Prenatal Yoga is a beautiful way to prepare yourself for the arrival of your new little love.
There are seemingly endless benefits to yoga and it is particular helpful during pregnancy to keep us calm, centred and focused on what is important during this precious time. It can help you learn how to breath, and in particular how to breath in times of stress which helps you prepare for the birthing process.
Here are some simple breathing exercises and postures you can practice at home in the morning or before bed.
Yoga during pregnancy is arguably essential, I mean I don't know what I would have done without it! If you are not already a yogi, it can dramatically improve you digestion, circulation and stress levels which we all know are a challenge for the body during pregnancy. If you have morning sickness, a few seated breathing exercises might be all you need to start off, honor your body and take it easy during the first trimester. Then in the second trimester when your energy level returns consider practicing the following mini-series at home.
Prenatal Yoga Mini-Series
1. Standing Mountain Pose
Feet hip-distant a part, simply standing tall and focusing on grounding all four corners of each foot into the ground. While you are softening and grounding down on the exhale, lengthen and soften up and out of the pelvis allowing the space in the low back. Breath 5-10 breaths.
2. Warrior II Pose
Separate your feet a meter or so a part, turn one foot out to 90 degrees and allow the back foot to slightly turn in. Bend you knee over the out-turned foot until it is in line with the ankle. You want to draw your knee in line with your middle toes, or line up the knee over the ankle. Push into your feet to strengthen the legs and buttocks as you engage the abdominals and open the chest while extending the arms out to the side, lengthening out through your fingertips. Breath 5-10 breaths and switch sides.
3. "Mama Bear Hip Rolls"
Get onto all fours and gently move your hips in a circular motion. You could do it in the shape of infinity or an 8 back and forth or you could focus on one side and then circles on the other side. Experiment with the movement, there is no right or wrong, only what feels good to you and your body. Allow your body to sway back and forth, back in forth while breathing as long as it feels good.
4. Seated Bound-Angle Pose
Sit with the soles of your feet touching each other. Gentle breathe as you push your heels into one another and work to soften the inner lines of your legs and sit up taller and taller as you breath 5-10 times. You can experiment with your hands and arms finding what works for you. You could place your hands together, on your belly, or hold your feet.
5. Happy Baby Pose
Lie down on your back, bend your knees into the body and start by rolling gently side-to-side to give yourself a little self-back massage. You can experiment with your arms at your side, or stretch your arms overhead to invite more stability as you move your hips in circles or side-to side. After a while you could reach for your heels, align your feet over your ankles and gently pull your heels down towards the floor. At the same time release the hip-flexors and coxis towards the earth. You may wish to float side to side or stay still while you breath.