The days and weeks following childbirth can be difficult for new moms. You may be recovering from a C-section or an episiotomy in addition to the inherent physical exhaustion of labor, your abdominal muscles have stretched to inches within their limits and now need to regain their strength and pre-pregnancy shape, your back and hips may feel tight and inflexible, and you probably feel psychologically detached from your body—a stranger to the new you.
Yoga may be the last thing on your mind, but just a couple minutes of practice each day can speed your recovery, reconnect your mind and body, and even battle postpartum depression.
"Yoga is a wonderful way to get back in shape," Says Sarah Perron, co-author and co-founder of Baby Om. "It works the whole body and it is very adaptable. You don't have to have done any yoga before and there is plenty for you to do to build strength and flexibility."
Although there are many yoga postures that you can practice within the first six weeks of delivery, you'll need to first meet with your physician. "All women should get the go-ahead from the MD or midwife before going back to yoga and exercising," says Betsy Kase, owner and director of Yoga Haven in Tuckahoe, New York. "It is usually recommended that a woman wait until she stops bleeding."
Laura Staton, co-author and co-founder of Baby Om, suggests five yoga postures during postpartum recovery. She points out, "The following poses can be done by all women at any stage," including those who've had Cesarean sections.