4 Yoga Poses to Help Ease New Mom Anxiety

By Mia Barnes for Yoga Medicine.

You shouldn’t be super active right after you’ve given birth. However, yoga can help you stretch your sore muscles and relieve some stress without forcing you to go beyond your comfort zone as you heal. Once you get confirmation from your doctor, you can start doing these postpartum yoga exercises that can take away some new-mom anxiety.

1. Warrior I

The greatest part of the Warrior I pose is building strength in your arms. Because you’ve been carrying a baby around, you may notice your shoulders or neck starting to hurt. This pose can open your chest and make you feel lighter.

Here’s how you can counter those sore muscles from carrying your little one:

  1. Follow the standard Warrior I pose to open your hips.
  2. Reach your arms behind your back.
  3. Interlock your fingers to a shoulder bind and stretch those muscles.

Yoga can be a challenge for someone unused to it, but you can practice some of these poses anywhere. After you put your child to sleep for the evening, take a few moments to practice yoga in a dark room while your eyes get adjusted to the light again. Forcing yourself to practice in the dark can keep you focused on your balance and improve your strength overall.

2. Pigeon Pose

Though this pose might look difficult at first, it might be one of the most beneficial when relieving muscle stress and tension. To get to this position, you’ll start in a downward-facing dog pose. Then, as you breathe out, bring one foot in and rest your other knee on the ground.

Moving into this pose, you must breathe and focus on your body. Try to move your foot to the opposite side of the mat, letting your leg lie flat on its side. Keep breathing as you slowly lower yourself downward, stretching out as far as you can.

Next, if you want to take the pose a step further, you can bend the leg you extended behind you. Reach back for it until you can grasp your foot or ankle. If you can’t reach it, go as far as you can without hurting yourself. In time, with this stretch, you may feel your stress melt away.

3. Skull Shining Breath

This pose will be great for anyone who needs a moment of silence to meditate. Sit in the Easy Pose position before lifting your arms and reaching up toward the sky. Point your thumbs upward, as if you’re giving someone a thumbs-up sign that everything is OK. Tighten your stomach as much as you can, exhaling everything within your body in short bursts.

If the short bursts feel uncomfortable, try longer, slower breaths instead. Don’t do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable and of course, have fun during your yoga practice. Stress is an ongoing public health issue for American adults, so it’s important to do your best to make some time for yourself, as busy as you may be.

4. Kegel Exercises

While this exercise isn’t technically a yoga pose on its own, it can make a difference in just a few weeks or months of daily practice. You may have a weak pelvic floor if you have less control of your bladder and experience leaks. Strengthening it with kegel exercises can be beneficial, but talk to your doctor first.

If you want to strengthen your muscles back to how they were pre-pregnancy, you need to try out kegel exercises. Sink into child’s pose, then squeeze your bladder muscles. Hold the squeeze for around five seconds, then release. You can rest for a few seconds before trying again. Over time, you’ll be able to increase how many sets you can do at once.

Use Yoga to Relieve Stress and Pain

Struggling with anxiety is never fun, no matter what season of life you’re in. Fear can creep up on you suddenly and make you feel like a bad mom, though it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Activity can sometimes relieve these anxiety symptoms. Before you jump back into cardio and strength training, lean into simple movements with your favorite yoga poses. They can help you appreciate everything your body can do and relax you through all the stressful parts of motherhood.


About the Author

Mia Barnes is a health and wellness freelance writer with a passion for covering topics related to yoga, meditation and mindfulness. Mia is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Body+Mind Magazine. Follow Mia and Body+Mind on Twitter and LinkedIn!

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