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5 Stretches for New Moms

4. Mermaid Stretch continued...

How to do it: Sit on the floor with your legs extended out in front of you. Bend your right knee and let it fall to the right, down to the floor, the sole of your right foot almost touching your left knee. Bend your left knee and tuck your left foot behind your butt. “If it’s too challenging to sit on the floor in this position, try propping a small pillow under your hips,” Ziel says.

Put your right hand on the floor behind you. Reach your left arm up and over your head, and press your hips up, squeezing your glutes as you lift up onto your knees.

Hold the stretch and breathe, relaxing your shoulders away from your ears. Lower your hips back down to the floor.

Finish the move with a side bend: Place your left hand on the floor, raise your right arm overhead, and stretch your body to the left, keeping your hips on the floor.

Repeat three times on each side.

5. Roll Downs

What they do: Release tension in your neck, back, and hamstrings.

How to do them: Stand tall, and reach your arms overhead with your biceps by your ears.

Bend forward from the hips, keeping your back straight as long as you can. Bend your knees slightly as your lean over.

When you can’t bend any lower without rounding your back, reach your arms behind you to stretch your chest.

Then bend forward, rounding your back and keeping a slight bend in the knees. Drop your arms toward your toes, letting them hang, with your head and neck relaxed.

Take a few deep breaths, and then slowly roll up one vertebra at a time. Your head should come up last.

“Scoop your belly in and up so your abs help bring you up,” Ziel says. Repeat three to five times.

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Reviewed on July 22, 2014

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