Most C-sections end up leaving you with tough-to-lose belly flab. Here are some yoga poses to combat that…
There’s no denying that most women would prefer a natural birth as opposed to a C-section. That said, there’s nothing unnatural about a C-section either, be it necessary or elective. The recovery after a C-section can be a breeze if you follow your doctor’s instructions and listen to your body. Mostly, a good diet, moderate walking, and gentle exercise (even pre-natal yoga), as well as breastfeeding, makes you lose the pregnancy fat in 3-6 months. However, the C-section belly overhang can be quite an irritant on an otherwise slim and healthy post C-section body.
Let me be clear, there’s no body shaming involved in this article. Giving birth is a beautiful if arduous process and yes, your body does change after a pregnancy. And that’s not shameful! Our bodies change; they are dynamic. We need to embrace the changes in a positive way—working to get healthier and fitter is fine but your health and the baby's health come first.
Before you start post-partum yoga or any fitness program, consult your doctor and get an official go-ahead. Your stitches may have healed but your body’s insides are probably still healing—the trick here is to start slow and go slow. Start your yoga only once all the bleeding has stopped. Yoga is not really a targeted weight loss aid; rather it focuses on the entire body and makes it stronger, from the core outwards. Here we discuss a few asanas that aid in core strengthening as well as strengthening of the belly and back muscles.
Skull Shining Breathing Technique (Kapalbhati Pranayama)
When you just start yoga post-partum, immaterial of how fit you might have pre-pregnancy, you have to start slow. A good way to begin is with the Kapalbhati Pranayama. Sit cross legged, spine erect with your hand placed on your knees. Inhale deeply. Now forcefully throw your breath out (as in breathe out as hard as you can), compressing your abdomen and pulling it towards your spine. Do this in rapid bursts till your lungs are empty. Breathe in and begin again, repeating at least 5 times.
Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
To try camel pose, begin to kneel on the yoga mat with your knees hip-width apart, feet upturned and resting flat on the floor—your body needs to be upright from the knee up. Inhaling, tilt back slowly with your hands on your hips. Exhale and tilt further back, and place your hands on your heels one by one. Hold this position for 15-20 seconds and breathe normally. Exhale while coming back to starting position. This Ustrasana is great for toning the abdominal muscles but also gives you a complete body stretch.
Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
A great asana for anyone looking to lose some belly fat and reduce their waist size especially new mothers, the trikonasana improves balance and strengthens the lower body as well. Stand straight on the yoga mat with your legs about 3-4 feet apart. Rotate your right foot by 90 degrees so it points outwards. Inhaling, bend your body at the waist and touch your right foot with your right hand, while raising your left hand straight up and above your head. Turn your neck and look up at your left hand. Breathe normally and hold the position for 10 seconds. Inhale and come up. Repeat on either side 3-5 times each.
Tiger Pose (Vyaghrasana)
A basic yoga pose but one which is extremely beneficial to new mothers, the tiger pose strengthens the core, spine, and neck muscles, and also rejuvenates the reproductive system, thus aiding in faster healing of the internal organs. To do this pose, get on your hands and knees, spine straight in the table pose. Inhaling, bring the right knee towards the forehead, arching the spine inwards. Exhaling pivot your hip out, arching the spine, with your right foot pointing towards the ceiling. Look up too. Repeat on either side 5 times each.
Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar)
Once your body has gotten used to doing various asanas and has achieved a basic fitness level, you can move to doing the Surya Namaskar. A set of 12 asanas, the Sun Salutation is beneficial not just for losing weight but it also stimulates all the internal organs of the body—thereby making you reach an optimum level of health. The steps to the Surya Namaskar are mentioned here, as are tips and tricks to do an easier version.
We hope your journey to fitness as a new mother is fruitful and smooth. Please share any post-partum tips that you many know or have experienced in the comments section below.