On Wednesday I spoke about my experience giving birth a second time and some suggestions on how to approach recovery from pregnancy. For my part I have found that the renewed ability to breathe, to feel and to move (not matter how difficult), have been true gifts in a period of physical and emotional turmoil.
If you haven’t already had a chance, I recommend giving Jill’s Healthy Pregnancy webinar a go as there are many tips and sequences that are gentle and appropriate post-partum. Beyond the webinar, here are two of my favourite postpartum exercises that have given me tremendous relief.
Unshackle Your Breath and Ease Low Back Pain
We don’t necessarily realize this, but as the belly grows larger during pregnancy, it becomes more difficult to take a full breath, especially in the lower ribs. The body, smart as it is, adapts to its new state, leaving you with a less than optimal breath (and posture) once the belly is gone. A lack of suppleness in the respiratory muscles of the t-spine can lead to rigidity and be a culprit of lower back and neck pain for example. Start by releasing your thoracic spine and diaphragm with this fantastic upper back and shoulder sequence.
Then, standing in front of a mirror, find your perfect posture (See part I of Yoga Tune Up® for Mamahood for some cues on how to stand up for yourself). Cup your hands on your ribs, making sure to contact the lowest ribs and let your inhale push your hands away from one another as though your ribcage is an accordion (make sure you’re not compensating by breathing into the upper chest only); exhale to let the ribs return to their starting position and repeat as many times as is necessary to make the connection. Once you feel comfortable with this version, you can repeat seated and lying down.
Liberate Your Tissues
Once you’ve been cleared by your OB/GYN, begin to mobilize scar tissue to avoid internal stiffness. The Coregeous® ball is a superb tool to do this with as you can modify to suit your level of comfort.
I absolutely could not lie down on the Coregeous® ball at first and so I simply rolled it over my scar tissue lying down on my back. I then added the Roll Model Method® technique Pin/Spin/Mobilize to free up as much tissue as possible.