Yoga Poses for Nursing Moms

yoga poses for nursing momsYou’ve waited for the go-ahead from your doctor and you’re feeling up to starting your workout routine now that you’ve delivered your baby. You know you can’t pick up where you left off before you got pregnant—it’s important that you pay close attention to the signals your body gives you during the first few weeks you introduce working out into your life again. If you didn’t practice yoga before giving birth, post-baby is a great time to try it out.

Why yoga?

With a newborn, life is more chaotic than before. Even though there will be many more demands on your time (after all, your infant needs your attention constantly), taking a few quiet moments will be essential for your mental health. With yoga, there is no minimum time needed to make a session successful. Success is not measured by calories burned or distance covered—yoga is considered a success if your muscles feel less tension, you can stand a little straighter, or even your breath is a little deeper. Yoga has the power to calm, unlike a more traditional cardio-based work out. Even ten minutes of practice can make a world of a difference for your mental and physical health as a new mom.

Take it slow

There’s no rush to master poses or tone muscles; use this time to perfect yoga relaxation techniques. In a simple cross-legged position, sit as straight as you can and take a few, slow breaths. In through your nose and out through your mouth in a relaxed, even manner. This is the one time of the day where you’re encouraged to move slowly and deliberately—take advantage!

Beginner’s yoga poses to try

Most teachers recommend using a yoga mat because of the superior grip you get from a mat, but a towel can be used as a substitute at home. If you’re looking to purchase one for yourself, most retailers carry yoga mats in sporting goods sections. In a quiet section of your home, try the following poses at your discretion. Unlike other work outs, you are not always meant to move quickly from one pose to another—these are not “reps” you have to power through! Spend time getting to know each pose. You can even pick out one pose to work on for a 10-20 minute session.

Child’s Pose

In a kneeling position, slowly lower yourself to the ground. With your knees slightly spread, place your forehead on the ground between your knees. Fold the rest of your body over your legs, making sure that your buttocks are as close to touching your feet as possible. Stretch your arms out in front of your body. Relax into the pose even more by closing your eyes.

Mountain Pose

Standing up, keep your feet hip distance apart and facing in the same direction. Make sure your weight is centered over your core. Shoulders down and relaxed, slowly lift your hands over your head from the sides in a slow arc. Keep your arms straight and lifted toward the ceiling. You want your palms to face in and stay shoulder width apart. Look forward and keep your gaze straight.

Cow/Cat Poses

These two poses complement one another so I’ve paired them together. On your hands and knees, make sure you are balanced and your hands are placed firmly on the ground about shoulder width apart. You want to feel sturdy on the ground. For Cat pose, slowly round your back towards the ceiling. Round your shoulders slightly but be careful not to overextend yourself. After holding your back in rounded position for a few deep breaths, gently return to your beginning pose. For Cow pose, pull your shoulders up and arch your back. Feel your hips rise and your chest open. Remember to keep your knees and hands flat on the floor with your wrists under your shoulders for both poses!

Don’t forget to pay attention to your body while practicing yoga—if you feel painful sensations, don’t continue without consulting your doctor or another trusted professional.

Did I miss some of your favorite yoga poses? Let me know in the comments or on our Facebook page!

For more information, read one new mom’s testimony about getting back into her yoga practice after her birth here.