Yoga for post pregnancy: 7 exercises to strengthen core after C-section delivery
Postpartum Yoga: There is a common belief that getting a C-section delivery might make it harder for women to reduce post-pregnancy belly fat. While it involves major surgery to the stomach area, you can still lose excess belly fat by practicing these 7 Yoga asanas.
If you are looking to lose that belly fat and whip up in shape once you’re cleared for exercise following childbirth, search no more as we got you sorted with expert-approved 7 Yoga exercises that will not only help you shed the post-pregnancy belly fat but also help in strengthening the abdominal or your core after undergoing a C-section delivery. There is a common belief that getting a Caesarean delivery might make it harder for women to reduce post-pregnancy belly fat but the truth is that while it involves major surgery to the stomach area, new mommies can still lose excess belly fat by practicing certain Yoga asanas.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Yoga expert Abhishek Otwal shared, “Yoga is one of the best exercises to stay healthy, fit and get a strong physical body. The postpartum weight is natural but it should be lost in time otherwise it will convert into severe illness lie obesity and thyroid in future. Preferably, women should start yoga after 8 to 10 weeks of having their baby. Remember, it is always better to consult your doctor and also give enough time to your body to heal properly before you start any weight loss, Yoga or exercises.”
He added, “After delivery, women face many physical and mental problems such as morning sickness, pain around their waist, weight gain during pregnancy and anxiety. Along with a nutritious diet, few Yoga asanas can always help you to tackle these routine problems. Apart from body toning, Yoga calms your inner mind, body and soul and definitely helps you to deal with any kind of stress and nervousness.”
Abhishek Otwal suggested that once you begin your Yoga session, start with basic stretching of your neck, arms, shoulders, knees and ankles and ensure you breathe properly while stretching. He listed 8 Yoga asanas which can help new mothers to strengthen the abdominal after C-sec delivery.
1. Chaturanga Dandasana or plank pose
Method: It is one of the 12 powerful Yoga poses that together complete a Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation. It is also called plank; plank is one exercise which can be done during Yoga and at the gym as well. Try to hold for the maximum time or at least 50 – 60 seconds to strengthen the abdominal area.
Benefits: It is one of the best Yoga poses for weight loss as it involves a remarkable number of body muscles. Moreover, this asana helps to align the full body and strengthens the spine and the muscles around it. Furthermore, it is also responsible for improving core strength, posture and stability of your body. This Yoga pose is very helpful in reducing abdominal fat. It strengthens the arms and wrists as well and tones the abdomen area. This asana is a little difficult to perform and requires a lot of sufficient strength of the arms to perform.
2. Bhujangasana or Cobra pose
Method: Lie down flat on your stomach. Rest your palms by the side of your chest, arms close to your body, elbows pointing outward. Inhale and raise your forehead, neck and shoulders.
Raise your trunk using the strength of your arms. Look upward while breathing normally. Make sure that your stomach is pressed on the floor. Hold the pose for 5 seconds. Slowly lie back flat on your stomach. Turn your head to one side and rest your arms by the side of your body.
Benefits: The reclining back-bending asana of Yoga called Bhujangasana or Cobra pose strengthens the spine, butt, butt muscles, chest, abdomen, shoulders, lungs and improves blood circulation while also releasing the stress in one’s body. It increases thyroid functioning and is helpful for people suffering from hypothyroidism since it stretches the neck and throat region.
This asana is very helpful to lose the fat around your stomach. Slowly and gradually, this pose tones down the muscles in the shoulder, abdomen and chest part and decreases the stiffness of the lower back and strengthens the arms and shoulders.
3. Tadasana or Mountain Pose
Method: Stand solid on the ground with a small gap between your feet and while deeply breathing (inhale), raise your both arms upward by interlocking your fingers. Now, stand on your toes by raising your heels simultaneously and notice the pressure of stretching from toes to fingers.
Hold onto this position as long as you can with slow and deep breathing. Then, release and come to the original position with deep breathing (exhale) and repeat the same pose as per your convenience after relaxing for a while.
Benefits: Tadasana is a deep breathing exercise that provides strength and expansion to the lungs, may increase height, develops and activates the nerves of the entire body and gives strength to the vertebral column and heart. It is also good for regulating the menstrual cycle in women, cures problems related to indigestion in all practitioners, strengthens the arms and legs, helps to remove lethargy from the body and reduces the problem of flat feet.
It is very effective for weight loss post C-section delivery as it helps in improving the body control, strength and tones the full body and improves blood flow and posture.
4. Trikonasana or the Triangle Pose
Method: Stand straight on a flat even ground with your feet comfortably apart. Turn your right foot to face outside while keeping the heel inwards. Both heels should be in a straight line.
Inhale and bend your body from your hip to the right and raise your left arm straight up. Meanwhile, your right hand can either rest on your ankle or shin or even on the mat if you are comfortable.
Keeping your head in line with your torso, you can gaze up at your left palm if comfortable. With every exhale, let the body relax a little more
Benefits: This asana is an amazing stretching exercise as it helps to improve flexibility in your spine and pelvic region. This pose will help you develop strength and balance too.
Since Trikonasana involves the whole body, its benefits are immense including treating the neck sprain, stimulating and transporting the blood flow throughout the veins and body hence, reducing any risks of a block or stroke, stimulating the digestive system, improving the flexibility of the spine and correcting the alignment of shoulders. It also relieves gastritis, indigestion, acidity and flatulence while strengthening the ankles and the palms, reducing the piled up stress and anxiety and reduces discomfort.
It is especially useful for pregnant women since it not only shifts their center of gravity but also stretches and opens the hips which can be a big help during delivery. Trikonasana is one of the most recommended asanas for a woman post C-sec delivery as it helps in reducing abdominal fat and slimming the waist. This pose helps to strengthen the lower body, arms, and chest by giving maximum stretch to the spine, hamstrings, and calves. It improves digestive disorders and relieves stress and anxiety which is commonly found in women post-delivery.
5. Ustrasana or camel pose
Method: Kneel know on the Yoga mat and keep your knees and feet together. Lean in the backward direction by pushing your hips in the forward direction.
Bend your head and the spine as backward and farther as possible without straining. Rest your hands on your feet, relax your body and the muscles of your back, hold onto the position for a few seconds before releasing.
Benefits: From stretching and strengthening the shoulders and back to opening up the hips and stretching deep hip flexors, Ustrasana not only improves respiration by opening up the chest but also improves digestion and elimination by expanding the abdominal region. It loosens up the vertebrae, relieves lower back pain, improves posture and reduces fat on thighs.
This asana helps to massage all the organs along with the kidney but practice this pose with the guidance of an expert. This asana helps to send fresh blood to the organs of the body and oxidize and detoxify it. It is helpful for reducing belly area after C-sec delivery.
6. Naukasana/Navasana or boat pose
Method: Sit on the floor with your legs spread straight in front of you. Keeping your spine erect and hands resting beside your hips, bend your knees and lean back slightly. Now inhale and lift both legs up while extending your hands forward. Keep your toes at eye level and lengthen your spine. Hold the pose for 5 to 10 seconds and release the posture.
Benefits: Yoga’s Naukasana or boat pose not only beats stress but can also row you out of many issues that your body maybe undergoing. It helps strengthen the core and hip flexors, strengthens and improves flexibility in the hip joints and legs, stimulates abdominal organs and improves digestion while also improving the steadiness of the body.
Naukasana helps in regulating blood flow at sugar level and strengthens the abdominal muscles. It improves the health of all organs in the abdomen, especially the liver, pancreas and kidneys and also strengthens the muscles of the arms, thighs and shoulders.
This yoga pose is considered to be very effective for weight loss post C–sec delivery. This pose is known to reduce stomach fat and cure a variety of diseases related to digestion and strengthen the belly area. Also, when in regular routine when you are not getting too much time for exercise. At that moment, it helps you to tone your stomach and thigh muscles.
Method: Start by sitting in a cross-legged position. Rest your hands on your knees and close your eyes. Keep your right thumb on your right nostril and close it. Inhale deeply from your left nostril for 4 counts.
Now close your left nostril with your right ring finger and hold it for 2 seconds. At this step, you are holding your breath with both your nostrils being closed. Take off your right thumb from your right nostril and exhale deeply through your right nostril.
Inhale from your right nostril for 4 counts while continuing to keep your ring finger on your left nostril and then, close both nostrils for 2 seconds and exhale deeply with your left nostril. Repeat this process for 5 minutes. Concentrate on your breathing while doing it.
Benefits: As the ancient practice of controlling breath, Pranayama connects body and mind, supplies body with oxygen while removing toxins and is meant to provide healing physiological benefits. The stress-relieving effects of pranayama include improving one’s sleep quality, increasing mindfulness and reducing high blood pressure.
Bhramari Pranayama helps generate up to 15% more nitric oxide through the vibrations of the humming sound, ‘Aum’. This, in turn, helps early recovery and healing from Covid-19, relaxes the mind, lowers stress, improves concentration and alleviates anxiety.
Anulom Vilom Pranayam has a number of benefits like improving immune system, boosting your memory, improving respiratory and cardiovascular health and regulating blood pressure. This Yoga asana also improves sleep and helps to de-stress.
Pranayama, the simple breathing exercise which puts suitable pressure on the abdominal area and helps to lose belly fat post C-section. It is harmless too and increases the concentration level as well.