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Diastasis Recti Recovery: 10 Yoga Poses + Tips to Help New Moms Heal

Michelle Stanger
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Did your newest little miracle leave you with diastasis recti? Are you unsure if you even have this condition? No worries, you’re not alone. Many of moms never even heard of diastasis recti until they were pregnant. But if you are aware of it – and you’re wondering if anything can be done to aid diastasis recti recovery – the answer is yes.
 

What is Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis recti occurs when your abdominal wall (specifically the linea alba) begins to separate due to your growing baby bump. This ab separation is actually common during pregnancies but some women may experience more severe separation in their abdominal wall. This severe ab separation leaves the core weaker and can actually cause discomfort.
 
Want to learn more about Diastasis Recti or wondering if you have it? Read this: Diastasis Recti – How to Avoid Ab Separation and How to Heal (Moms)
 
Note: This article and all included information is not intended as medical advice and does not treat or diagnose. Please consult your doctor for any health-related questions or concerns. Also, please find general practices and exercises that you may want to avoid if you have diastasis recti.
 

Here are 10 practices or poses that may aid diastasis recti recovery:

 

1. Reclined or Seated Core Contractions

These are subtle movements to strengthen the deep core muscles in your body. The simple contraction of your core and drawing the belly inward is a perfect gentle start to strengthening your core and start the journey to diastasis recti recovery.
 
reclined-core-contractions
 
Let’s try it:

  • Begin in a seated position (on your yoga mat or in a chair) or reclined
  • Place your hands on your belly
  • Take a deep inhale and exhale
  • After your exhale draw your belly in (bringing your belly button to your spine)
  • Hold here but continue to breathe
  • Gently release when needed and take a few soft breaths
  • Repeat as many times and as often as you like

 
 

2. Plank with a Wall Assist

As mentioned above, your regular Plank Pose should be avoided when in diastasis recti recovery. Plank Pose is a great pose to not only strengthen the core, but the entire body, including your back. Luckily, we can modify Plank Pose by taking it to the wall and keeping it upright.
 
plank-wall-assist
 
Let’s try it:

  • Begin standing at the wall with your palms flat on the wall, your arms straight, and your shoulders stacked over your hips
  • Engage your core by bringing your navel closer to your spine
  • Take one step back with both feet to feel your whole body engage
  • Stay here and focus on keeping the core active
  • If you feel strong in your core, you may want to add a few “push-ups”
  • Remember to keep your elbows in to resemble Chaturanga Dandasana and your core active
  • Don’t forget to breathe
  • Practice your Plank Pose at the wall or “push up” for a few breaths, then repeat as desired

 
 

3. Squats with a Wall Assist

Squats not only strengthen your legs and your glutes, but your core as well. Keeping your awareness on your core during your squat repetitions can be difficult at first, especially during diastasis recti recovery. Taking your squats to the wall is another great modification to slowly build awareness and strength.
 
squat-wall-assist
 
Let’s try it:

  • Begin standing with your back and your heels against the wall
  • Feel free to extend your arms forward (no higher than your shoulders) to help keep you balanced
  • Exhale and slowly lower your hips toward the ground but keep your back on the wall
  • As you lower, walk your feet forward so your knees eventually stack on your ankles
  • Pause here and gently activate your core
  • On your next inhale, engage your legs, core and glutes to press up to standing
  • Repeat 5-10 times
  • If you have an exercise ball, place the ball behind your back to help you easily squat with the wall

 
 

4. Supine Toe Taps

If you are yearning to do more “traditional” core work, then please be sure to take supine (on your back) variations to refrain from causing more damage to your diastasis recti. An important tip to remember is to never make the movement resemble a crunch or sit-up, so keep your shoulders and head on the ground.
 
toe-taps
 
Let’s try it:

  • Begin reclined on your yoga mat with your knees bent and feet on the ground
  • Place your hands on your hips to help you become aware if they are moving too much
  • Inhale and bring your right knee toward your chest, tapping your right toe to your left knee
  • Pause here for a few breaths while your core is activated (navel toward spine)
  • When you’re ready to release, exhale and release the right foot to the ground
  • Repeat on the left side
  • Practice 3-5 times on each side

 

 

5. Supine Alternate Leg Raises

If you feel more connected to activating your lower abdominals in the supine toe taps, then you can add a little bit more intensity with supine alternate leg raises. This movement invites the same awareness and activation of the core to strengthen your deep core muscles, but with a little more intensity. Please skip this exercise if you do not feel ready yet.
 
alternate-leg-raises
 
Let’s try it:

  • Begin reclined on your yoga mat with both legs extended
  • Place your palms face down on the mat with your thumbs under your hips (this is known as an assist)
  • When you are ready, activate your core by pressing your navel toward your spine and try to connect your lower back to the mat
  • Engage the right leg and slowly raise it a couple inches off the mat, but do not let your low back lift
  • If you feel your low back come off the mat, then pause and slowly bring your leg back to the mat
  • Repeat on the opposite side and continue alternating leg raises moving slowly and with the breath

 
 

6. Bridge Pose with Hip Pulses

Bridge Pose is a great pose to add to your road to diastasis recti recovery because it not only strengthens your core, but your back as well. When we add the controlled hip pulses to Bridge Pose we can slowly build more strength in the core.
 
bridge-hip-pulse
 
Let’s try it:

  • Begin reclined on your yoga mat with your knees bent and your feet on the mat
  • Place your hands by your hips with your palms facing down
  • Press your feet into the mat, activate your legs and lift your hips
  • Be sure you are using your legs and not just your glutes when your hips are lifted
  • Pause in Bridge Pose for a few breaths
  • Keep pressing your palms into the mat and then slowly lower your hips toward the mat
  • Then activate your core and back to lift the hips back toward knee height
  • Continue the hip pulses slowly and be sure to continue breathing
  • Pulse the hips 5-10 times, then slowly lower to your back

 
 

7. Core Spirals

One of my favorite ways to strengthen the core without doing a single sit up is core spiraling. I practice this technique during Buti Yoga and find it super effective in strengthening your transverse abdominals, which wrap around your entire midsection. Strengthening these deep core muscles will help you recover from ab separation and aid diastasis recti recovery.
 

 
Let’s try it:

  • Begin seated on your mat in half lotus or Easy Seat Pose
  • Bring one hand to your belly and one hand to your lower back
  • Engage your core and slowly begin to spiral clockwise
  • Use your hands as a reminder to keep your spirals as tight as possible
  • Focus on pulling the navel toward the spine and activating your obliques with each spiral
  • Continue spiraling clockwise for 30 seconds, then spiral counterclockwise for another 30 seconds

 
 

8. Pelvic Tilt

Pelvic tilts are a safe and easy way to engage your deep core muscles and strengthen your back. Plus, they can be done any time you are seated. It is important to practice pelvic tilts slowly to give yourself the opportunity to also focus on strengthening your pelvic floor as well.
 

 
Let’s try it:

  • Begin seated in a chair and bring your attention to your low belly and low back
  • On your exhale, use your core to press your low back into your chair (so your low back touches the chair)
  • Keep your core engaged as you continue to tilt your pelvis and press your low back into the chair
  • Hold for a few breaths then repeat as often as you like

 
 

9. Nutrition and Self-Care

Proper nutrition and self-care plays an important role in helping you strengthen your abdominal wall. Your body needs the proper nutrients to help stimulate new growth in your connective tissue and help to speed up your diastasis recti recovery. Staying hydrated, reducing toxins in your body, maintaining healthy inflammation, and watching your sugar intake will all help your connective tissue become stronger faster.
 
Need inspiration how to eat healthy and honor your body? Read this: 6 Ways to Eat Healthy and Honor Your Body with Yogic Principles.
 
Another important part of your nutrition is your collagen intake. Collagen helps heal the elasticity of your connective tissues that were stretched during pregnancy. Focus on foods that are high in Vitamin C, Zinc and Vitamin E. Stay away from processed food, caffeine, and alcohol since they can slow the healing process.
 

Providing your body with the right tools to heal itself internally can be the key to your recovery.

 

10. Meditation

Not only is focusing on proper nutrition important to aid diastasis recti recovery, but focusing on mindfulness can make a huge difference too. Stress plays a large part in many of our illnesses – so stress is no friend to our body when we are trying to heal. Practicing meditation or pranayama can really help calm your mind, relieve stress and allow your body to rest and restore.
 
Want to learn how to cultivate mindfulness? Read this: Guided Pranayama and Mindfulness Meditation for a Calm and Peaceful Mind to help you jumpstart your stress-free mind.
 
 
If your pregnancy left you with diastasis recti it may be a longer road to that pre-baby body then you had originally planned. But keeping a positive mindset and knowing that you have the ability to help your body recover is important.
 
Stay mindful of your movements and be sure to practice these exercises slowly and with control. You can also use this time in your life to build a deeper connection to your mind and body.
 

This article has been read 10K+ times. Bada bing!

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Michelle Stanger

Michelle is living the yoga mom life and loving every second. She believes all beings deserve joy, peace and love and aims to be an example. Forever grateful for her yoga practice, she is honored to be able to share as a yoga teacher and Editor here at YogiApproved.com.

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