One of my client friends is newly postpartum, (just a bit shy of 3 months PP) and kept mentioning that she wanted to go to a yoga class. I knew that she would go with or without me, so I decided to join her for a class so that I could teach her how to safely modify her practice for her newly postpartum body.
Please keep in mind that Katie has been practicing her alignment and breathing since she was 2 weeks postpartum. She has also strength trained twice a week for the past 4 weeks. When I assessed her for diastasis recti at 8 weeks PP, she had a 1 finger width separation and is capable of generating awesome tension along her linea alba with her core and floor breath.
Here is an AWESOME video demonstrating the core and floor breath.
If you weren’t checked for diastsis recti at your 6-week postpartum appointment, here is a link to assess yourself.
As a busy new mama, postnatal yoga classes can be hard to fit into your hectic schedule. Instead of forgoing it all together, here are 5 tips to make standard yoga classes friendlier for your postpartum body. I cannot stress enough that simply because you are “cleared for exercise at 6 weeks,” that your body is completely healed. You’re most likely NOT; this is especially true if you are nursing. Breastfeeding maintains your pregnancy hormones resulting in more joint laxity. Some women who love yoga are already hypermobile and these hormones can exacerbate the laxity of the joints. As a result we really want to be SMART when returning to our yoga practice.
Practicing your core and floor breath and connection is PERFECT for a yoga class.
My friend and fellow coach Victoria Dosen has 2 GREAT ways for new mamas to reconnect. Watch the video and decide for yourself what cues and positions feel best.
Unfortunately there is no “one-sized fits all” approach to postpartum fitness. Some women respond to one cue while others cannot relate. Everyone has different “issues” post baby, and some lucky few have none! This is why I recommend that you make an appointment with a pelvic floor physical therapist either during pregnancy and/or in the early postpartum period.
Unfortunately, a large majority of the standard sequenced yoga class is not optimal for the newly postpartum body. I get it, you FEEL tight from nursing, sitting, rocking, bending over…but in my opinion, stretching isn’t always your best option.
Instead of listing WHAT NOT TO DO, here are 5 SMART MODIFICATIONS for your body.
- While everyone else is doing chaturanga after chaturanga, practice this mini flow that will leave your back feeling happy.
- Instead of deep warrior lunges and twists perform this instead.
- Instead of deep backbends and intense heart openers perform these instead.
4. Instead of crunches variations, practice these.
- Instead of front planks and more advanced side plank variations give these a try.
Would you like to hear more about pregnancy and postpartum?
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