. Exhale as you gracefully lower your arms and sink onto your heels. Repeat five times.

Postpartum Yoga Poses #2: Side Bend

Whittle your hips and waist with this gentle side bend.

Postpartum Yoga Pose #2 Side Bend Benefits:

  1. Lengthens spine
  2. Targets “love handles”
  3. Tones arms

Yoga Poses Pregnancy Steps:

  1. Stand in Mountain Pose, hands by your sides. Jump, or step, your feet to about 2 feet apart and inhale as you gracefully raise your arms. Clasp your hands above your head, keeping index fingers straight in a “steeple” position.
  2. Hug your head tightly with your biceps to lock your torso into position.
  3. Exhale and bend slowly to the left. If you feel yourself leaning slightly forwards or backward, it means you are taking the stretch too far. Hold for the count of 10, then return to the center. Repeat on the other side. Repeat three times on both sides.

Postpartum Yoga Poses #3: Tree Pose

The Tree Pose, or Vrikshasana, is named after the Sanskrit word Vrksha for “tree.” The leg you balance on represents the roots, while your body and outstretched arms represent the branches as they reach for the sun.

Postpartum Yoga Pose #3 Tree Pose Benefits:

  1. Improves concentration & balance
  2. Reduces stress
  3. Strengthens ankles, calves, thighs & hips
  4. Improves overall body strength

Yoga Poses Pregnancy Steps:

  1. Stand in Mountain Pose, hands by your sides and legs slightly apart.
  2. Inhale and raise your right knee to your chest, clasping it with your hands. Focus on an object in front of you to help keep your balance.
  3. Use your right hand to place the sole of your right foot on your left inner thigh. If this is too difficult, place it on your inner calf or ankle. Avoid placing it on the inner knee. Raise your arms.
  4. Bring your hands together in front of your chest in the Anjali mudra (prayer pose). Hold for several complete breaths.
  5. If you have no difficulty keeping your balance, inhale and raise your arms above your head, bending them at the elbows so that your palms are pointing upwards from your head. Hold for 5 complete breaths. Repeat on the other side. Repeat once on both sides.

Note: If you have high blood pressure, skip Step 5 where you raise your arms above your head.

Postpartum Yoga Poses #4: Half Twist

This gentle twist not only realigns the spine but will also firm your waistline.

Postpartum Yoga Pose #4 Half Twist Benefits:

  1. Massages digestive organs, aiding elimination
  2. Stimulates lymph flow
  3. Strengthens immune system
  4. Calms nervous system

Yoga Poses Pregnancy Steps:

  1. Sit on the floor, feet together extended in front of you and hands on the floor beside your hips.
  2. Inhale to lengthen the spine and press your sitting bones into the floor. Exhale and bend your right knee, drawing it towards your chest. Place your right foot on the floor just outside your left knee.
  3. Place your right hand on the floor behind you and bring your left hand over to clasp your left knee.
  4. Gently twist your head and neck as far as possible without straining to the right. Hold for 5 full breaths. Return to the initial position then repeat on the other side. Repeat twice more on both sides.

Postpartum Yoga Poses #5: Knees-To-Chest Pose

The Knees-To-Chest Pose is a gentle asana that helps relieve digestive problems.

Postpartum Yoga Pose #5 Knees-To-Chest Pose Benefits:

  1. Provides relief from indigestion, bloating acid reflux, flatulence & constipation
  2. Improves symptoms of IBS

Yoga Poses Pregnancy Steps:

  1. Lie on your back with your legs extended. Draw your right knee up towards your chest. Clasp your hands around the knee. Gently squeeze your leg towards you. Repeat with the other leg.
  2. Return to the first position on your back. Now draw both knees up towards your chest. Clasp your hands around the knees. Gently squeeze your legs towards you.
  3. Let your legs drop down gently to the floor. Leave your knees bent about 18 inches apart. Relax to the floor and focus on your breathing for 1–2 minutes.

Postpartum Yoga Poses #6: Half Locust

The Half-Locust or Ardha Shalabhasana prepares the body for the Full Locust backbend.

Postpartum Yoga Pose #6 Half-Locust Benefits:

  1. Relieves stress & mild depression
  2. Stimulates thyroid
  3. Promotes sleep & youthfulness
  4. Improves digestion
  5. Benefits infertility, asthma & sinusitis
  6. Relieves menopausal symptoms

Yoga Poses Pregnancy Steps:

  1. Lie flat on the floor, legs and big toes touching. Rest your arms on the floor, palms facing downwards.
  2. Turn your head towards the front and rest the ball of your chin on the floor.
  3. Exhale and very slowly lift your left leg off the floor and raise it as high as possible. Press your palms against the floor. Hold for the count for 5 then slowly lower your left to the ground. Repeat with the other leg.
  4. Exhale and press your palms against the floor as you slowly lift both legs off the floor. Just lift your legs a few inches off the floor, without straining. Hold for the count of 5 then lower to the floor.
  5. Exhale and press your palms against the floor and slowly lift both legs off the floor again. Lift your legs as high as they will go without straining. Hold for the count of five then lower your legs to the floor. Repeat.

Note: People with high blood pressure, heart disease, or who have suffered a stroke may need to avoid this pose as it increases pressure in the neck.

Postpartum Yoga Poses #7: Child’s Pose

The Child’s Pose is a gentle, restorative position often used to calm the body after more challenging poses.

Postpartum Yoga Pose #7 Child’s Pose Benefits:

  1. Relieves fatigue 
  2. Relaxes neck & shoulders
  3. Stimulates digestion
  4. Stretches lower back

Yoga Poses Pregnancy Steps:

  1. Kneel on the floor, big toes touching. Sink back onto your heels, with knees hip-width apart and spine straight. Clasp one wrist with one hand.
  2. Exhale as you fold forward from and hips, bringing your head and chest down gently as far as you can towards the floor. If possible, touch your forehead on the floor.
  3. Unclasp your hands, resting your backs on the floor. Draw your tailbone gently down towards your heels. Feel the stretch in your lower back. Hold the pose for 1–2 minutes, taking deep, slow breaths.

Postpartum Yoga Poses #8: Bow Pose

The bow pose is a powerful backbend.

Postpartum Yoga Pose #8 Bow Pose Benefits:

  1. Strengthens spine
  2. Tones whole body
  3. Opens lungs
  4. Improves circulation

Yoga Poses Pregnancy Steps:

  1. Lie on your stomach on the floor, head turned to one side.
  2. Turn your head to the front. Inhale and reach behind you to clasp the tops of your feet with your hands as you raise your chest off the floor.
  3. As you exhale, push your feet into the palms of your hands. As you push, your body will naturally lift, but focus on pushing your feet as opposed to lifting to prevent injury. Hold for 3-5 breaths. Exit by lowering yourself to the ground and releasing your feet from your grasp. Repeat twice.

VI.   Yoga Poses Pregnancy: A New Mother’s Story for Your Reference

Prenatal yoga has so many benefits, mentally, physically, and emotionally.  Despite this, during my first pregnancy, I was nervous to continue with my regular yoga practice, feeding into every warning I had heard about exercising during pregnancy. As a result, my lack of activity hindered my postpartum recovery, and I had an especially hard time getting moving again after my daughter was born.

Knowing that I wanted to have more children AND continue my yoga practice, I decided to take matters into my own hands by completing my 200-hour yoga teacher certification as well as specialized training to teach prenatal yoga classes.

Now not only am I way more confident to continue my yoga practice during my second pregnancy, but I can also teach prenatal classes with confidence, knowing that the classes I offer are safe for women at any stage in their pregnancy.

The most important takeaway when practicing yoga during pregnancy is to listen to your body. Listening to what your body needs take practice, and yoga is a great way to help connect your body and mind. If you are like me, you typically use your brain to make most decisions logically, forgetting about what your body is trying to tell you.

Perhaps you have experienced this before when you are super busy with no real end in sight . . . and then you get sick. This is an obvious sign that your body is telling you to slow down. In the same way, when you are exercising or in a yoga class, you may be following exactly what the teacher is instructing without checking in with yourself to see if it is working for your body that day, and setting yourself up for injury or illness.

Are you feeling a sharp pain in your knee during pigeon pose? Are you getting a dizzy sensation while in a forward fold? This is your body giving you little cues that something isn’t right. Take a moment to sit or lay down and breathe until it passes, instead of ignoring these feelings or thinking about how you may appear weak or inexperienced by sitting something out.

On the flip side, something may feel good – these cues are usually easier to notice. if this is the case, don’t be shy to linger in the pose.

By practicing mindfulness during yoga class, you’re developing self-awareness which can also be a great tool for getting you through labor, and life as a new mom.

Yoga Postnatal

Postpartum yoga classes should involve modified poses. Avoid overexerting yourself, especially in the first few weeks and months after childbirth.

This calming yoga flow can help you get started doing postnatal yoga: 

  1. Breathe in and connect with your body and mind.
  2. Take a big breath into your belly and connect with your core.
  3. Move your spine with a cat-cow pose.
  4. Restore your abdomen and promote blood flow with the child’s pose.
  5. Reset your body and balance your nervous system with the Legs-Up-The-Wall pose.
  6. Rest your body with a modified Savasana pose.

You can also practice yoga with your baby, which can be a good way for you to bond with your new child. In the newborn stage, your baby will spend most of the class sleeping. These classes can also help you socialize with new moms. A community for you to lean on can release some anxiety that comes with being a new parent.

Safety Considerations

Postpartum yoga is an easy way to get your body moving again. You may want to exercise at the level you did before pregnancy. However, your body is not ready for that intensity. If you push yourself too much, you could hurt yourself. 

Keep in mind that abdominal wall separation occurs during pregnancy as your belly stretches. Because of this, you should talk with your doctor before doing extensive core work. If you notice increased bleeding, dizziness, or have a rapid heart rate, seek immediate medical care.

You’ll need to be as mindful of your body postpartum as you were during pregnancy. There’s no rush to get back to your pre-pregnancy body. It’s important to focus on how you feel and letting your body heal. Childbirth is a strenuous activity that puts a lot of stress on your body. Postpartum yoga is meant to help your body slowly return to a healthy new normal you.

Staying active during pregnancy has a lot of great benefits for both mom and baby. Maintaining an exercise regimen will help you carry all of that extra weight and prepare you for the birth of your babe (which in itself could easily be compared to running a marathon)!

Other perks of fitness while preggers include increased circulation, boosts in energy levels, uplifting one’s mood, improved sleep, and help to fend off pregnancy-related illnesses such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, not to mention it will aid you in getting back in shape after the baby arrives.

That doesn’t mean it’s time to start taking boot camp three times a week, though—low-impact exercise is a good place to start.

One such option—yoga—is perfect for any expectant mom, whether she practiced before pregnancy or not. If you’re a hard-core yogini, there is no reason to stop attending your regular classes, being aware of modifications and contraindications of pregnancy. However, if you’re new to yoga, don’t have a regular practice, or want to focus on poses specific to pregnancy, prenatal yoga is where it’s at!

This practice can help prepare the body for birth by toning specific muscles, while opening the hips and pelvis, plus many midwives believe certain poses will help get your baby in the optimal position for delivery.

Focusing on breath and meditation are other great benefits to the practice that you can use throughout your pregnancy, birth, and beyond.

VII. Yoga for Labor: Why You Should Try Postpartum Yoga Poses?

Yoga is about balancing your emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual self. Postpartum yoga and exercise can be helpful while getting through the newborn stage. It can increase your mood and energy and help you slowly reconnect with your body.

Practicing postpartum yoga poses after childbirth has been shown to alleviate symptoms of postpartum depression, which can occur after the birth of your baby. Postpartum depression may appear mild at first. Symptoms can develop within weeks of childbirth or even a year after childbirth.

Symptoms include:

  1. Severe mood swings
  2. Uncontrollable crying
  3. Trouble bonding with your baby
  4. Withdrawal from family and friends
  5. No appetite or eating more than usual
  6. Insomnia or oversleeping
  7. Extreme fatigue
  8. No interest in activities you enjoyed before
  9. Irritability and anger
  10. Fear of not being a good mother
  11. Hopelessness or feelings of shame or guilt
  12. Anxiety
  13. Thoughts of harming yourself

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms after having a baby, contact your doctor. They can help you understand these feelings and offer treatment options.

Beyond alleviating anxiety and depression, postpartum yoga can simply help you relax. Take your time and be careful as you get back into yoga, though. Make sure to mind your body and know when to stop. Going too hard and too fast can be harmful.


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