Postnatal Yoga and Pilates

POSTNATAL PILATES AND YOGA
When is the right time to get back into Yoga or Pilates? Your body has had an enormous series of adjustments to make after the birth of your baby. The body adjusts to the fluid built up during your pregnancy, the uterus decreases in size and relocates in the pelvis, hormonal change and adapting to caring for your new baby can be assisted by a gentle exercise program like Yoga or Pilates. As these changes can produce heat in the body, vigorous exercise which stimulates more heat production can aggravate symptoms and create more unpleasant ones, dehydration, anxiety, constipation, palpitations, low milk production.... So, start off Slowly. Give yourself permission to nourish yourself at this important stage of being a new Mother.

Pilates focuses on strengthening and toning weak muscles and aid in your recovery. It works in the integral core muscles, as well as targeting muscles of the arms, belly, buttock & thighs. Strengthening these areas can prepare you for the lifting and carrying of your baby and toddler, avoiding future injury.

Yoga whilst also addressing core and utilizing a range of muscle groups (also working the legs), can be diverse depending on the style of class. It differs from Pilates in that it employs a deep connection with the breath in a way to access the vital life force in the body. Yoga asana (posture) is only part of the practice and is a tool for personal development, not just exercise. A Restorative class will be a way to nourish the adrenal system and start back into movement therapy slowly. A Beginners/Improvers yoga class can ease you back into movement and if the class is well rounded, you will end the class in Sivasana, allowing the body to come to a still point – where the magic happens. Gradually work your way to a class with a more intense level or a vinyasa flowing style, when you’re ready.
It is important to ensure you’re ready to start, you may be advised that you can start after your 6 week postnatal check up. For others it may be longer. If you have had a C-section, it is vital that the abdominal muscles have healed before you embark on any program which will recruit this area.

BENEFITS OF DOING PILATES OR YOGA AFTER PREGNANCY?
• Rehabilitation of pelvic floor muscles, abdominal and back muscles
• Builds strength, firms and tones your body
• Gives you an opportunity to take time out for self care
• Prepares the body for aerobic or high impact exercise
• Helps Rectus diastasis (abdominal separation) recovery
• Improves mood, relieves stress and restores balance both physically and mentally

DO
Take it slowly, gently and pace yourself
Wait until you’re over the 6 week mark before attending class
Be patient and persistent, your post natal body will feel different to your pre-pregnant body
Enjoy the process

DON’T
Overdo the exercising, as it may affect milk production
Do forward flexion exercises if an abdominal separation is present
Overstretch as relaxin will still be present during breastfeeding stage