Class #2990

Postnatal Mat Workout

45 min - Class


Work on movements that will help you feel better postpartum with this "Mommy and Me" Mat workout by Courtney Miller. She breaks the class into five sections so that you can do what works for you depending on your baby's mood. She offers ways to interact with your baby as you move as well as exercises that will help you counter the posture that comes from sitting and nursing.
What You'll Need: Mat, Moon Box, Foam Roller, Theraband


Read Full Transcript

Hi, I'm Courtney Miller and I have with me my son Maverick. For those of you who joined me throughout my prenatal series, it's kinda come full circle. So now here he is. He's just a little bit older than six months old and he is amazing. My experience being a mom has just been awesome.

I will say though that I think I was under prepared for the physical toll it was gonna take on my body to are for an infant. The amount of time that I've spent in a seated position or nursing or holding him has really affected my body. So I put together some movements that have helped me feel better, and also some movements that will help you interact and play with your baby. It's definitely great to use your baby as a kettle bell, and just use him as a weight, but I've put together some exercises where you can interact with your little boy or little girl as well. So the most important thing, I would say, is take your baby's cues.

I've broken this exercise, or excuse me, this workout, down into five sections. There's exercises within different sections and it depends on your baby's mood. We're gonna start with having a content baby, which is like the best, right? Content baby is a baby who's pretty happy just chillin' out, maybe he's got a toy that he's playin' with. If you have a younger baby that's not so mobile, maybe they're just lyin' there, smiling, lookin' around.

So this is content baby, where you don't just wanna walk away and go get a Starbucks, you wanna stay close and you wanna keep your eye on him, but you also wanna move your body. Now, I've got plenty of toys for baby, so you grab your stuff for baby, but toys that we're gonna use in this section is the resistance band. So if you have a resistance band, it's a great tool for you to use. Keeping baby just in a seated position, where they're content, where they're happy, hopefully they'll stay that way. You're gonna take the band and place it down onto the ground.

Stepping one foot forward and onto the band, stabilize it, stepping the other foot back. We're gonna start with some upper body work in a lunge position. So the lunge will really activate that lower body and the upper body portion will be to help counteract all of that sort of rolled shoulder, forward position that we're in post partum. Rolling the shoulders down and back, lean forward, close the ribs and drive your front heel down. Exhale for bicep curls, inhale for chest expansion.

Now this is a time where I like to talk to Maverick. Hey buddy. Hi, how are you? La la la la la, you can sing to your baby, all of your favorite things, but make eye contact with them. Hey buddy, what are you doin'?

Exhale to bend. (air whooshes) Inhale to press. Exhale to curl. And inhale to press. We'll do three more here.

Curl it in, press back. He's doin' a great job sitting there being a content baby. Two, and one. From here, we're gonna lift off the back leg, place the hands onto the floor, and come into just a balance position, but let's call these balance kisses. So little kiss on the head, and press back to a bicep curl.

Hi bubba, muah. And press back to a bicep curl. Hands on the floor, muah. And press back to a bicep curl. Hi, muah muah muah muah.

Press back, balance is hard for everybody. Press and bicep curl, one more time. Oh, he's discovered the stash. Press and back. Let's do the same thing on the other side.

So you could walk around and be facing your baby at this point, if they are mobile, I'm just gonna stay put 'cause he seems content. Bend the elbows, bicep curl, press back, chest expansion. Hey Maverick, la la la la la. Yeah, he's good, he's happy. Press and curl.

So I feel my lower body working, the back leg is straight, opening through the front of my hip and pressing down through my front heel. Press, two more. Press, chest is open, thinking about my posture. And press. Hands to the floor, back leg lifts.

Dee dee dee dee. Give him a little pat. And bicep curl. Lift up, and back to your lunge. Lift up, hey (clucks tongue), and back to your lunge.

Lift up, hi Maverick, what you got? And back to your lunge, two more times, lift up, hi and lunge. Last time, lift up and lunge. Step both feet onto the band, feet hip distance apart, choke up on the band quite a lot, 'cause you wanna have a lot of resistance for this next series. Get low, set back, weight into your heels, again your chest is forward, you're making eye contact with your baby, if they're facing you, and you're doing a wide row.

And a narrow row. Wide and narrow. So, because we're in a similar position a lot, which is nursing or holding your baby, throughout the day, these types of rowing exercises are gonna help to counter the tight muscles that form in the front of the body. Hey buddy, where ya goin'? That's a lotta drool you got there.

Hi, and pull. Two more here. And pull. Hello, handsome. And pull.

Rise all the way up. Now the amount of reps and sets that you do are gonna depend on the time you have, the energy you have, and your baby's cues. So I'll often do more than one set of those, gets your heart rate up a little bit, and again, helps to open up the front body, strengthen the back body. Now, because Maverick is sitting, and he's usually pretty happy in the seated position, I like to be on the floor with him in a seated position. If he's content, if he's got some toys that are keeping him occupied, then I have the opportunity to do some Pilates work.

So sitting up nice and tall, feet are wide, baby can facing you or facing out, he's happy, so I'm not gonna change. Arms reach long, sit up nice and tall. Lift the chest, rotate to one side for saw, see if you can flex the spine from head to tail, pushing opposite hip back down. Inhale, rebuild the spine, come back to center. Flat back, lean forward.

Kiss the baby, come on back up. Other side, lift and twist, head to tail, so this articulation through the spine feels so yummy in your body for the postnatal mom. Lean forward with the chest and if you're more flexible, scooch back and you can get down a little deeper. Hey bubba, ma ma ma. Again, lift, rotate, flex.

Rebuild the spine, come back to center, flat back, lean, hi. Babies like it when you whisper to them too. So this is a great time to tell them a little secret. Lengthen all the way up. Hey Maverick, hey, love you. (kisses)

And come all the way up. Whoa! Nice job, I'm gonna flip him over so he's on his belly. Now if he was sitting up and he was happy in a seated position, I could just leave him here for the next sequence too. (Maverick cooing) Are we happy? Let's see.

Let's sit up. This guy likes to stand, let's see if we can go back to sitting, maybe entice him with a car. How's that? It will work now and it will work when he's a teenager, so I will use it! (laughing) So from here, I'm gonna call these leg rainbows. He's sitting, he's stable, he's happy.

If he was laying on his back, that would be great as well. Both legs are gonna come to one side, knees bend and hands go behind. Hips come up, three tricep dips. Not only is this working those upper body muscles that need to be worked, but it's opening the chest too. Take a seat, legs go up, legs go over.

And you can stretch. Same thing this side, hips come up, three tricep dips, elbows pointing back, hands right under the shoulders. Take a seat. Legs go over. A little bit of core work, but supported.

And take a stretch. I'll do one more set each side here. Hips up, where you going? We're filming a video, you gotta stay. Two and three.

Crawling is a new thing. Take a stretch, hey! And three tricep dips, one, two, oh you think it's funny huh? Three and up and over. Good job, bubby. Good job.

All right, another thing that I love to do while he's what I call a content baby, which is just chilling, take a seat. This one is pretty cool, yeah, that one's pretty cool. Another great postural exercise for new mom, you can prop yourself up by rolling your mat over or you can sit on a bolster or pillow. Arms go out like a letter T, sitting nice and tall, elbow will bend in the direction that you're rotating. Keep the feet where they are, lift up a little taller and twist three times.

One, two, three. Back to center, other side. Twist, twist, twist. Back to center. Now if your child is not using your leg as a crawling support, the hands go back and you can go into your modified teaser.

A little bit of core work, well supported. Legs go out, you sit tall. Exhale, exhale, exhale. Back to center. Exhale, exhale, exhale, back to center.

Teaser prep. (baby cooing) I know, nobody likes doing a teaser really, huh? (baby crying) Hi bubba. All right, time to move on. So that's content baby.

Mood has changed, this is real life. This is how quickly things change. Now we have interactive baby, so interactive baby wants to spend time on you, with you, crawling all over you. Let's do it then. Here's one of my favorites.

I call it climbing the mummy mountain. You may have another name for it. Are we ready? Okay, we can do it. So I go back into a C curve.

Maverick gets to practice his walking. Keep going, buddy. Keep going. Climb, climb, climb, climb! Ahhh, he's at the top, I can take a balance. Ahhh hi, hi.

But, when you climb a mountain, you can't stay on the top forever and we go down and we tickle, tickle, tickle, tickle. Sometimes we roll onto our belly and the whole thing starts again. You ready? Okay, let's climb. So if you have diastasis recti, you can lean back, but I would recommend lean back against a wall or your sofa so you have a little support from behind you.

Here we go buddy, walk. Walk. Climb, climb. Can you do it? Climb, climb.

He's at the top. He snaps a selfie. And then he goes down and down, tickle, tickle, tickle. If you're gonna lift up your baby by their pelvis, make sure that you are grabbing the whole pelvis and not their legs. And he does it again.

One more time? Okay, let's do it, ready? Abs are engaged. Baby makes their way up, and up, and up. It's good arm work for you too, mom.

Holding those shoulders up. Couple more steps, you can do it. Up, up, take a balance. And he goes down. And he, tickle, tickle, tickle, tickle, tickle.

And he goes up and over. Nicely done. Flying baby. Bring the knees in, baby rests onto your shins. You go back.

Now these exercises again are for a child that's able to hold their head up. He's totally fine here, and for a mom that is not suffering from diastasis, so I am inflection. Maverick comes in, I curl up, we make some serious eye contact. Maybe I get drooled on and inhale, he goes away. Exhale. (deep breathe)

(baby cooing) Inhale. Exhale. (baby cooing) Inhale. Exhale. (baby laughing) And inhale, and exhale. Hi. Hi. And inhale one more time.

Exhale. There goes the drool! And inhale and baby on your belly. Form here let's do some bridge work. So coming into a bridge position, placing baby on your stomach or your hips. Baby can be in a seated position or standing position.

What you got there? Hips come up, they go half way down. You want to grab your monkey? There ya go. Then come back up.

So you've got the extra weight of baby, which is helping you to work and tone your hamstrings and glutes. A bridge is so great for moms who are sitting a lot, which we all are, let's face it. One of the things that I love to do while he's content and just hanging out in this position, is a little booty dancing. Sometimes that's a circle, hi. I think that monkey's gonna end up hitting me in the head.

Up and around and reverse. Up and around. What you got there? Up and around. I also like to do taps.

One hip goes down and back up. The other hip goes down and back up. This feels so great for my lower back. You tend to get sort of stuck, right? Again, you're doing the same positions for so many hours in a day so just creating this movement, this dynamic, down and up and side to side, feels so good.

Hey buddy. If you've got the strength, this is gonna be later on, 'cause your hands are up supporting your baby. You can practice some single leg lifts too. Hey buddy. There goes monkey.

And take him down. You wanna grab him? Yay and he's up again. Awesome job. Taking baby into either a seated position or if they're in the mood to just lay down and chill out, then they can lay.

This is one of our favorite ones to do, huh? Well, it's mommy's favorite. We'll see what Maverick thinks. These are baby kisses. Four point kneeling position.

Hands just go over baby, one leg goes back. Life the leg and the hip extension, inhale down, exhale out. He's like, "Come on, mom, not on camera." Inhale down, exhale out. Inhale down, exhale out. (blows a raspberry) And up, inhale down, exhale up.

Inhale down. (blows a raspberry) Exhale out, inhale down and exhale up. Lifting the leg as the chest goes down. Little pulses here, always fun, pulling the belly in and up, supporting the low back. And other side, leg goes back.

Go into hip extension, get a little upper body work. Back up. (blows raspberry) And back up. (laughing) Down and up, la la la la la, and up. Bending the elbows as you extend at the hip.

Inhale and exhale. I'm coming to get ya! And up, you can stay down, pulse the leg. Hey! Hey, ma ma ma. (blows raspberry) And come all the way up. The last part to this section, interacting and working out with your baby, is a little peek a boo time. He's super into peek a boo right now which is a ton of fun.

I feel like I spend hours and hours figuring how to make him laugh and that is the answer. Hey buddy, what you got there? Are you playing peek a boo all ready. So coming into a standing position, I like to be in a wide squat. Cover him up with the blanket momentarily.

As you go down, peek a boo. And he gets covered, and you go down, peek a boo. And he gets covered, hi. These little muslin blankets are the best for this. Inhale down and exhale up.

Hi, ti ti ti ti ti. And up, this is also a great time to do some lateral lunges. And up, so standing with the feet together, cover him up. Or he's taking charge of holding the blanket, that works too. Step to one side, that's when you would see baby, and cover him up.

Peek a boo! Ti ti ti. Where's my mama? Lateral lunge. Ti ti ti. And cover him up.

Step to the side. Where's Maverick? There he is! And cover him up. Hi, ti ti ti. And cover him up.

Step to the side. Here I am, and last time. Step to the side, here I am. He's figuring out this game now. He knows how to create the peek a boo experience on his own.

Hi, ti ti ti. Good job. Tummy time is important for babies, but it's also important for mummies too. Now, because Maverick is pretty mobile, he's not usually on his tummy. He's trying to crawl.

He's rolling over like a champ. It's a little bit more challenging to keep him on his belly these days, so I took away the toys in hopes that he will just be on his belly chilling out. We'll see. So laying baby on their tummy towards you. One of the reasons why babies don't like tummy time, I think, is because they feel so disconnected from you, being up here.

So I'm going to show you some exercises that you can do here you're on baby's level. One of them is a whole body lift. He's gonna crawl any day now, it's so cool. You're back in a push up position. Hey Maverick! Where you going?

Are you gonna just leave? Wait, we're not done yet. We just got started. (laughs) Okay, so try this. You come down from push up position. All the way down to the mat, hi, hi.

You extend the hips as you give baby a little lovin'. Hi. Hi. Legs go down as you lift your whole body up. Again, whole body lowers, legs come up. Little tickle, little hip extension, abs are drawing in and up, whole body lifts.

One more time. Hi Maverick, hi. Ti, ti, ti, ti, (gasps), ti, ti, ti, ti. Whole body lifts. I also like to do low planks scapular isolation down here.

So elbows are underneath the shoulders, lifting up, shoulders retract, hey Maverick. Hi. Push, protraction. Retract, where you going? Protraction, retract, protract, there I am.

And protract. Another thing that works really well, especially if they're on the move like he is, is giving him tummy time over your thighs. He's not on the mat on his belly. This works really good too with the younger babies. You would just have them over one thigh, like this.

They don't feel like they're so smushed into the mat. Maverick's gonna probably go where he wants, but we will put him right there. You gonna go some where? He's working on his crawling. I'm gonna work on a spine stretch forward here.

Arms go forward, exhale. (kisses) You can give baby kisses. Ma ma ma ma ma. Inhale, rebuild the spine. Again.

Exhale, hi buddy. You just gonna stand right up and walk somewhere? Yup, he sure is gonna do that. And inhale. Exhale scoop and inhale.

Now, depending on where you are with your abdominal strength, you can also do a roll up here. Baby hangs out on his belly, mom rolls down. Arms go over head, hi Maverick. Coming to get you! Again, you roll half way down. Roll the rest of the way down, arms lift up, head lifts.

Hi and scoot, flex to go all the way over. You can always modify that by rolling back onto an arch or bending the knees a little bit, if that works better for you. All right, this guy wants to get on the move. Something I want to show you that's been helpful for me, is keeping my body in a good alignment while I'm helping him walk. Let me show you what I was doing for a while.

Slouching over, he was walking and after about a day of doing this, I realized that this is just not good for my body at all. Something that I came up with, definitely works better on carpet, is being in a low position with him and as he moves forward, I take one foot forward, the other foot I'm in a low squat, one knee down, and the other. Foot forward, foot forward, I'm in a low squat. One knee down and the other. It has saved my back.

He gets to travel, I get to work on opening my hips and I don't have to worry about that cathodic position. There's so many things you can do with your baby, not just for working out for your body, but to help baby meet those milestones too. So now that you have your baby in the wrap, I have some exercises that I love to do standing. I've read that when your baby's in the wrap, they cry something like 50% less throughout the day. I don't know about that, but I do know that when my baby's in the wrap he sleeps more, so he's in the wrap.

(kisses) Yeah, his naps are a little bit longer. We're just gonna do some standing footwork. So baby's in the wrap, safely and securely. Stand with your feet together, heels touching in a Pilates V. Shoulders are back. The great thing about the wrap is that because you're wearing baby, you can really feel where your shoulders are in place.

He likes to move so I'm just gonna keep doing this. You can feel where your shoulders are in place, so if the shoulders are rounding forward, press them back against the wrap. You can also feel if your abdominals are engaged or not. Instead of letting your stomach push forward into baby, draw your tummy back away from baby. Here we are in our Pilates V, hands can be on baby or out to the sides.

Little bend and all the way up, just like you're on the reformer. Inhale down, exhale up, really work the up. Squeezing your inner thighs together. Sacrum is heavy, and again, you're pulling your stomach away from baby. Ten repetitions.

The down and up movement very soothing to baby. On the next one, stay down, lift an inch, and lower. It's extremely important that you're not bouncing here. Postpartum, he's staring right at me. Postpartum you still have that relaxin hormone so your ligaments are a little bit looser and more relaxed.

No bouncing, a controlled press, just enough to feel that heat in the quadriceps. Taking the legs wide, choose an arm position. I'm gonna do forward arms, bending at the knees, lifting up. Just like we would do on the reformer. As you rise up, think about squeezing the heels towards your center.

That's gonna help fire into your inner thighs, working your seat muscles, and help you to co-contract that pelvic floor. Knees right over toes, shoulders over hips. Again, use the baby as a reminder, pull your stomach back away from baby. Shoulders are back and into the wrap. On the next one, stay in your lowest position.

Down an inch and up an inch. It's not about bouncing. It's about control. Feeling that heat? Hey, little.

Feeling that burn. Three more. Two, and one. Come all the way in. If your balance is a bit challenged, use a wall or chair, if you're outside use a tree, for tendon stretch and calf raises.

(baby cooing) I know, we stopped moving. I'm gonna stand with my feet hip distance apart, hands on my hips. Heels come up, heels go down. Lift up, go down. The challenge here, because you're wearing baby, is your center of gravity is being drawn forward.

So you have to work just a little bit harder. (baby crying out) I know, bouncy, bouncy. Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, bouncy. You have to work just a little bit harder to stay vertical. Lift up, lower down, lift up, lower down, lift up and stay up, pulse the up.

Ten, nine, belly back, shoulders back. Five, four, three, two, one, and done. Good, I also like to do what I call footwork cardio while I'm wearing baby. This is a little bit more bouncy. If you have a baby who's not settling in the wrap, they'll like these and you'll get your sweat on.

Standing in a wide second position, bend both knees, stand with the heels connecting, and bend both knees again. So you open, bend, stand so the heels are connecting, and bend again. Now again, these are controlled movements. Baby likes the up and down, but you are controlling it using the muscles in the feet, pointing and flexing, and keeping the second position. Taking one leg and standing so both legs are connected together, and now in a diagonal, opening it back up again.

Turn, open, turn, open, turn, open, turn, open. I have the extra weight of baby to lift, which means I'm working harder. Turn and open and turn and hold. Take that same leg, step it back. Standing leg is bent, maybe you can get a little bit deeper.

Tap it in and tap it back. In and back. In and back. Hey little. In and back, in and back.

In and back. In and back. Open it up, other side. Step them together, step them wide. And wide, and wide.

if you're concerned about your balance, try this series again with the hand on the back of a chair, against a wall, before using a just center floor. And together, try the turn. Pivot, step both feet together. And open, turn in, and open. In, open.

Shoulders are back. In and open. These series of exercises usually put my baby to sleep. That's the good news, the bad news is once they're asleep in the wrap, they wake up when you take them out, so you have to keep going. (laughing) And in and hold, take that leg, step it back.

Maybe you can deepen, tap it in, send it back. Notice a lot of these exercises are one sided. Again, helping to rebalance because caring for an infant definitely creates a lot of imbalances because you're doing such similar movements throughout the day for a large portion of your day. Tap and in and open it up. Cardio going?

Good. One thing I want to talk about is mobilizing the hip. This is a great exercise to do while you're wearing baby too. Your hips change a lot throughout your pregnancy and they're slowly changing again towards your pre-baby position, post pregnancy. But there is a lot of instability and sometimes some pain in the hips during that process.

Standing on either a stair or if you're in a Pilates studio and you have a box to stand on, even a yoga block works great too. Come up to a safe, standing position. Again, use a balance aid if you need one. One leg is gonna dangle, one leg is gonna be towards the center, so there I am. This standing leg is what's really gonna work here.

Bending that knee and straighten that leg, keeping my hips level and square. It's a small movement here. Less is more. I'm only gonna do about five repetitions per variation. Keeping the leg straight.

Now this outside leg, the gesture leg, I hike the hip and level the hips. Hands can be on the hips if you're not sure of your spatial awareness or on balance aid for support. Now we're gonna circle the leg, so I hike the hip, swing the leg forward, hike and circle. Hike and circle. Hike and circle.

Reverse. Back and around. Back and around. Back and around and other side. Still a work in progress, these are not easy to do.

So one leg hangs off as the other leg stays on. The standing leg bends and straightens. Bends and straightens. Bend, keeping the hips square and level. One more time.

Now that gesture leg, hike the hip up. Press it down so it's level with your supporting leg. Hike and lower. Hike and lower. Hike and lower, hike and lower Try circles.

Circle the hip forward and around. And around. Reverse your circles. Around. Around, the hip bone lifting and around.

Coming in and carefully coming off. And he's fallen asleep. I told you it works every time. No wonder his head felt so heavy. So if you do have a wrap like this you can just put them in nice and sound.

So here's a perfect example of what happened. Baby's in the wrap, you get your groove on, if I were to take him out, he's gonna fall asleep. But mom, this is a great time now to go for a walk outside. Do some meditation in motion, keep your body moving. Just settle your mind, you're doing a good job.

Your baby's happy. Your baby's sleeping. Enjoy. Moms, if you have five minutes to spare, these are the five exercises that I did for my body that really helped. This is my suggestion to you.

I'm using the foam roller. It is such a good tool for you post partum. It's probably going to be my new baby shower gift I'm gonna give to soon to be moms. Let's start with some abdominal work. This is going to depend on how you've recovered after your delivery.

I did not have any diastasis recti, we're not doing flection in this series, but this might be something you hold off on doing until you're a few months post partum. Keep this in mind too, I took it really easy. I did a lot of walking, a lot of stretching for the first two months post partum. Then I started with these exercises and I've been progressing since then, and Maverick's six months old now if that puts things into perspective. I'm gonna lay back onto the foam roller so that it's centered along my spine.

You can use a pillow or cushion underneath your head here too. The feet are wide enough that you feel stable, tailbone is heavy. Let's start with some shoulder mobilization. So arms are up. Inhale, scissor.

And exhale, switch. Now I'm allowing the arm to go lower and I can even allow just a little bit of thoracic extension here, if that feels good. Because what I'm trying to do is open the chest. And open. From here, arms go up.

Squeeze the elbows down towards the ground. Maybe you can touch the ground, maybe not. Lift up and actually protract. So retract, elbows go to the sides. Maybe you can touch the ground, maybe not.

Lift up. And you'll know how many reps feel good for your body. I'd suggest start around six to eight. You don't have to very many to start to feel the benefit. And up.

From here, the hands go down and you may want the hands a little bit wide, especially if you're newly postpartum. Your center of gravity is still a little off. Draw one leg up to a tabletop position, keeping the abdominals flat. Now without changing the position of the pelvis, toe taps here. The nice thing about being on the foam rollers, because you're on an unstable surface, it's sort of trick you to engage through those deep abdominals, so you don't need a big movement here to work in a very efficient manner.

Leg goes down, opposite leg comes up. Working on feeling the abdominals compress as the leg lifts. And again, you're on a foam roller; so little micro movements side to side, just totally normal. If you notice that you're falling off the foam roller at this attempt, then it might tell you that okay, there's definitely an imbalance happening and I need to create more strength and stability in my body. If you're prepared to, if you feel like it's right for you, keeping the arms anchored, you can draw both legs up and repeat your toe taps.

Now they can be one, and then the other. Or it could be a reciprocal motion. The reciprocal is more challenging because you're stabilizing, again, on this wobbly surface. And legs can go down. The important thing is you're feeling that you're able to reconnect through those abdominals and stabilize.

Okay, good. From here, let's mobilize the shoulders. Coming into some extension and a stretch. So place your foam roller down towards the front of your mat. Lay down unto your belly, and reach your arms forward.

Now you want the foam roller onto the forearms here. Let the head go down, keep the legs wide. Press the pubic bone down into the mat and simply inhale. Retract the shoulder blades and depress them, drawing them down the back. Exhale, elevate.

So you're just mobilizing the shoulder. Taking it a little bit further. Finding the shoulder's in a strong position, pushing down into the foam roller to lift. And you might lift a little or you might lift a lot. Inhale while you're there and exhale as you go down.

I'm just gonna do two more to show you. Exhale to lift. Feeling strong in the back. Think of your armpit muscles working to lift you up, and not the muscles along your spine. If you're having problems finding those armpit muscles, push a little more into the pinky side of your forearm.

And that should sort of lock those guys in. And lengthen all the way down. Sit back into a child's stretch pose. Grab a hold of that foam roller in your child's pose and see if you can get your head to touch the ground. Now if I can do this now, but postpartum, this was a challenge for me, because my shoulders were so tight.

So to get my chest and my head low to the ground, it was very, very challenging. So here we can see I've made some progressions, but if you're head's not touching, it's totally okay. Rebuild the spine. So that's your spinal extension. Moving onto some bridge work.

So using the foam roller underneath the arches of the feet. Feet are hip distance apart, you're lying down unto your mat. Now you may have adopted a very anterior pelvis, which means the arch in your lower back is quite large, and that's normal. But we want to start to mobilize that, tightening the abdominal wall again, and return back to our neutral pelvis, which is when the pubic bone and the hipbones are level. So starting in that position, you may even have to palpate to find that level position or neutral pelvis.

Feet on the foam roller, exhale, scoop the belly; feeling the lower back touch down. So I'm using the abdominals to pull my pubic bone towards my chest, and then building the spine into the bridge position. Inhale at the top. Now here's the tricky part: exhale using your abdominals to articulate down. Not just lowering the spine, but really going for length.

Pulling your sit bones towards your heels and releasing. I'm just gonna show you one more so you can really see that. Here's your starting position where the pubic bone and hipbones are level. Little bit of space between the mat and the back. Exhale, curl the hips.

Roll them towards you, so the lower back is down and long. The abdominals are compressed, and then exhale as you roll up, like you're lifting a string of beads, right? One at a time, all the way up to the shoulder blades. Inhale while you're there. Think about this as core work.

Flex your abdominal muscles to lower the ribs. Then the middle back. Then the lower back. And release, and again, eight to six repetitions what feels best for you. Carefully coming up and sitting in your mermaid position.

Mobilizing the spine through lateral flexion, so this is where I felt very, very stiff postpartum. My ribs just wouldn't move. One hand is on the foam roller, one hand is out to the side. Inhale as the arm goes up. Heavy, your hips.

So feel that hip pushing downwards. Stay strong in your back as you exhale to laterally flex. Inhale, look up, lift the chest. Exhale, thread under. Inhale, look up, lift the chest.

And exhale as you rise on up. And I would do each side about four or five times. I'm gonna switch sides just to show you. Hips heavy, and I did not feel equal side to side and I still don't. I'm really working to find that balance again.

Inhale. Laterally flex. Open the chest, exhale, thread. (exhales) Inhale, open. And exhale, (exhales), to come all the way up.

The last thing that I did, and I spent a lot of time doing this, is creating space and traction in my middle back or thoracic spine. Using the foam roller, I would sit unto the floor and unto a mat, and place the foam roller about four or five inches from my tailbone. I'd roll down so I'd felt the support of the foam roller. From here, arms could go forward, or to make it more challenging, the elbows could go back. I'm gonna leave my arms forward to show you.

I'd roll back over the foam roller. Head touches down. Now in the beginning, my head didn't touch. So I'd use pillows underneath my head and I'd use as much pillows as I needed to to feel comfortable in this position. The arms go over, this is making it more intense.

Inhale, the arms go forward. You may have to grab a hold of your thighs. Nod your chin towards your chest and come back up. And what I would do is I would work that foam roller a half an inch back and then I'd repeat the series. Exhale to roll back.

And I keep working that foam roller up and down my spine for as long as I could, until I heard a baby crying. Sometimes I'd be able to do that three or four times. It just feels so yummy on your spine. And I would do these exercises as often as I could throughout the day, so it wasn't just one and done. Sometimes I didn't get a chance to finish all five, other times I'd be able to cycle through all five a couple of times, but these movements using the foam roller helped to give me a sense of restoring my body in a very supportive kind of way so that I felt more prepared in moving into more progressive work.

The foam roller is your friend. So get one if you don't have, and use it. Also, when you do have a sleeping baby, everyone tells you sleep when your baby sleeps. It's sort of hard to do that. But if I could give you some advice, that time is so precious.

So just carve out five minutes to do these for yourself. You have to do it. You'll thank yourself down the road, okay? You're doing a great job, mom. Keep it up! See you guys soon.



5 people like this.
awww... my heart warmed just seeing this class posted! Congrats Courtney you're just glowing, motherhood looks great on you ; and you seem wiser or different -- as this was your birth too into a new role. You're doing a great job too!
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Adorable !!!
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The cutest Pilates ever!! Great job as a Pilates teacher and as a mom!!
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I have missed your videos! So glad to see you healthy and happy with a beautiful baby boy!
Woohoo...Courtney is back.. Now for a great kick ass Reformer class...Can't wait :)
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I love your classes and when I saw this one, I had to watch it because it looked so cute! My boys are 19 and 17. I wish these classes would've been available to me back then!! I started Pilates when my youngest was 1 and it has been the best thing I ever did for myself. I look forward to more of your classes! Your son is adorable and you look extremely happy:)
I am beyond excited to share this Mommy and Me class with my Pilates Anytime family!! Filming throughout my pregnancy and postpartum has truly been a magical experience. To have the opportunity to share my journey with you all - and have my son, Maverick join me - has been out of this world amazing! I am eternialy grateful to the Pilates Anytime team and to all the PA members for all of your kindness, love and support. I cannot express how happy this video makes me! And how fun will it be to look back and see my little boy at 6 months old!! So blessed! Xx
OMG! Look at that little nugget!! I love seeing you as a momma!!! So beautiful... and such a great class!! xoxo!!
Congratulations Courtney, I am so happy to see your cute little guy, I have been wondering how you have been doing. Love your classes!
1 person likes this.
"Climbing the mommy mountain" very precious. You are just so beautiful. I watched your video with a huge smile on my face. Thank you for being so real and sharing.
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