3 Gentle Postpartum Yoga Poses for Core Strength

3 Gentle Postpartum Yoga Poses for Core Strength

Pregnancy and birth take their toll on our bodies, especially our backs, pelvises, and core muscles.

We constantly find ourselves slouched in awkward positions as we feed our little ones, bathe and clean them, or try not to move a muscle when they’ve fallen asleep on us (again).

It is no surprise that many of us are in a hurry to get our core strength back after giving birth. These essential muscles help to prevent back and hip pain by supporting our bones in the correct position.

The core also includes the pelvic  floor, the hammock of muscles that supports the uterus, vagina, bladder, and other internal organs. As we know, the pelvic floor takes a lot of strain during pregnancy, so regaining the strength in these muscles is a priority.

Keen though you might be to get your core back into shape after giving birth, it’s not a good idea to rush straight into intense core workouts the moment you are cleared for exercise. Your body (and mind) need time to recover after pregnancy and birth. Straining the muscles by trying to do too much too soon will only lead to injury.

And for those postpartum persons who have diastasis recti abdominis, while some core stability exercises are effective and improves their quality of life, some core exercises can make the issue worse instead of better. This separation between the muscles of the abdomen occurs in around half of all women and can continue to affect even a year or more after giving birth. If you have diastasis recti or think you might, it is best to speak to a medical professional in your local area before starting any core exercise regime. Movements like crunches and twists can make diastasis recti worse.

For those who are ready to start engaging their core muscles again, yoga can help. These three postpartum yoga poses are gentle options to help you rebuild your strength.

1.  Bridge Pose with Support

You can do this pose with a block. If you don’t have one to hand, use a book of similar size or other similar supportive prop. It strengthens your back and glutes, while gently stretching and engaging the abdominals too.

Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor, hip-distance apart. Your arms are down by your side, palms facing down. Place the block between your thighs so that the wide flat face is against each thigh. Gently squeeze your thighs together to keep the block in place.

Taking an inhale, peel your spine off the floor, coming up onto your shoulder blades. Concentrate on squeezing the block between your thighs. Pull your belly button in towards your spine. Keep your tailbone lengthening towards your heels as you lift your butt up. Engage your pelvic floor.

Exhale to release back down, one vertebra at a time. Repeat 3-5 times.

2. Tiger Pose

Tiger pose stretches the muscles of the back – great if you’ve been experiencing postpartum back pain. It also gently activates your abdominals, helping to rebuild core strength after giving birth.

Start on all fours in your tabletop pose, with your spine in the neutral position. Your hands should be under your shoulders and your knees in line with your hips.

Lift your right knee up and stretch the leg out behind you, either with your toes on the floor and heel pushing out or lifted so it is parallel with the floor. Then, lift your heel up towards the ceiling, bending the knee as you raise it up. At the same time, lift your eyes and chest slightly, arching your spine.

Hold for a couple of breaths and then release and repeat the move on the other side. You can come through cat pose as you switch sides if you prefer – arching your back up towards the ceiling as you tuck your chin and pelvis in.

3. Side Plank Hip Lifts

Side planks work the core and strengthen the arms, but it may be considered too strong for most people during the postpartum period. Instead, use this modified version to gently build core strength.

Lie down on one side with your legs bent. Your knees should be stacked on top of one another and in line with your hips.

Support your upper body on the forearm of the lower arm, keeping your elbow in line with your shoulder. Take an inhale and lift your hips up, reaching your top arm up towards the ceiling. Lower back down as you exhale, then repeat the move 5-10 times.

Switch sides and repeat.

Starting a Postnatal Yoga Practice

Whether you are returning to yoga postpartum or beginning a new practice after giving birth, attending classes with an experienced postnatal yoga teacher can give you the confidence and knowledge you need to move your body safely.

At Yogamazia, we run regular postnatal yoga group classes, called Little Lotus, at our studio in the heart of Central Bucks, PA. Babies are welcome! It is a fun way to get out of the house with them, meet other new parents, bond with your baby, and reconnect with your changing body. We include breathing, baby emotional focused therapy (EFT) tapping, as well as poses that help you rebuild your strength after giving birth. Private sessions are also available.

Find out more about our Parent Beginnings program and book a Little Lotus session here.


Rathore, M., Trivedi, S., Abraham, J., et al. (2017). Anatomical Correlation of Core Muscle Activation in Different Yogic Postures. International Journal of Yoga, 10(2), 59–66. 

Sperstad, J. B., Tennfjord, M. K., Hilde, G., et al. (2016). Diastasis recti abdominis during pregnancy and 12 months after childbirth: prevalence, risk factors and report of lumbopelvic pain. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 50(17), 1092-1096.

Thabet, A. A., & Alshehri, M. A. (2019). Efficacy of deep core stability exercise program in postpartum women with diastasis recti abdominis: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Musculoskeletal & Neuronal Interactions, 19(1), 62–68


June 2, 2024

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