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15 yoga asanas for post-pregnancy weight loss

The hard work of labour is now over and the much awaited gift is here! The first hour after delivery is said to be the most important for the mother. The uterus which has expanded many times its size has to contract back so that the bleeding is not excessive. Clots of blood may be expelled frequently.

Puerperium is the period from the elimination of the placenta till the next six weeks. During these weeks women must take special care of themselves. While the uterus is returning to normal it eliminates the mucous membrane which surrounded the baby. Where the placenta was attached to the uterus there is a raw patch from which the bleeding occurs. This discharge is called lochia. During the first four to five days the discharge can be bright red like a normal menstrual flow, while the next 10 days it may turn to brown and will turn creamy white later on. This can continue for about six weeks. (Read: Get inspired by these star moms post-pregnancy weight loss stories)

Why new mothers need to rest for 40 days after delivery

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The Indian custom of the new mother being asked to take care of herself for a period of 40 days coincides with the time of re-establishment of menstruation when all organs including the uterus come back to their original size. This is the period when great care should be taken to protect the mother and strict hygiene should be followed. It is a good idea for the mother, even while in the hospital, to start walking and do a few exercises. While walking the mother should wrap a soft cotton cloth around her abdomen to help support the abdomen. We do not recommend abdominal binders or elastic corsets as they do not allow muscles to regain their tonicity. Right on the first day, it is very soothing to lie on the stomach in Makrasana. (Read: Top 5 expert tips to lose post pregnancy weight)

Yoga asanas you can do to help hasten healing

While lying on bed the mother should stretch her toes away from her and then towards her, then rotate the ankles and feet. Pranayama IV should be practiced. The legs can be gradually elevated one at a time and then brought down. The post-natal asanas can gradually be introduced from the fifth day onwards, except in cases of a Ceasarian Section delivery. Heavy weights should not be carried until the 8th week as the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles still need to get strengthened. This is a period of lactation and care should be taken to have a balanced diet but do not eat food which is very high on fat content. This is the best time to lose weight but do not go on a drastic diet as the baby also needs adequate nutrition. Here are 15 poses you can do to help start and lose weight the healthy way.

Sthitaprarthanasana The standing prayer pose:

  • Stand erect with your feet together, both toes and heels touching
  • Join your hands together at chest level
  • Draw your abdomen slightly inwards, keep your back straight, elbows and shoulders relaxed
  • Close your eyes and observe your breath
  • Maintain the pose for 3-5 minutes

Yog Mudra The Yoga Pose:

  • Sit comfortably in Sukhasna the happy pose
  • Take your left wrist back and hold it with your right hand at the back as shown in the image
  • Inhaling, slowly expand your chest pull your shoulders backward
  • Exhaling, bend forward and try to touch your forehead to your right knee. If it is very difficult for you to do that, then try to bring your forehead as close to your head as possible
  • Inhaling, return to the first step
  • Repeat the steps for your left knee and then in the middle

Parvatasana The mountain pose:

(All variations upward stretch, right & left side twisting, right & left side bending, forward & backward bending)

  • Sit in Sukhasana
  • Inhaling raise your hands towards sky and keep palms facing each other and join your hands in Namaste above your head
  • Ensure that your elbows are straight, shoulders are close to the ears and fingers are not interlocked
  • Maintain the pose while stretching upwards as much as you can
  • Now, inhale and go back to step 2
  • Exhale and twist your body from your waist to your right
  • Inhale and return to step 2
  • Exhale and twist to your left side
  • Inhale and return to step 2
  • Exhale and bend to your right side while keeping your back straight
  • Inhale and return to step 2
  • Exhale and bend to your left side
  • Inhale and return to step 2
  • Exhale and carefully bend backwards
  • Inhale and return to step 2
  • Exhale and bend forward
  • Inhale and relax

Trikonasana the triangle pose:

  • Stand straight with your feet together
  • Inhaling, raise your arms up to your shoulder level palms facing downward
  • Exhaling, bend forward and touch your toes. Keep your knees straight and chin parallel to the floor
  • Maintain the pose for few seconds
  • Inhaling, come back up, to the initial position and exhaling bring your arms down

Konasana 1 The Angle Pose:

  • Stand erect with your feet 24 inches apart
  • Turn your head to the side and place your right hand on your waist
  • Inhale and bend laterally to your left
  • Simultaneously, slide your left hand towards your left ankle and pull your right hand towards your armpit
  • Maintain the pose
  • Exhaling, return to the starting position
  • Repeat for the other side

Konasana 3:

  • Stand erect with the feet 24 inches apart
  • Inhale and stretch your arms out sideways
  • Exhale and lower the left arm towards your right ankle
  • Raise the right arm upwards
  • Stay in this position
  • Exhaling return to the starting position
  • Repeat for the other side

Hastapadasana The hand-to-leg pose:

  • Stand erect with your feet 24 inches apart
  • Inhaling, raise your arms towards your head
  • Exhaling, bend forward as much as possible
  • Inhaling, return to the starting position

Paschimottanasana the seated forward bend pose:

  • Sit on the floor with your back erect
  • Inhaling, stretch your legs in front of you
  • Keep your knees firm and ensure that you don t bend them while doing the asana
  • Exhaling bend forward, hold your toes and try to touch your forehead to your knees
  • Maintain the pose for 10 seconds
  • Inhaling return to the starting position

Sarvangasana - the all member pose:

  • Lie down with your back on the floor
  • Gradually lift your legs straight up taking care to not bend your knees
  • Lift your hips off the floor
  • Now, slowly lift your lower back as well and support your body by forming a stand with your arms, resting your elbows on the ground
  • Your entire body should now be supported on your shoulders
  • Hold this pose for as long as your are comfortable
  • Return to the starting position

Halasana the plough pose:

  • Lie down with your back on the floor
  • Gradually lift your legs straight up taking care to not bend your knees
  • Lift your hips off the floor
  • Now, slowly lift your lower back as well and support your body by forming a stand with your arms
  • Now take your legs towards your head and try to touch the floor above your head with your toes
  • Maintain the pose and slowly return to the starting position

Shalabhasana The locust pose:

  • Lie down on your abdomen and keep your arms alongside your body
  • Exhaling, keep your knees straight and stretch you right leg straight up as much as you can
  • Hold the position for 4 seconds
  • Repeat with your left leg
  • Next, practice the asana by lifting both your legs up
  • Do 2-3 repetitions each

Hastapadangustasana hand to toe pose:

  • Lie down on the floor with your legs extended
  • Inhaling raise your right arm at right angle
  • Exhaling raise your right leg and touch your right palm and hold your big toe
  • Hold the pose for a few seconds
  • Inhaling come back to the starting position
  • Repeat the same for your left leg
  • And then with both legs

Makarasana The Crocodile Pose:

  • Lie down on your stomach with the front of your in contact with the floor or the mat
  • Keep a little distance between your legs and relax your feet by keeping your toes together and heels apart
  • Fold your arms and rest your head on the back of your palms
  • Relax in the asana for 3-5 minutes

Ashvini mudra

  • Lie supine, pull knees up, feet near buttocks
  • Contract anal muscles tightly
  • Relax anal muscles
  • Repeat this 15 - 20 times
  • Do the same while sitting in any meditative position

Kati snan - Hip bath

  • Fill warm water in a clean tub
  • Boil handful of bitter Neem leaves in water and add that water to the tub
  • Sit in the tub with feet on the ground
  • Do Asvini Mudra in the tub for 4 minutes
  • Relax for 6 minutes in the same position while singing

In Yoga, a balanced state of mind is always re- commended. During the puerperium with the added changes - physical and emotional - in the life of the mother it is important to have adequate rest and to avoid exhaustion. Mood swings can occur but she should try and return back to a joyous state by awakening positivity as she adorns the role of motherhood. (Read: Struggling to lose weight post delivery? Here s help!)

Photo source: Getty images


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