Class #5065

Gentle Pilates for C-Section

25 min - Class
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Whether you had a cesarean a while ago or just gave birth a few weeks ago - this class is great for easing into movement again. A common effect of a cesarean is the shortening of your hips, so Wendy Foster teaches a class that will lengthen and open your hip flexors allowing you to connect to your breathe and strengthen your core muscles.

You will need a Chair, Bed, or Stability Ball, along with a Towel, Foam Roller and a Small Deflated Ball or Pillow/
What You'll Need: Mat, Towel, Overball, Fitness Ball, Foam Roller

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Hi, I'm Wendy, and I'm here to bring you a routine that is great for you if you have had a C-section. So whether you had a cesarean years ago or weeks ago, this is a great, gentle way to get back into your body. So I'm seated on a ball. You're gonna wanna have either a chair or you can sit on the side of your bed. You'll also want to have a foam roller, a rolled towel, and then a small pillow or a deflated ball, but I'm sitting on the ball here just to demonstrate.

If you are newly postpartum and just had your cesarean, just rolling over and sitting up can be a little bit of a challenge because of that incision, so imagine carefully sitting on the side of your bed before you even get up. All you're going to want to do is just see if you can inhale. Just reach one arm up and see how that feels on your core and then exhale, bring that arm down, and then try the other side. Inhale. Just reach up. Just that reaching might be enough to kind of stretch and lengthen, and then exhale, bring that arm down.

You can always support your core with a hand or even a pillow, and then bring that arm down and just be mindful of your shoulders. Oftentimes post cesarean, the shoulders wanna do a lotta the work, so try and get the shoulders sliding down your back. One more time. Inhale. Reach one arm up and exhale. Other arm, inhale. Reach up and exhale.

See if you can try both arms inhale as you reach. Maybe you can scrunch your shoulders up, and then exhale, slide your shoulders down your back as your arms come back down. So inhale, reach up, and exhale, drawing that belly towards your spine. One more inhale. Reach and exhale. Hold onto the ball with your right hand or the edge of your bed or the side of your chair and just inhale.

Reach that left arm up and get a nice opening through the sides of the ribs, sliding that shoulder down, reaching to one side, and then bring that arm down. Other side, inhale as you reach up, stretching out those intercostal muscles that can get sort of tight during pregnancy to make space for baby. You wanna stretch those out after baby and bring that arm down, and again, reaching up, exhale, sliding the shoulder down, and just take a few breaths. Just notice how your body's feeling, if you're feeling any tension, and bring that arm down. One more time, other side, reaching and grounding at the same time, and arm comes down.

Roll your shoulders around. Put your hands on your belly. Take a big inhale into the sides of the ribs and exhale. Just start to draw that belly away from your hands. Inhale and exhale. Using that breath can really help you recover as well.

Inhale one more time. Sit nice and tall. Stay tall and lengthened and exhale. Draw that belly in. Great job. So now we're gonna slowly bring your feet together. Yep, and see if you can maybe scoot yourself a little bit more forward on the chair if that feels okay, and you're just going to press your heels and feet together.

Inhale. Open your knees and exhale. Bring your legs back. Inhale as you open and exhale back. Inhale, feet together. Get a nice little stretch through those inner thighs.

You can hold onto the chair, hold onto the ball or the bed. Couple more, inhale, just a tiny stretch, and exhale back, starting to think about engaging that pelvic floor as well as your core. Two more, inhaling and exhaling. Last one, and exhale. Good. So bring your feet underneath you.

You want to carefully come up so you might wanna hinge. Engage your core and we're gonna come up to a standing position for a little hip flexor stretch. So you'll come on up and you can slide the ball away or move the chair to the side or you can hold on to the back of your chair. I'm going to use a foam roller, so I hope you have a foam roller for this routine, but you don't need it necessarily for this stretch. So after your C-section, sometimes what happens is there's a little bit of shortening through the pelvis.

Because of the incision, your shoulders can sometimes come down towards your hips and your hips kinda wanna come up towards your pelvis and that can, or hips can come up towards your shoulders and that can create some shortening in the hip flexors, so your goal is really to lengthen and open just enough so that it feels comfortable. So you're gonna bring one leg forward and one leg back and that might be enough of a stretch right there for you to feel that stretch in the back leg right at the top of the thigh, or you might bend that front knee a little bit or slide that back leg back or you might bring an arm up, get a little bit more of a stretch, and then exhale, come back up. So inhale as you reach and exhale, or you might just stay right here for a little stretch and breathe, or you might hold an arm up, sliding your shoulder down. The goal is to get a nice stretch through the hip flexors on that back leg, again, without overarching the back or flaring the ribs. Shoulders draw down and then exhale, come back to center, and we'll switch it out to the other side.

So use that roller for a little support and stability. Your other leg is gonna come forward and this stance is gonna be whatever's comfortable for you, and this might be enough of a stretch right here for those hips. Try not to sink to one side, or if you want more of a stretch, you can bend and straighten. So remember, you're still protecting your back, using your core, lifting up on the pelvic floor, and you may want to add an arm for a little added stretch, a little more length if that feels okay, and down. One more reaching up and then bring that arm down.

Both feet come together, just gonna shake your legs out, and we are going to come to a seated position either against the wall or up against your headboard at your bed and you're going to want to have a rolled towel and a small deflated ball and a foam roller. So getting set up for some seated foam roller work, you're going to want to find your foam roller, place it vertically against the wall or up against your headboard if you're still recovering from your cesarean and you're in bed. You're going to want to find your deflated Pilates ball or just a small pillow so that you can place something underneath your hips to get your hips up a little bit higher than your knees. So carefully place that underneath your hips. You'll place the foam roller right up against the wall and you just wanna check and see where your alignment is.

So ideally, you'll have the base of your skull against the foam roller. The shoulders and the ribs are nice and wide, and you wanna have a tiny space in between your low back and the foam roller, but you don't wanna be so arched that those ribs are flaring forward. So adjust yourself as necessary, and just feel that contact, make a few breaths. Inhale again into the sides and the backs of the ribs, keeping that contact. Feeling that contact with the base of your skull and the back of your ribs, rotate your shoulders so your palms face forward, and all you're going to do is reach through that left arm and just drop your head off to the right a little bit so that you can feel a nice stretch into your neck and into the top of your shoulders, breathing as you reach away with your left fingers.

You might even gently draw your head towards your shoulder and just continue to breathe, and then come back up and we'll do the same thing on the other side. So gently drop your head over to the left, your left ear towards your left shoulder, and that might be enough of a stretch for you, especially if you're rotated out from the shoulders and you're really reaching your fingers towards the floor. Should feel a nice opening through the neck, a nice stretch, and again, you can also add a little bit of support. Hold the head and gently draw the left ear towards the left shoulder, and then bring your head right back up as the arms come back. From here, you're just gonna reach your arms up.

Make sure you don't round your shoulders, and you're just going to inhale, reach your fingers forward and exhale. Slide your shoulders down your back. So a little bit of protraction, retraction just to get that shoulder girdle moving. Oftentimes after a C-section, it's hard to separate the shoulders from the hips. We wanna start sending some breath into the shoulders, into the middle and upper back so that we can get some release and start to activate and access our core.

Two more. Inhale as you reach forward, exhale back, sitting up nice and tall, and then your palms are gonna face forward. Bringing your arms down, just inhale. Reach up. Get some nice big arm circles and exhale down. Inhale as you reach and exhale down.

If that feels like too much range with your arms up, you can just do smaller arm circles. You don't have to come all the way up, but see if you can inhale, get the shoulders moving up and down. Two more, and exhale, and down, and then we're going to reverse the direction. Inhale, reach up and exhale down, inhaling as you reach. Open through the chest and exhale. Bring the arms down.

Couple more. Stay nice and lifted through the spine, looking straight ahead, and down. Go ahead and slide those shoulders down. Readjust yourself if you need to. You're gonna bring your arms out in front and then rotate your right arm so it's towards the floor and your left arm so it's up towards the ceiling.

So the palms face down, but the movement's really happening from the shoulder, and you're just gonna reach your arms out to the side and then stay right here. Slide the shoulders down and then see if you can switch so the opposite palm goes up and the opposite palm goes down, really moving from the shoulders as much as possible and making sure that you're keeping those arms just in front of your shoulders so that they're not too far back and causing the rib cage to flare, moving all the way down the shoulder, all the way down the arm, out through the fingertips, creating some width and space in the sternum, in the front of the chest. Two more, and back. Go ahead and bring your arms down. Shrug your shoulders up and then slide 'em down.

We've got one more if that feels all right for you. You're gonna bring your arms out in front, and again, pull your shoulders back. So starting to use our core just a little bit here, you're gonna bring one arm out to the side and then exhale. Use your core to pull the arm back in. Other arm, inhale as you reach out.

Reach through the fingertips and exhale in. See if you can rotate that shoulder so the thumb goes back, opening just a little bit more and then bring the arm back in. Left arm, inhale, reaches out, and exhale, opening up as much as you can through the sternum and the chest. Again, without flaring the ribs, reaching the thumb back and in, sliding the shoulders down. Last one, left side reaching out, and exhale in, bringing the arms down, and see if you can keep yourself right where you are bringing your feet a little bit closer together.

You're going to stay seated and just see if you could exhale again. You can put your hands on your core and just gently slide your leg forward. Inhale and exhale with as little movement as possible. See if you could bring that leg right back in. So inhale again and exhale.

Other side, you're gonna slide that leg out, and then inhale, exhale, bring it in. You can use your hands to stabilize. Exhale, sliding out. Inhale. Sit up nice and tall. Exhale. Bring it in. Couple more breaths, drawing that belly in.

If you're in bed, your heels should slide pretty easily on the sheets. Drawing in with the core, lifting up with the pelvic floor, one more time, and last side and in. Go ahead here, bring your feet together, and you're just going to bring one leg out to the side and just get a nice stretch pressing through the opposite leg. So you can use your hand to sort of open up through the inner thigh, and at the same time, stay stable on that pillow or the ball, and then bringing that leg back up, and other side, same thing. So you can hold onto the side of that leg or the inside.

Get a nice inner thigh stretch if that feels okay, and back. So go ahead and take that roller away. We're gonna come down onto our backs, and you're going to want to, again, find that towel and find that ball so that you can place the ball, the deflated ball, so we want it pretty deflated under our head or you can find your other towel that you have to place under your head. So you'll want a nice long towel. We're gonna do some hamstring stretches.

You'll want a nice long towel so that you can stay open through the chest, and remember, when we're coming down onto our backs, we wanna do that log roll. So you're going to want to engage the core. Use your hands as you come down, maybe use your forearm, and come all the way down onto your back. Place that ball under your head and then you'll find that towel, and see if you can slide that towel underneath your hip bones so that it can help put you in that sort of ideal alignment. So again, like we talked about at the beginning, oftentimes postpartum, after a C-section, there's this exaggerated tuck going on with your lumbar spine.

You don't wanna over arch, but you wanna find that neutral pelvis as much as you can and just putting that towel there can help give enough of a stretch through that area where you had your incision. So just take a few breaths right there. Again, you can put your hands on your belly, just breathing, and think of drawing those hip bones towards each other, really breathing right above that pubic bone and see if you can keep that breath, arms nice and wide, and just do a little pelvic curl as you engage the core, but try not to shorten or crunch or dome. So it's pretty small. You just wanna keep thinking of lengthening your hips towards the wall in front of you as you curl your pubic bone towards your belly button.

So it's pretty small and you're opening through the chest the whole time. You're not rounding through the shoulders, just a little bit of a curl and then find that neutral pelvis, and from here, you're just going to bring your feet a little bit closer and you're going to exhale, draw the belly in and see if you can start to go a little bit further and then back down, and exhale, curl. Maybe you can take that up a little bit further still and start to lift up and then roll back down. So this gradual bridge is, again, you doing your research to see where you can move, where you're limited. Maybe you can start to come up a little bit further, and come back down and really use that breath to activate the core.

Maybe you can come all the way up to a bridge, reaching out through the knees, open through the chest and then exhale, come back down. So again, you're imagining that marble rolling from your pubic bone all the way up to your sternum as you curl and come up and down, and on this one, we're gonna do the same thing. So engage that pelvic floor. Draw the belly in. Come all the way up, and then at the top, you wanna drop your left hip down and see if you can roll down, scooping out the belly just on the left side of that spine and come all the way back to center and exhale. Curl and bridge up.

See if you can do the same thing. Drop that right hip just a little bit, still pressing through the legs evenly. Curl and roll all the way down, lengthening your spine towards the wall. Exhale, curl and bridge up, and left hip drops. Exhale, scoop out that belly, and up, and right hip drops down.

Exhale, curl and roll all the way down. One more regular bridge. Exhale. Hollow out that belly. Come all the way up. You're going to take that towel out, press through the arms and then slowly roll right through the middle of your spine.

Shake out your legs. Find that towel or band and you're going to bring it around one foot for a little bit of a hamstring stretch. So holding onto the towel with your leg up, your elbows can be nice and wide. You might have your leg here. You might have your leg here. That's fine, but keep your opposite foot on the floor.

Don't straighten that leg out yet. Wait to get that length through the backs of your hams, through your hamstrings in the back of your leg before you try and straighten that leg out because what happens oftentimes is that back will press to the floor. Remember, we want that small space in between your low back and the mat. You're just gonna get a nice stretch through the back of the calves and the hamstrings, and then you're just gonna bring your leg across the midline of the body and then back to center, and across and center, so stretching out that IT band, and back, last one, bringing it across. Lengthen that hip away from the ribs a little bit more.

Maybe you can reach that arm out. Maybe you can turn your head and look through all the way out through the fingertips, and then slowly bring that leg back and we'll switch it out to the other side. So other leg comes up. Wrap it around the foot. Flex. Reach through the heel and get a nice hamstring stretch.

So again, elbows are nice and wide, lengthening. Think of lengthening down through the sitz bones, out up through the heel, that oppositional stretching keeping your hips bolted down and just breathing, and then go ahead, keeping your hip lengthening away from the ribs, bring that leg across and back. Little IT band stretch, which can again help with that alignment through your pelvis and your knees. Last one. You'll bring it across. Keep reaching out through the heel.

Reach out through the arm holding the towel with one hand and maybe you can turn your head and look out through the fingertips as you reach and lengthen, and then come all the way back. Taking that towel off to the side, shake everything out. Find that neutral pelvis, and again, you can put your hands on your hips, on your belly, right above your pubic bone and see if you can take a big inhale. Exhale. Draw that belly in without any bulging or doming. See if you can just bring one knee up to a tabletop position.

So this is gonna activate the lower abdominals right where you have that incision, so if you don't feel ready for this one yet, just do the breathing without bringing the leg up, but if it's okay, bring your leg up, keeping that length through the waist and the ribs. Take a couple breaths. Check in. Make sure you're not arching that back and see if you can just slowly exhale, tap that toe down. It might not touch the floor and then inhale right back up and exhale. Engage the abs before you start to move the leg.

Nice and slow. Continue to press the bra strap into the mat just a little bit. Last one and see if you can hold it here. Inhaling, the leg is just nice and loose. It's all happening through the core.

Last breath and then go ahead and bring that leg down. Shake it out. Same thing. Other leg comes up. Try not to sink to one side. Stay nice and neutral. Shake out the leg. Work from the core.

Exhale. Tap the toe and inhale up. Try not to arch that back. Gathering up. Couple more, barely touching the floor, maybe just coming down partway, and then see if you can hold it there. Breathing into the ribs, exhale, drawing the belly in.

Last one and then bring that foot down. Shake your legs out. You're going to bring one knee up again to a tabletop position. Hold onto that knee and just do some nice little knee stirs. Let that leg bone just sink into the hip socket and do some nice knee stirs.

So your arms are stirring your leg and then go in the opposite direction, sending some breath right to your hip joint, and then go ahead and bring that foot down. Other side comes up. Again, you're holding onto that leg with your arms and then just stir the leg right into the hip socket, staying nice and stable through the pelvis, and then go ahead and reverse the direction, and go ahead and bring that leg down. Shake your legs out and remember to do that log roll, so rolling off to the side, using your upper body to bring yourself up to a seated position. Thank you for joining me and I hope you find some relief.

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