These yoga poses are safe for new moms to practise and include ways to move and bond with your baby. Plus, it’s National Children’s Day on 5 November – and this is a great way to share some special time with your little one.
Even if you’ve never practised yoga before, these poses are super-accessible and designed for all levels of experience, fitness and flexibility. After you’ve given birth, it is important to get medical clearance from your doctor or health-care professional before you begin exercising.
Yoga has also been shown to help alleviate symptoms of postpartum depression.
Find a comfortable, carpeted area that you can place a mat or towel over and stretch yourself out. Remember to take these movements as slowly and as gently as you may need, while focusing on your breath and tuning in to how your body feels.
Before you begin your practise, place your baby gently on the mat, between the top and centre points.
Pose 1: Cat & Cow
Bring yourself to a Table Top position, on all fours, with your knees below your hips and hands beneath your shoulders, on either side of your baby’s legs or feet.
From here, take a deep inhale and simultaneously drop the belly to arch your back and lift your head, looking up towards the ceiling. This is Cow.
As you exhale, round your spine, press your hands into the floor and look down towards your baby’s feet. This is Cat.
Find your own natural rhythm of breath and move on the breath, doing between 10 to 20 Cat-Cows.
Pose 2: Downward Facing Dog
From Table Top position, gently lift your knees up off the mat and your hips up into the air, so that your body forms the shape of a triangle. Look towards your baby (if this feels comfortable for your neck, or loko between your hands) as you stretch one leg at a time, while bending the opposite leg (called: Walking The Dog).
Bring your knees gently back down to the mat so that you are in Table Top position once more, allowing your body to rest for a few breaths.
Gently lift your knees up off the mat and your hips up into the air, so that your body forms the shape of a triangle once more. Now hold the position for three to five breaths, feeling the legs stretch out. Repeat this process twice more.
Pose 3: Chaturanga Repeats
From Table Top position, begin to lower your upper body down towards the mat in a low plank, while bending your arms.
Touch your nose to your baby’s belly or face (or sneak a quick kiss) and come back up again into Table Tap position.
This may feel easier if you scooch your knees back a few centimetres and widen the positioning of your hands. (If you’re unsure of your strength, test this movement next to your baby instead of hovering over.)
Repeat this five to 10 times.
Pose 4: Forehead-to-Knee Bend
Change your posture into a seated position, opening your legs out to the sides, creating a wide triangle around your baby. Bend your right knee (careful to move around your baby) and draw your right foot toward your inner left thigh (you can place a pillow beneath your right knee for comfort). Keep your left leg straight out to the side.
Inhale and lengthen your spine, turning slightly towards your straight leg. Exhale and fold at your hips to lean forward. Walk your hands forward to stretch out your back. If you are able to fold low enough, you can touch your nose to your baby (or give a quick kiss). Stay like this for five to 10 breaths. Slowly sit back back up, switch your legs and repeat on the other side.
Pose 5: Bridge With Your Baby
Lie down on your back, with your baby resting against your hips, facing towards you. (If your baby is smaller, you can rest them over your chest and belly as you perform the moves).
Point your knees up towards the ceiling while you walk your heels as close to your sit bones as you comfortably can.
Holding your baby gently with both hands (for stabilisation), lift your pelvis off the floor as you take a deep inhale, keeping your thighs parallel to each other (squeeze your glutes and engage your quads to keep your hips lifted). Hold the position for three breaths and then slowly lower back down. Repeat this move five to 10 times.