Alternate Leg Raises & Hip + Ab Stretch
Even if your tum is looking like the surface of the moon and a similar shape, don’t fret. Regular yoga practice will bring about a major improvement. It won’t happen overnight but it will happen. Your belly has been pear-shaped for months so it needs time and encouragement to regain its previous form.
This excellent routine targets your abs while building strength in your core, which supports your upper body and internal organs.
Before you do any abdominal exercises in the postnatal yoga program, find out if you have abdominal separation. Ask your health provider to check you, or try the do-it-yourself abdominal separation test If you have this condition, don’t do these exercises.
These programs have been created by: Katie Brown – yoga teacher and infant massage specialist
Alternate leg raises & hip + ab stretch step by step
Alternate leg raises
Make sure your tailbone remains on the ground throughout this exercise. And remember to focus on your breathing.
- On your mat or rug, lie on your back and extend your legs upwards to 90 degrees. Flex your feet and gaze towards your toes. Relax your shoulders and place your arms by your sides, palms down
- As you exhale, slowly lower your right leg to a few centimetres above the ground
- As you inhale, lift it back to the 90-degree starting position
- Repeat 10 times, alternating legs
- Keep your feet flexed to ensure a good stretch down the backs of your legs
- Inhale as you raise your leg, exhale as you lower it
- To finish, release both legs to the ground and for a few seconds lie in shavasna – on your back with your legs hip-distance apart and sightly turned out, arms away from your body, palms down
Hip & abdominal stretch
For this exercise, you may want to use a rolled up blanket under your knees. When you hold this position, remember to draw your naval towards your spine so you’re working your abs.
- When you’re ready, bend your knees to your chest, roll onto your side and gradually come up onto all fours
- Come into a kneeling position, put your hands on your hips and brace your abdominals
- Step your left leg forward so your knee is directly above the heel of your foot
- Inhale as you bring your right arm up over your head, palm facing towards the ground. Keep your left hand on your hip
- Relax your shoulder and breathe
- Hold for 10 seconds
- Now repeat to the other side
- To finish, release your arm down and come to rest in child’s pose – sit with your legs folded under you, rest your torso over your thighs and your forehead on the floor. Have your arms relaxed by your sides, palms facing up. If you’re breastfeeding you may feel more comfortable with your knees out wide and your forehead resting on your forearms
Next try viparita karani
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