It’s no secret that many New York women credit prenatal yoga with reducing their pregnancy-related anxiety, relieving their aching backs and hips, and even teaching them how to breathe and engage their abs during labor.
However, the magic power of yoga doesn’t end once you find yourself holding your tightly-swaddled bundle. In fact, savvy New Yorkers are turning to postnatal yoga in increasing numbers as they discover its ability to help women recover from the stresses of pregnancy and delivery, rebuild their core strength, and hold on to their mental health during the sometimes-challenging newborn days.
While you should always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise after your little one is born – and many encourage women to wait 6 weeks before doing so – there is a large and growing body of research which supports the benefits of exercise for women who have just given birth. With its focus on strengthening the pelvic floor muscles (which, frankly, takes a beating during pregnancy), engaging your core, and creating a sense of community among the women who participate, postnatal yoga is an ideal activity for the weeks and months following your delivery.
New Yorkers are fortunate to have multiple options when it comes to almost anything, and postnatal yoga is no exception. Here are a few of our favorite places to ease back onto the mat, center yourself, and reconnect with other new moms around the city.
Prenatal Yoga Center
Despite its name, the Upper West Side’s Prenatal Yoga Center is a warm and inclusive yoga home for expectant and new moms. With a strong focus on the community-building aspect of yoga, PYC teachers begin each class with “circle time”, allowing women to share their highs and lows of the week. PYC’s Postnatal Yoga class (babies welcome!) focuses on helping women strengthen their abdominal, back, and pelvic muscle while helping to release tension in the shoulders and neck caused by carrying a baby and hunching over while nursing.
Many clients also take advantage of the PYC’s other offerings which include new mom support groups and classes like Music for Babies and Infant Massage. One more tidbit: the studio owner maintains a blog which is a great resource for new and expecting moms alike, especially now that she’s pregnant with #2! prenatalyogacenter.com
Much of Yogi Beans’ classes are geared towards kids but this Upper East Side studio also offers some great classes for new moms. Some classes include babysitting services, which is very unusual among New York City studios, and the unique backgrounds of Yogi Beans’ founders make it a truly special place for you and your “little bean”.
Yogi Beans classes include Postnatal Yoga, for moms and their babies ages 6 weeks – crawling, Bye Bye Bump (a Vinyasa flow class which includes in-studio babysitting for mobile babies), and Core Yoga, which focuses on – obviously – regaining core strength post-baby. Check out Yogi Beans’ blog for a glimpse of some of the activities you might see in a postnatal class. yogibeans.com
Tribeca’s Kula Yoga has a reputation for having found the sweet spot in yoga, welcoming advanced dancer-types and infrequent beginners alike and managing to make all feel equally welcome in the studio’s funky downtown space.
Kula’s Kulanatal class is no different as it provides pre- and post-natal women with a warm and supportive community in which they can stretch their bodies and relax their minds. Kulanatal helps women tackle the discomforts common to pregnancy and the post-natal season while helping them work up a good sweat in the process. kulayoga.com
Karma Kids Yoga
If there’s one thing we love almost as much as yoga, it’s pilates. But not every pilates class is geared for postpartum. Luckily we’ve found a great one at Karma Kids -- not only can you take Postnatal Pilates on your own, but you can also bring your new addition along to the studio’s Mom & Baby Pilates class.
Karma Kids also has Postnatal Yoga and Mom & Baby Yoga classes, but the biggest draw for new moms at Karma Kids’ Peace-In studio on 14th Street is the warm and welcoming community. The studio partners with Union Square Moms for playgroups and meetups, and hosts events like storytime and baby-wearing clinics. Can’t make it in? Starting next week, Karma will offer pre- and post-natal yoga and pilates classes online for purchase! karmakidsyoga.com