Postnatal Mama

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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.

Liked this article? Read Hey Mamma, You’re Coregeous!


Emilie Mikulla

Having contracted a major case of wanderlust, Emilie has traveled the world, working as journalist, and now lives Dubai. After a second surgery on her spine, Emilie followed a lengthy Pilates rehabilitation program and, amazed by the results in her own body, became a comprehensively trained Pilates instructor in 2008. Emilie has taught in Thailand, South Africa, Dubai and in San Francisco. Emilie is an E-RYT and has completed her trainings with YogaWorks and Yoga Tree San Francisco, before earning her Yoga Tune Up® certification from Jill Miller. She has also spent hundreds of hours assisting her mentor Harvey Deutch PT at RedHawk Physical Therapy clinic in San Francisco, in teacher trainings, and on retreats at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. She has also recently participated in a week-long cadaver dissection workshop with Gil Hedley of Integral Anatomy. Emilie is the Lifestyle Editor for Women's Health & Fitness Middle East where she contributes a variety of articles and columns ranging from fitness and wellness, inspirational stories and nutrition. Blending dynamic movement with therapeutic releases, Emilie’s classes will empower you to practice the activities you love with awareness and joy.

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Nicola Francis

This was a great reminder of breath awareness in postpartum ‘movement’. So often we are focused on strengthening, but simple breath exercises can make us able to connect with our bodies to enable the desired outcomes to be possible. I will definitely be incorporating breath work in my postpartum classes! Thanks Emilie!

Pamela Cupak

Taking the time to focus on thoracic breath postpartum can be so beneficial at that stressful time.

Pamela Cupak

I have started to use the corgeous ball 9n scar tissue from c section and with the improvement have started massaging other scars. Everyone needs to know!

Katelyn K Natalie

Scar mobilization is so important! I didn’t realize how much my surrounding tissues had been affected by my c-section scar until I started skin rolling (with ball and fingers) above and below. With diligent work I have much better sensation throughout my stomach/torso area.


Love this Emilie! Pregnancy and rolling is not something I am very confident or familiar with, so I am delighted to share this info with my sister who has just given birth 6 weeks ago. It is something she can look forward to once the Dr clears her for this work. Delighted I came across your post! X

Pascale hazledine

Loved the video with Kelly starrret.i agree with Jill that the lacrosse ball can be too dense.the change to the diaphragm and breath by rolling behind the ribs is really helpful including the rotation of the rib cage.the video with the corgeous ball was so detailed and I lived Jill’s comment that you can work on this yourself but that it will take time.

Cindy DeCoste

I was well aware that it became more and more challenging to take a full breath as my belly grew larger during my pregnancy. However, I didn’t realize that my body would adapt to this new way of breathing, and would need to be retrained to being able to take a full breath again. I feel like I am still working on this 18 months later! I’ve been using the Coregeous ball some on my belly – rolling laterally to medially toward the linea alba because I think I have a diastasis recti. I would love to roll this area… Read more »

Krysten Hills

This information is so useful as I just had a baby and plan to have another. Thanks for sharing.


This is also a great exercise for people who are not pregnant. I just tried this sequence and its great for those with low back pain. Thank you!!

Roberto Martinez

This is awesome! My wife is pregnant with our second child so this is information she will find so valuable! Thank you for sharing!

Kate Laird

I so wish I’d read this one when I was pregnant!

Jonathan McKinna

Thank you for the post-natal gifts ideas, Emilie! Two of my dearest friends are due before the end of the year and now I know what to give them: a Courgeous Ball (they already have the classics) and these two moves. Casseroles are great but breathing easy is better!