Yoga is known not only to provide a healthy body but also a balanced mind. It helps the practitioner achieve strength, flexibility and agility. It also decreases the risk of diseases, improves postures, and boosts immunity. Many pregnant women can practice yoga to maintain health during pregnancy. After delivery, yoga can help ease pain and decrease or avoid post-partum complications.
The practice of Yoga is also an excellent way to lose pregnancy weight healthily. Ideally, it is recommended to wait at least six months after delivery before practicing yoga to avoid any injuries, especially for cesarean deliveries. However, many gentle practices can begin earlier. Asking your physician when you can begin or renew your practice, and trusting the felt-sense of your own body will help you decide when the timing is right.
There are a few yoga asanas that a new mother can perform to not only lose baby weight but also gain other benefits for the body after birth.
1. Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
How - Kneel on the yoga mat with your hips wide apart. Rest your feet flat on the floor and place your hands on your hips. Inhale slowly and tilt your body back. Try to touch your heels one at a time, slowly, ensuring that your arms are straight. Hold your position for 10 to 15 seconds while you breathe normally. Exhale and come back to the original kneeling position. Repeat 4 to 5 times at a or when it feels enough for your body.
Why - Ustrasana is a multipurpose pose, you can ease back aches and pains, and stretch your shoulders. It can also tone your post-pregnancy belly, chest and arms. You can also treat your thyroid, parathyroid, spondylitis and asthma with the Camel Pose.
2. Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose)
How - Sit on the yoga mat kneeling and stretch out your right leg backward while you bend the left knee in a way that the left foot is close to the pelvic bone. Slowly move forward, first with arms long, and then resting your hands on the mat. Rest your head on your mat or your hands, if that is available to you. You may also place your head on a block or bolster for more support. Maintaining balance, hold the pose for 15 to 30 seconds and then revert to the original position.
Why - Pregnant women can tone their lower body with this deep hip opener. Excellent for reducing stiffness in the pelvic area, you can also increase hip flexibility. Relieving anxiety is effective when doing the Pigeon Pose and you can prevent urinary infection that may occur after pregnancy. Pigeon Pose also tends to release stored up emotions in the hip and psoas areas. If it invokes tears, do not be alarmed. The release of energy in this pose will free up space in your body.
3. Vyaghrasana (Tiger Pose)
How - Come into tabletop pose on your hands and knees. Inhale the right knee and bring it to your chest and bend your head in. Exhale and try touching the knee to the head. Hold the position for a few seconds and then bring your knee back and outstretch that leg behind you. Raise your head up gently and inhale. Hold for a few seconds. Repeat with the other leg. You should be able to feel muscles working on your hips, back and abdomen, as well as the gluteus maximus when the leg is long.
Why - Women suffering from post-pregnancy complications can perform Vyaghrasana or the Tiger Pose. It is beneficial for your reproductive and lymphatic systems. It also tones your core, shoulders, arms and legs. Apart from helping you lose weight, this pose also improves your digestion and relieves back pain.
4. Balasana (Wild Legged Child’s Pose)
How - Start by sitting on the mat as though you were entering a regular Child's Pose. Slowly stretch your knees apart from each other, as far as possible for your body. Take a nice inhale and on the exhale slowly lower your body forward and touch your forehead on the yoga mat. Stretch out your arms in front of you without bending. Hold for 10 to 12 seconds and close your eyes. Focus on your breathing and try to relax. Inhale and exhale slowly. When you feel complete, come back to the original position. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
Why - This is an excellent yoga asana to ease those lower back and hip muscles. You can also tone your glutes and thighs with Balasana. Regular practice will help you feel relaxed and calm, reducing fatigue and tension.
5. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
How - Lie down on the yoga mat on your stomach, ensuring that your body is flat. Relax. Place your hands firmly under your shoulders. Ensure that your feet are joined together and with the tops of your feet touching the ground. Push up using the strength of your back, and lift your chest slowly from the mat while you inhale deeply. Without stressing your body too much, stretch your back and make an arc. You should be able to see the roof of the room or the sky if you are outdoors. Hold the pose for 10 to 12 seconds and breathe. Exhale while lowering down and coming back to your original position on the mat. Repeat it 5 times.
Why - One of the most common problems that women face after having a baby is back pain. Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose is effective in providing relief in such a situation and also for toning the abdomen, buttocks and shoulders, while firming arms and strengthening your spine. You will also benefit from improved oxygen circulation and blood flow to the pelvis.
Apart from performing these asanas to lose pregnancy weight, you should also focus on eating healthy. Consume a full and rich diet to replenish your body with nutrients.