10 to 30 Minute Postpartum Practice by Linda Spackman
This postpartum yoga practice is an offering to new mothers who might find the possibility of attending a yoga class in the early weeks of becoming a mother overwhelming. This practice can be done in as little as 10 minutes or for as long as half an hour. Please be encouraged to take even a little time to nourish yourself with this practice. It is designed to support you during this important and transformative time.
It is my firm belief that mothers who are healthy mentally and physically can care for their children with compassion and grace, and that many of the difficulties we have in modern society could be lessened with the awareness that yoga practice encourages in one’s life.
Purpose of the Sequence
- Bring physical alignment and alertness to posture.
- Relieve pressure in the breast area and the rounding of the shoulders so common with breast-feeding and caring for baby.
- Begin to engage the abdomen and pelvic floor in a supportive way. It is very important not to over stress strengthening this area too soon after birth.
- Encourage deep relaxation and an inward focus – very important for the early months of motherhood.
- Begin this practice 3-4 weeks post partum (6-8 weeks after C-section), or after all bleeding has stopped.
- Not for menstruation or bleeding.
- This very short sequence can be done daily.
- Build this entire sequence with intelligence, avoid rushing!
- Only do poses that feel right.
- During this time it is important to take time to nourish yourself in order to have energy and stamina to nurture your growing child.
Urdhva Prasarita Padasana – Upward Extended Legs
- Relieves upper back tension
- Lifts and tones abdominal organs
- Recline with pelvis flat and back of legs completely supported by wall
- Join the inner legs
- Tighten the thighs and knees and press the legs to the wall
- Extend strongly through the arms to lengthen and narrow waist
- Draw the abdominal organs toward the spine
- Relax your arms either overhead or by your side, whichever is more comfortable
- Soften your face
- Hold for 1 to 5 minutes
- Focus on your breath and draw your energy inwardly
- Let go of outer demands
Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog
- Lifts and tones uterus, abdominal organs and pelvic floor
- Extends spine and relieves back tension
- Not appropriate for those with wrist difficulty
- Place hands on floor and walk balls of feet on blocks, can be done without blocks
- Place center back heel at the wall with feet hip width apart
- Walk hands forward to stretch the arms and legs completely
- Press thighs up and back
- Breathe normally
- Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes, repeat up to three times
Tadasana – Mountain Pose
- Lifts and tones pelvic floor and organs
- Improves posture
- Stand with block between upper thighs, close to but not touching perineum
- Bring feet as close as possible without twisting knees
- Simultaneously turn outer thighs in and tuck buttocks away from back waist
- Press outer thighs to block to lift pelvic floor
- Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, repeat up to 3 times
Vrksasana – Tree Pose
- Improves posture
- Lifts and tones pelvic organs
- Energizes system
- Stand in Tadasana with left foot about 6 inches from wall
- Reach up though left arm and place fingers on the wall
- Lift right ankle with right hand place heel as high as possible in top of left thigh
- Press raised heel and thigh together to lift pelvic floor
- Tuck bent leg buttock away from back waist
- Extend right arm
- If possible, bring left hand away from wall to balance
- Hold for 30 seconds to one minute
- Do the left side
- Repeat up to 3 times
Vajrasana with Gomukhasana Arms
- Rests legs, releases any gripping in abdomen or pelvic floor
- Relieves leg swelling and curative for varicose veins
- Brings healthy circulation to breast area
- On hands and knees place folded blanket on calf
- With feet and knees together, sit back on heels
- Lift waist and chest
- Lift left arm straight up
- Bend elbow and reach between shoulder blades
- Take right hand to left buttock and reach towards left hand
- Attempt to clasp fingers tips
- If unable to clasp, use a strap over left shoulder and hold with each hand
- Hold for up to 1 minute each side
- To release, extend each arm to straight
- Repeat on second side
Do 2 cycles
Pasasana – Noose Twist
ADD to sequence 8 to 12 weeks after delivery.
• Relieves tension in mid-back
• Sit sideways on chair with right side towards wall and heels on high block
• Inhale and raise both sides of waist and left arm
• Exhale fold and twist to catch left shoulder outside right knee
• Bring both palms to the wall
• Twist for 15 to 30 seconds
• Repeat on left side
Maha Mudra – Great Seal
ADD to sequence 8 to 12 weeks after delivery
• Lifts and tones pelvic organs
• Corrects prolapsed uterus
• Improves digestion
• Sit on folded blanket with right foot against inner left thigh
• Push sole of left foot into strap
• Pull on strap to lift waist and chest
• Inhale, raise chest and chin
• Exhale tuck chin to chest
• Inhale into the chest
• While exhaling, gently lift pelvic floor and abdominal organs up and back towards spine
• Repeat 1 to 3 cycles
• Raise chin
• Change sides
• To finish, extend both legs to straight and press thighs down
Savasana Cycle with Roll – Corpse Pose Cycle with Roll
- Opens chest
- Relieves fatigue
- Recline with blanket roll under tip of shoulder blades
- Rest back of head and feet on floor
- If comfortable, straighten the legs
- Remain 1 to 3 minutes
- Then bend the legs, press the feet, lift the pelvis and move shoulders to the floor
- Move the blanket under the tip of the tailbone
- If tailbone is tender, try adjusting blanket or skip to the next step
- Extend the legs if possible
- Remain 1 to 3 minutes
- Then bend the legs, press the feet, lift the pelvis and move blanket under back of thighs
- Completely relax for 3 to 5 minutes
- Focus on the quiet rhythmic nature of your breath
- With each inhalation visualize light coming into your chest
- Trace the path of your exhalation until it completely disappears (do not do this last step if you suffer from postpartum depression)
Roll to the side and use strength of arms to come to up
Finish practice by sitting quietly.
Prepare to focus your energy and attention outwardly by first reflecting on gratitude for the support you received to do this practice, (from family, or from baby’s sleeping or resting quietly). Then set your intention to bring any clarity and insight you gained from the practice into your relationships and toward fulfilling your responsibilities.