I’ve loved yoga since the day I discovered it. I love the way I feel when do it, and especially the way I feel afterwards. A good yoga practice makes me feel open, spacious, bouncy, flexible, strong, pain-free (or at least in much less pain), and calm. And at no time has yoga more been my friend than during pregnancy.
Yoga has helped my energy, strength and flexibility so much. When you can no longer do basic things (like pick things up or put on shoes) without modifying how you do them, keeping up a yoga practice gives your body a bank account of other default postures to draw from, without which I’d have had to ask for a lot more help.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or a pro, but these poses have helped me immensely. I also had a yoga practice before pregnancy. Not all poses would be appropriate for all pregnancies.
All postures help with 3 really important things:
- Daily energy, strength and flexibility
- Baby positioning
- Strenghthens and stretches muscles used during labor (that you might not typically use)
Here are some of my favorite poses.
A classic and basic. Warrior II. It begins to warm up your hip flexors for the other poses. My warrior II is better now than it was before pregnancy.
Standing Half Moon
Standing half moon for picking things up. I really do pick things up this way.
Standing Figure 4 or Standing Pigeon
A standing figure 4 for putting my socks on. As long as I practice this daily, I can put my own socks on. :)
Alternate position for picking things up is yogi squat. (Really helps encourage the baby into the right position, too).
And with a side stretch:
Low Lunge Variation
And one of my favorites for various purposes, opening up the low back, the psoas muscle (great for lowering risk of emergency C-section I hear), and the hips – the low lunge variation. Start this one on your hands instead of elbows. Work gently into your elbows over time.
Horse, plie, or goddess squat, whatever you want to call it.
With a side stretch variation. Side stretches feel so good during pregnancy.
3 legged downward dog.
This one will fire up your muscles and strengthen your core.
3 legged Down Dog with Open Hip
This next one is one of my absolute favorites, especially when you’re experiencing that sore, tight band of muscles around your low back that are exhausted from holding up your baby. This yoga pose stretches all the way from your shoulder to your hip. You’ll want to start in down dog, transition to one legged dog, and lastly of all bend your knee and open your hip. In pregnancy, you can open up your side as much as you want to feel that therapeutic stretch all the way up your back (before prenatal yoga, instructors will usually tell you to square your shoulders because they are focusing on different muscles).
Just doing the poses for this photo shoot got my heart rate up and I worked up quite a sweat, even though it was a short and sweet practice.
Cooling down, focusing, prayer, feeling gratefulness for having made it to 39 weeks, for my and my baby’s health.