Class #1372

Gentle Postnatal Abdominals

35 min - Class


In this second Postnatal Mat workout, Leah starts to work on posture and gentle abdominal activation. These simple exercises that Leah shows will make you feel vibrant and give you the energy to give to your children.

You can watch Leah's first Prenatal Mat Workout in this series or an older Postnatal Mat Workout to get more ideas of gentle exercises you can do.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

Hi everybody. How are you? This is Leah and I'm here for another postnatal Matt Class. This is again a part of a postnatal series that I'm doing here at plotters. Anytime the class I shot previous to this that you should have done was our very, very early postpartum when meaning weeks zero to six. This class I've designed for kind of that six, seven week time period where you've maybe given the clearance by your doctor, your midwife to start doing some exercises. Again, we're not anywhere near doing our traditional PyLadies work.

You still have a lot of healing to do, but we're just going to kind of bring it up a little bit. Kind of work on some of our postural stuff, work on some of our pelvic floor and our abdominal reactivation, but also just focusing on a session that makes you feel really good that feel really vibrant and loss of energy that you can give to your children. So for, for me right now I'm about nine weeks postpartum with my second little boy. So I'm really at the same stage as you are in kind of that rehabilitation process, that healing process. So we really found for us to do this together. So go ahead and let's get started. So once you start in a seated position today, now a lot of this class, I'm gonna try to address our posture and kind of some of the things that go awry on the first, um, three months postpartum. It's really our time to kind of correct some of those postural deviations that we experienced during pregnancy.

So it's not uncommon to see a new mom with really anterior tilted pelvis, loose abdominals, we kips and uh, kind of kyphotic in her upper back, rounded shoulders, tight chest, and a very weak upper back. So we kind of want to correct some of those because when you add, when you are pregnant, all the weight and the pressure was in your belly, on your hips, right? So now that you have a little baby, even though they might only be seven, eight, nine, 10 pounds, early postnatal is still can get really taxing and really heavy to kind of carry around. And plus the nursing and bottle feeding and all of that. Just that kind of cradling position can be really demanding on the body as well. So we really want to address that with some of these exercises. So I'd like you to sit whatever feels comfortable for you.

Even if you want to sit up against the wall, I really want you to feel like you could just have your head just stacked right over your shoulders, not pushed back, but not forward. You want to feel like there's a really like a little gentle string kind of lifting your chest up. So just feel that length happen through your spine and you want to fully feel kind of a nice width through your pelvis as possible. And I want you to accomplish that position and just enjoy it as you just sit there and just feel your spine in that position. Now you may feel a little sensitive on the underside of your pelvis, may feel some sensitivity and your pubic synthesis, your pubic bone or your abdominal wall.

But just kind of embrace those sensations and just know that with gentle movement, we're going to be guiding them, helping them, giving them love so they can heal the best of they can. So we're going to breathe here in him and exhale. So what I want you to try to do as, as you inhale, I want you to breathe down into the pelvis and as you exhale, just let all the air float up and out of the mouth. And inhale, breathe in, okay, down through the pelvis, filled this length of the spine. Just breathe all the way down into the pelvis and then exhale, just let that air come back out. So there's a real kind of ebb and flow here.

And inhale, lifting, elevating through the spine, feeling the rib cage, expand the pelvis, even expand a little bit, and then exhale, just soften as you let all that air come out. One more time for me ane hell. And actually you should feel that breath from your head all the way down to your pelvis. Let's do one more and inhale and exhale. Even that in of itself is just so rewarding. So here we're going to do a little bit of our move.

I did a lot of this in prenatal, so ain't hell expand the ribs. Lift the arms and exhale down. It feels so good and inhale that it just takes some of that pressure off your lower back, some of that pressure off the pelvis as you really lift those arms at and Xcel down. One more time and in hell, lift those arms up and exhale down. Now here this is a little bit more free flowing. We're going to do the right shoulder. I want you to roll it forward. So I'm going to turn to the side so you can see me.

Why don't you to roll it forward so you're really allowing the Scapula, the glide away from your spine, and then you're going to bring it back. Allow the Scapula to pull back towards the spine and inhale forward and exhale back. Just let the arm move freely here. Inhale forward and exhale and let the movement come from the Scapula, from this shoulder blade, not from the arm. The arm is just kind of hang in there and following. So inhale and exhale is do the other side, left in house, Scapula and XL in toward the spine and you're gonna find nationally your torso, your spine is going to want to rotate.

Do that here and inhale and exhale again. Inhale and exhale one more time. Again, you should feel that upper back starting to work and Xcel. Now we do both in how you round forward. Yes, this position is odd that we're doing the simple ideas right and then bring it back. Exhale and inhale. Let the scapula glide away if miss spine and draw them together. Lift the sternum slightly and just gently draw that abdominal wall in.

Inhale and exhale up two more aid now and XL. Draw them together. One more time in him and draw them together and hold it there for just a little moment and to release. Now from here we're going to take arms and you're good. It's kind of a fun little movement here. I'll keep turning for you so you can see different views, but you're going to bring your arms around in front of you, stretch your chest up toward the ceiling. And then this time is you bring them around.

You're going to just curve your chest over your twice the over, but I want you to slightly take your belt this. So here's our dental abdominal activation here. So he's just going to come into a little bit of his stress or fingertips flex service and in Halen and Xcel push like you're moving through water that you're doing a beautiful breaststroke and bring it in and push through the imaginary water chest up and in that you can start to think here and this postpartum period you're uh, maybe a couple months, you can start thinking thread belly button to the spine and you can feel that enclosure of the pelvic floor here, that wrapping that gentle wrapping you the abdominal wall. I want you to enjoy that and bring it up and forward one more time and bring it up and full right now. Open the arms out to the side, palms face down. I want you to inhale, turn the palms up and lift your chest up. Feel the shoulders, feel the upper back and release with an inhale. Oh, excuse me, exhale and inhale. Rotate. The shoulders, rotate the forearms, lift the palms up, feel your shoulder blades just gently drawing toward each other and bring it back.

And in how lift up the upper back work is so important for us, new moms and bring it back to center one more. And that glorious stretch and expansion you're getting through that chest. I know has the little smiling your face because of it feels really good and center. So I'm going to turn towards you. You don't need to keep turning and turning towards you here. I want to work a little bit on the neck here because the neck in the side and this diagonal, the levator scapulae, the upper traps, the scalings, they can get really kind of tender and out of balance just because of the funkiness that's required for holding a baby.

So I want to kind of work on that a little bit just with a little bit of movement. So you're going to take your right arm, you're going to push it out to the right, and you're going to drop your left ear down to your left shoulder with an exhale, bring it back up. Just kind of bend your elbow, inhale and exhale. So there's no real wrong way to move that arm. I just went through to move and enjoy that little stretch that you get. The opposition from that right arm going down that right shoulder and the left ear to the left shoulder. One more, and exhale. Let's do the other side. Inhale and exhale and inhale and exhale.

Feel that's such, especially as you get the arm down towards your mat and inhale and reach over. Drop the right ear down to the right shoulder. I last one. Inhale and exhale over. Now we're going to go back to the other side. This time you're gonna drop your Chin down to your left shoulder or the left side of your chest and your right arm is going to go back behind me three and get a little extra stretch to the back of the neck. So exhale, so you should feel the stretch. Just here.

Inhale and exhale. He said, Phil, a little shoulders, chest to inhale on the front of that chest, the front of that right shoulder. Exhale, and one more. Inhale and exhale and let's go. The other way in her left arm, right chin down toward the right shoulder. Exhale and inhale up.

Exhale rates and inhale and reach. Feel that beautiful opposition and last one up and and come back. The center finds your body and space sitting up feeling that connection. You should feel a little bit more elevated through your spine, a little bit more energy reaching up. You should feel like even though your abdominals may still feel loose in the skin, might still feel looser on your abdomen.

You should just feel that gentle reconnection starting to happen and that's exactly what we want. Now we're going to build on that with our next series, so I want you to sit with your feet flat. If you feel like you need to elevate your bottom by putting a towel underneath your bottom or rolling up your mat. Do so now and wants to use your arms. Draw the center body in. Use your arms to kind of elevate you so that you're really up on top of those sitz bones. Xcel. Flex your feet. Dig those heels down into the mat. Inhale down, roll through your feet.

Xcel reached the energy up through the crown of the head. Dig those heels down. You'll feel naturally just to control the posture that you're going to want to gently tighten the abdominal wall and back to center and lift, elevate through the spine as you drive those heels down, back to center, and one more app. Now we're to add on to it very gently. You're going to flex your feet and you're going to draw the center body and you're just going to come into a little bit of a pelvic role. You're going to bring back up to the extended position and drop your feet. Then I'm going to change the breath on you. I wants you to inhale, bring the feet up. Exhale, roll. Inhale, elevate Baca, and exhale.

Take it down in healthy flex XL center body and just fill those hips roll gently underneath you. You should feel like you're knitting the abdominal wall together. You should feel the narrowing of the front of the pelvis. You're engaging those pelvic floor muscular muscles and bring it back up and down. Three more up XL. So we're just going really gentle with some of this abdominal reactivation.

Nothing intense, just a really beautiful way to wake up. Those muscles help those muscle fibers start to shorten. They've been overly lengthened through pregnancy and we're just guiding them back. Come back up to center. Hold it here. They'll nice and strong. Go ahead and relax your feet now. Take your legs straight in front of you, so sitting up as straight as you can.

Again, if you need to elevate your hips and wants you to flex your feet, bring your arms out to the side. So this position is what I want to look for right here. You want to be really elevated, feeder flex. You're going to point your feet, hug the abdominal wall in, draw the ribcage down toward the pelvis. You're coming into this folded position. Then flex your feet, restack the rib cage and come up XL, narrowing the abdominal wall coming into pointing the feet, going forward, rounding those arms and flex and reach back up. Let's go a little faster. Exhale.

You can see how my center body initiates the movement and then bringing you back. Go ahead and squeeze those legs together as much as you can. Two more exhale. Okay. And inhale, bring it up. And last one, exhale. Yeah, keep the arms there. Inhale, flex, come up, bring the arms overhead and just bow forwards a little bit more. Loosen the spine. Inhale, roll up and Xcel point and bow forward.

And Inhale, roll that. And just by doing this gentle work forward and back, you can feel that fire just gently burning deep in your abdomen as you're just moving. Increasing the circulation there. Two more EP with an inhale. Okay. You should feel like your torsos a little wave here, but your pelvis is nice and steadied and anchored. One more.

And now this time I want you to come up and then once you to take your hands behind your head and I want you to go ahead and cross your legs. We're just going to get the legs a little bit of a break. So you're going to rotate to the right with an exhale. Inhale laterally. Flex the torso. Exhale, come back up and back to center. So those four movements, so exhale, rotate in her laterally. Flex. Exhale up, back to the rotation. Inhale, center. Exhale, rotate. So on the rotation I'm joining the right ribcage, down to the right hit coming back up, lengthening the right side of the waist and center again, rotate and over.

So you're not going very far in the rotation. It's very gentle. But notice I'm keeping my alignment of my torso. I'm keeping my pelvis anchored, both the right side and left aside as I just rotate this mine. Oh for [inaudible]. So that balance has sense of balance and control is really good.

That fine tuning on that pelvic floor, we activation, they'll come over, take the right hand down, and then wants you to reach the left arm above your head. So I want you to inhale, bend the elbow and next. So really, should I? No, he did a lot of that in my prenatal series. So I just want you to enjoy some of the same exercises when your body just feels quite different without a belly and reach one more. You should feel that beautiful opening of the rib cage had reach and slowly come out of it. Hands behind the head, rotate the other way.

Take your hand down. Reach the arm above. Inhale, bend the elbow, left elbow XL reach. Feel that beautiful stretch. Now I saw this in my previous class. If you've had a area in birth and stretching your arms over your head feels uncomfortable. Go ahead and adjust the arm position. Maybe you work here, maybe you work the arm down. You need to just work in a position that feels comfortable for you and one more and re and gently come on. So to finish the series, I want you to bring your legs back out in front of you, flexing your feet as you were before. Bring your arms up at the of your head.

Feeling nice and tall. Rotate to the right, just really gentle. And we're going to continue to do that. Undulation, that moving of the spine in this rotated position. So exhale forward. Now what I like about this is your left hip stays down nice and anchored. You should feel this nice opening in the left side of your back and in hell that Xcel full where you should feel that oh bleak activation as well and in hell that again, exhale forward and inhale that last one.

Exhale forward and in Hella to the other side. Exhale forward and E. Hello XL. Reaching forward. You can see that I'm really gliding my rib cage down toward my pelvis. Just feeling that beautiful movement through my spine, that beautiful movement through my the MIA ankles and up.

One more time forward and app. Come back to center. Bend your knees, grab the back of the thighs. We're going to go back one more time in that little posts there, your tilts. We're holding it there. I want you to place your hands just gently on your waist. Taking your breath in x.

I want you to just glide your fingertips toward each other actually to where your fingers interlace in front of your body. So just feeling that nice, gentle, deep activation of the abdominal wall. And then inhale one more time. Exhale. So just feel here. You can keep your hands there. You can grab your hands behind your thighs, but really feel how that knitting in of the abdominal wall, there's that narrowing of the waist. There's a narrowing at the front of the pelvis.

Just kind of feeling that all start to come together. Those obliques, that rectus abdominis at transverse abdominous is deep pelvic floor muscles. Just start to imagine then drawing in toward each other and then go ahead and release it. Come back up into ascension and just they'll have they they just linkedin and go back into the rolling. One more time. Exhale. Just feel that deep connection. That's not intense right now. It's not a lot there.

Just reconnecting with those muscles and come back at. Wonderful. So now I want you to go onto your side to go back into the supine position here. So here we're going to go into little half pelvic curls. So taking your breath in, I want you to XL, draw the center body again, just curl the pubic bone just slightly up toward the ceiling. Breathe in.

Then exhale, roll yourself down and then just release it. We're just going to do a few of these and exhale drawing in cause you can get a lot of great pelvic curl sequences and our other PyLadies mat classes. I just want you to focus on articulating lower back, engaged in that pelvic floor member, that red ball from my first class. You want to engage and pull that red ball into your pelvis and then let it roll right up to the belly button. Breathe in and then scooping out a little bit deeper and then just let that red ball [inaudible] red ball rolling back into your pelvis.

The next cell engaging, rolling that ball up toward the belly button. Inhale. Then exhale, just gently roll it all the way down and release. So here I want you to bring your legs together. I want you to come into a slight posterior tilt, so draw to a pelvic curl, open the legs just a little bit into a butterfly. XO, squeeze and back together, and then release the pelvis. You're going to do that three more times. Exhale, engage the center body. Open out to the side, draw it back together.

Just pulling in a little bit deeper and release. Exhale, relaxing those arms. Open out to the side, drop it in and raise please. One more time, pulling it all the weekend and into the poster. Your tilt open, those legs come back to center and we leased.

Now coming back into a release position as neutral as you can get. You're going to take the right leg open, keep the left side really steady and draw back. Now what this says, alternate left leg as we're kind of getting this play, this deep play in the pelvic floor musculature. As you open the leg out, you stretch one side of the pelvic floor musculature. Then you draw back together and left leg all while trying to just feel that stability of the pelvis. We really want to hone in on that stability open and draw back to center so the pelvis doesn't wave and wiggle as you do when leg and then the other. It really is staying steady.

You'll feel that gentle engaging of the pelvic floor and the abdominal musculature to maintain that stability and come back to center, holding it there and just find the release. Now I want you to roll over onto your side. [inaudible] wanted to straighten both legs, so you're going to feel this really nice long position here, shoulder over shoulder, hip over head. You're going to take the top leg up and you're going to flex that foot. You're going to bring it forward and back.

So I'm just wanting to do small movement here. Now the reason I have your bottom like extended, it's going to be harder on stabilization and I want you to feel that need to kind of engage that center body so you can use your top end as support here. I actually want you to and go forward and back, just keeping the foot flex forward and back one more and over and back. Now bring them up. Hey, just forward, point the foot, drop the ankle and do little circles for me. One, two, three, four, five. Keep the circles going. You'll feel the outer hip, but keep the pelvis nicest, steady circle and circle and circle and circle other way.

Keep the circles going. Keep the pelvis steady, fill that demand on the body. So I know it's getting a little fatigued here as you're filling that challenge by keeping that bottom like straight, but just embrace that challenge. You're almost there and release. Now go ahead and switch just the other side. So again, just really kind of gentle and easy. They're short little series as we're reintroducing those concepts, right?

I've stabilization, so bring the leg up and flex top hand for support and forward and back keeping at the same height and back. So just reach energy through the heel. You'll feel the outer hip, you'll feel those hip abductors is exactly what I want. But for retaining that pelvic stabilization, we really want to think about engaging and restrengthening the entire hip as well. The front of the hips, the side of the hips in particularly the glutes, which we'll do in just a moment. Jot The foot down and circle one, two, three, four. Keep the circle good. You'll feel the outer hip fill that challenge, a stabilization bill that wasting nice and long feel the pelvis stays steady as possible. Other way, circle, circle, circle. Of course, if you're feeling like you just aren't quite there, you can always bend that bottom me for extra support and work your way up to the straight leg circle, circle, circle and circle and rest. Now I'm going to have you come on to your belly, which we haven't been able to do for a very long time.

Now we don't have the belly there to restrict us from lying prone or lying on her stomach, but we do have for most new moms are very tender breasts, right? So that's just a part of the reality of it. I'm just going to say it like it is. You all know it too, so please one hand over the other. Now you'll notice this position in one of my other precis it'll classes and it's just a really wonderful position because it just gives you a little bit of support where maybe you don't feel there's so much pressure on your breast, so that feels comfortable. Great. If not, go ahead and put a towel underneath your hands to elevate your chest or your head a little bit more. That will even feel more comfortable. So I want to do some glute work here. So you're going to bring the leg out to the side center and down, up, side, center and down. So Theresa, strengthening those glutes is going to be very important as well. Center and down app. So even as you do this, you'll feel naturally your pelvis will go just slightly into an anterior tilt.

He's the one that cut it. Kind of control that so you don't put too much pressure in the lower back. And one more time and hold it here and lift up. One, two, straight, me three, four, 20 times. Fill that focus, push the arms gently down into the mat. 10 more.

Just feel the lift coming from the glutes, three, two and hold it. Then the knee and straighten it out and bend the knee and straighten it out. Last one, bend the knee and straight and bring it down. Left leg goes up and out and in and down. So again, you're just feeling the gluteal work here.

Restrengthening those glutes and app and out and in and down says keep that movement and nicest steady. You don't want the pelvis to rock as you take the leg out to the left. And one more. Keep the knee nice and straight. Little lifts up and up and up. So again, lifting from the glutes, just feeling that gentle drawing of the abdominal wall that linked to the back of the neck, that gentle pressing down of the elbows and up and up. Keep going. I'm gonna be honest with you. I've lost my account.

Let's go. Five more, five and four and three and two, and hold it. Bend the knee. Feel the little quad stretch at length and keeping that leg up. So you're holding the glue in a little isometric contraction here, which is wonderful. Just hold it last one and re to doubt and relax. Bring your right arm down and bring your left arm in front of you. So take your breath in. Exhale, push your arms down and lift up until a little back extension.

And as you go down, switch the arms. Inhale and exhale, bring your chest up, push arms down into the mat and it has switched. Circle the arms and Xcel. Hopefully you're okay here on your front body going down in between. But this beautiful expansion to get the upper back work added up or backwards and posterior shoulder work is so important for our postural control and reach and last one app and reach. Bring both arms in.

Go ahead and push yourself gently up and stretch out that back. Just very gentle mind you back. Roll yourself that and I just want you to finish by lying on your back one more time. So again, go down on your side, just protect those abdominal mouth of vessels and take your arms out to the t position. And I want you to wrote to us and says, I tilt over to the right and take your right hand down towards your right heel and just feel this stretch and just relax. And then I want you to take your left arm and roll it around so it's in front of your right shoulder here and roll it back. We're just going to do it a couple times and roll around.

Feel that stretch at the back of the shoulder and bring it back. Last one and all. Wow. And laterally. Fold yourself over to left sticky back like me. Take your left hand down to your left heel. Just feel that stretch though. That right rib cages open and roll forward, right hand over two in front of the right shoulder. Excuse me, left shoulder and bring it back and roll and bring it back one more time and girl and draw all the way back.

Go ahead and continue to just lie there for me and just relax and just do some gentle breathing. I'm going to go ahead and sit up. So as you're on this journey from having given birth to getting yourself a eventually, our goal is to get our strength back and maybe even more and the ability to be able to do some of the full polarities repertoire that we weren't able to do for so long during pregnancy. You have to think of yourself as you're building up slowly to that, very slowly to that. Because the problem is, is that if you do too much too soon postpartum, you can create issues that you didn't have during pregnancy. You can create a diastisis dye, you can create a major instability that leads to a lot of pain and a lot of functional problems. We don't want to do that. We want to correct that posture. You want to give those muscles a long time. Heal. I've, my personal belief is it takes upward of a year for a woman to heal from pregnancy and labor and she needs to do it, uh, wisely. Um, she needs to have patience with her body.

So sessions like this that maybe when before you were pregnant felt like nothing felt like fluff. They may feel a lot more to you and just enjoy that gentleness, enjoy that reactivation because you're going to excel and go way beyond hopefully then where you were before you even got pregnant. Just stronger, more vibrant and more ready to go. Because by that time a year, year and a half, you're gonna have a tolerant chase around and that's a whole different story. So I also want you to really, um, go back to my previous postnatal series that I, when I gave birth to turn her right after I did that, I have a class that I did there, uh, when I was nine weeks postpartum with Turner. And it's similar to this, but some different repertoire. I wanted to give you guys some different things so you can enjoy both of these classes together cause these will really guide you through that first, maybe from two months to maybe four months postpartum or even beyond as we start to reintegrate some of that work. And then I'll be back when I'm four months postpartum to do even more work with you. So thank you for joining me today. Sorry for the little extra at the end. If you have any questions, just let me know in the comment box below and I'll be happy to answer them for you. Thank you. And all the best teal.


Just lovely, Leah! Thank you!
3 people like this.
Loved this Leah thank you. 6 weeks pp today (with my second) and that felt wonderful especially the lateral stretch lying prone at the end....I like the slightly different emphasis on the classes you have provided during your second pregnancy - focussing on being very kind to your body - as I feel a lot like that this time too! When you have got yourself back into shape once I think it's easier to have the confidence not to push yourself too fast too soon and your repertoire gives me "permission" to keep things nice and easy! Looking forward to the 4 month one! Leonie
Karin H
Your voice is very melodic. I love the emphasis on posture and gentleness. Many of your exercises will work with my 75 year old ladies who like to feel energized after their workout! thank you for sharing!
1 person likes this.
Hi Leah,
I have no children but I love all of your classes. You are a fantastic teacher, your body moves like music and your voice is velvet! Such a pleasure....I apologize for my English and I hope that you can read the joy you give me through your classes. Thank you and have a great day.
1 person likes this.
Ladies - Reading your words brings me so much happiness, and your feedback means the world to me.

Leonie - Yes, I did have a different approach my second pregnancy. During my first pregnancy with Turner, my objective was to purely modify the classical Pilates repertoire making it "pregnancy and new mother safe", and I really enjoyed the process of doing that. During my second series, while I was pregnant with Bennett, I decided to add on to my first series with a different approach; Pilates inspired exercises for pre and post natal woman where the principles were intact and the movement grew from the classical repertoire. My plan was to have a whole diverse range of work for PA members to experience both
1 person likes this.
It's awesome. The freedom of movement in the exercises and your confidence in the principles are so liberating and inspiring. Just wish there were more...! There's no way my baby brain can come up with such clever variations!
1 person likes this.
I am 8 months pp and just starting to think about getting back in shape and reconnecting with my body. I LOVED this class. Thank you so much!
Ellie - So happy you are starting to move and exercise after the birth of your baby. And I am happy that you are starting with these gentle yet effective exercises
I'm 1yr post-partum but wanted to try this class! I'm still nursing so the postural correction felt SO good! Thank you for the "lecture" at the end. I made the mistake with my first to resume training right at six weeks but this time I really tried to educate myself about regaining strength safely! I agree woman are so hard on themselves! I am a believer it takes upwards of a year to regain strength! Take it easy and enjoy the movement and your baby! I love that! Thank you for your positive and beautiful outlook on pregnancy, birth and motherhood! It is truly a miracle and a beautiful thing! Love this class! And love Leah!
Leonie - I hope to do more, too!!

Misty - Thank you for your feedback and thoughts. You have such a healthy outlook and I just love hearing from you.
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