Tighten your tummy

This isn’t about losing weight it’s a pose to help bring your stomach muscles together if they’ve separated as a result of being pregnant.

When I first became interested in pregnancy and post-natal yoga, I was lucky enough to enrol on the British Wheel of Yoga’s pregnancy module taught by the totally brilliant Wendy Teasdill.

The poses below were recommended to me by Wendy. They are a safe and gentle way to strengthen your stomach muscles. They’re especially good if your muscles are still separated after your pregnancy. Separated stomach muscles are also called diastasis recti.

How to check if your abdominal muscles are split

abdomen1

You may have already had your stomach muscles checked by a doctor or other health professional soon after you gave birth. You can also check yourself – this is how to do it:

  1. Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat
  2. Place your hand flat on your stomach so your little finger sits just above your belly button
  3. Make sure your thumb tip rests on the mid-line of your stomach
  4. Take a big breath in and as you breathe out gently lift your head
  5. Press down with your thumb – if you can feel something fairly solid, your muscles are like to be together, if you feel a gap then it may be your muscles are still separated.

If your stomach muscles are still separated the sequence below can really help

abdomen2

  1. Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat
  2. Cross your arms so your hands rest on either side of your waist
  3. Take a big breath in and engage your pelvic floor muscles
  4. As you breathe out raise your head and press the small of your back into the floor
  5. As you breathe in, return your head slowly to the floor.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 as many times as feels comfortable.

To take this a bit further you can bring your arms over your head as you breathe in (step 3). The rest of the sequence stays the same.

abdomen3

Your muscles will benefit more if you take this nice and slow but please listen to your body and don’t continue if you feel any discomfort.

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