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Fitness For New Moms: Getting Back Into Shape With Yoga

With the kind of routine that involves caring for a newborn, you need to select a form of exercise that’s easy on your body and mind. You need a routine that can be broken up into parts, so that you can do it whenever you can spare some time. Under these circumstances, there’s really nothing better than yogic stretches, notes Priti Salian.

Yoga asanas to help get back into shape after pregnancyYou have finally been ‘delivered’ after those nine long, weary and sickly months of waiting for the Big Day. Good for you!

Now you long to see yourself back in your good old shape… right? Well, the matter is not over yet. Caring for a newborn is far from easy on those streamlined lines you long to recapture.

With the kind of routine this involves, you need to select a form of exercise that’s easy on your body and mind. You need a routine that can be broken up into parts, so that you can do it whenever you can spare some time. Under these circumstances, there’s really nothing better than yogic stretches.

A word of caution, though – doctors recommend that before launching any kind of exercise regimen, a new mother needs to wait at least six weeks if the delivery was normal and more (at least three months) if it was surgical.

Before you begin, you should ensure that residual bleeding has stopped and your doctor has given his consent. These are some of the problems faced after pregnancy that yoga can help with:

1. Poor posture

You have carried your baby for nine months or more in your abdomen. This has taken a heavy toll on your posture. Breastfeeding and carrying your baby, sometimes on your hands and at times on your waist only adds to the problem. Yogasanas help straighten your back, shoulders and neck and give you back your natural poise.

2. Lack of energy

All your attention is on your baby and her requirements. With the number of waking hours involved, it is very difficult for you to get proper sleep and you tend to feel drained most of the time. Concentrating your energies by focusing on your breathing during yoga can help freshen and invigorate you.

3. Depression and low morale

Neglecting yourself and taking care of your baby day in and day out takes its toll on morale. Not being able to go out, dress up well or meet your friends can bring on post partum depression. Looking at yourself in the mirror and seeing the flab doesn’t help, either. Yogic poses build self confidence and the deep breathing calms and relaxes you.

4. Loss of bladder control

Many mothers experience reduced control over their bladder and also reduced sexual pleasure. Yoga helps strengthen pelvic floor muscles, and does away with such problems.

5. Weak abdominal muscles

Your abdominal muscles sag due to pregnancy. Yoga helps to strengthen and tone them.

6. Post pregnancy backaches

Backaches and stiffness are commonly experienced problems after pregnancy. Nursing your baby in all positions and rocking him worsen your problem. Certain yogasanas help in stretching your spine and providing relief from backaches.

7. Digestive disorders

Post–partum digestive disorders are well known to new mothers. Several yogasanas perfect your digestive system if you practice them for just ten minutes a day.

8. Lack of time

While you are busy taking care of your baby’s needs all day, it is difficult to set aside time for your basic requirements, leave alone for exercise. But yoga can be helpful even if you practice a couple of poses in your spare moments. You can always pick up again, later in the day, when you have the time.

Yogasanas that can be practiced post-partum:

Straighten up Tadasana is absolutely essential for your posture and so is vrikshasana or the tree pose which tones your leg muscles and gives you poise.

Empower your bowelsVajrasana, uttithapadasana pawanmuktasana and markatasana can be really helpful in keeping your digestive system stable.

Sculpt your tummyUttithapadasana or the alternate lifting of legs while lying on your back with your hands by your hips and palms facing down is said to be the best asana for tightening your abdominal muscles. You can lift your legs at an angle of 30 to 40 degrees or 70 to 80 degrees for concentrating on different parts of your abdomen.

Strengthen your pelvis Bhadrasana is good for the muscles of the uro-genital region, facilitating a fresh flow of blood to them. It also makes the knee, hip and ankle joints more elastic.

Relieve your backache – Yoga poses like bhujangasana, paschimottanasana and shalabhasana stretch the spine and relieve back problems.

Soothe your nerves
Anuloma Viloma pranayama (breathing technique with alternate nostrils) is extremely beneficial for the nerves as it clears them of any obstructions. It is said to open up both the sides of your brain, helping in balanced thinking.

Unwind Shavasana is strongly recommended for relaxation. Bhramari pranayam eases out any kind of mental agitation and tension. It also has beneficial effects on your ear, nose, eyes and mouth and imparts a glow to your face. The chanting of Om is said to purify your environment and give you peace of mind.

You must keep in mind that yogasanas must always be done two hours after a heavy meal. Also, you should be gentle with your body and never stretch yourself beyond your limits. You should intersperse the practice of all asanas with shavasana so that your body does not get tired.


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