Your Guide to Yoga After Pregnancy

Mother standing in a warrior pose while baby plays next to her mat

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After you have a baby, you may be eager to resume your yoga practice and reconnect with your body. The most important thing to remember is that your postpartum body may be very different than the body you had before getting pregnant.

You have to work with the body you have now, not the one you had nine months ago. This is not to say that you'll never get back to the level of practice you had before. It's just a reminder that it takes time and patience.

Postpartum Precautions 

Doctors usually recommend six weeks of recovery time for new mothers after a vaginal birth and longer after a cesarean. Have your doctor or midwife check for diastasis recti (abdominal separation), which can affect how you approach your return to working out. When you have been given the OK from your health provider and have no significant bleeding, you can start to do yoga again. Women who notice substantial bleeding—especially when accompanied by rapid heart rate or dizziness—should seek medical care.

If you did prenatal yoga, you probably learned a thing or two about listening to your body and not pushing yourself too hard. Ease yourself back into your yoga practice, keeping in mind that getting back into shape is a process.

Diastasis recti (abdominal wall separation) is common after pregnancy and can affect how and when you return to your yoga practice. Make sure your healthcare practitioner checks for it; always start slowly, listen to your body, and adapt poses when necessary.

If you are breastfeeding, you may be uncomfortable lying on your stomach in poses that squash your chest, like knees, chest, and chin. You can always ask the teacher for another pose or make your own substitution during long ​shalabasana sequences.

Classes for You and Your Baby

When you have a newborn, you are attached at the hip, or at the breast if you are nursing. But if you can arrange for someone else to watch the baby for a few hours, getting away to a yoga class on your own will do you a world of good. It's almost like getting a spa vacation to be able to do something to nurture your own body and soul once or twice a week. If you are lucky enough to be able to do this, be sure to tell the teacher that you just had a baby. Yoga teachers really need to know these types of things in order to offer you the best experience. If a solo class isn't in the cards for you, don't despair. Mom and baby classes can be wonderful too, particularly because they help connect you with a community of other new moms.

Postpartum Yoga at Home

Sometimes doing yoga at home is the best solution for new moms. The following sequences would be appropriate places to start. They are all quite short, which will probably work well with your schedule. If you find yourself with more time, string a few together to make a longer session.

  • Yoga Warm Up Sequence: The first time you roll out your mat to do yoga at home, you might find yourself staring at it, hoping it will tell you what to do next. This short, gentle sequence is the answer.
  • Stretches for Nursing Moms: This is designed just for you! Even if you are bottle feeding, your back and neck get achy from curving forward in the cradling position. These poses will totally help.
  • 10-Minute Daily Stretch Routine: This short and sweet sequence addresses all your major muscle groups efficiently. It's nice to do the same series of poses every day because you can really see yourself improve.
  • Flow Sequence of Classic Standing Poses: Getting back to basics is a wonderful way to pick up your practice anew. This is a short flowing sequence for vinyasa lovers.
  • Warrior Poses Sequence: Motherhood has a way of bringing out your fierce protective warrior persona. Embrace it with this sequence of poses.
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  1. Wormer KC, Jamil RT, Bryant SB. Acute Postpartum Hemorrhage. In: StatPearls Publishing; Updated: June 9, 2019