After pregnancy, most women are eager to get back to a normal yoga practice but patience is necessary, because the body takes a little time to return to normal, especially after a Caesarean birth.
The joints and ligaments remain unstable for at least three months, and sometimes longer, after delivery and Hanumanasana, Virabhadrasana, Kurmasana and hip openers should be practiced with care, or avoided if they cause pain. A normal delivery can leave the hips slightly misaligned and if the misalignment persists, chiropractic treatment may be necessary. A common habit of carrying your baby on one hip with the pelvis pushed out to the side misaligns the body as well.
As the belly swells during pregnancy, the Rectus Abdominis separates into two halves at the Linea Alba and closes back together about 6 weeks after delivery. Generally, women are advised to check with their doctor or midwife that this has occurred before they start with abdominal exercises.
Many women find that lower back pain persists after pregnancy and such pain can be from a misaligned pelvis, but may also be caused by the pelvis remaining in the same forward-tilted position that it acquired during pregnancy. Regular practice of Salabhasana helps to relieve this form of lower back pain. The spine is also stabilised by the Oblique Abdominals and Vasistasana helps to get the obliques back into shape. If balancing on the hand is difficult, start on the forearm. Marjarasana is also beneficial, practicing extending one leg behind, and raising and extending the opposite arm (also called ‘Supermans’) gets the spinal stabilisers working properly again. Regular practice of Mula Bandha is also essential to regain pelvic stability.
De Franca, 1996, Pelvic Locomotor Dysfunction
Robinson, Knox, 2004, Pilates Pregnancy Book