5 Pregnancy yoga postures to try at home
Yoga is one safe and effective way to relieve the stresses and strains of pregnancy. Pregnancy yoga helps to settle the mind and prepare the body for birth through a range of breathing techniques, meditiation and different positions.
Here are 5 easy to try yoga postures to do at home. Remember that unless you are an experienced yoga practitioner, you should not undertake yoga until 14-16 weeks gestation.
I highly recommend if you are completely new to yoga, then you should join a special prenatal yoga class.
- Cat Curls
- Childs pose (Balasana)
- Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
- Modified Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukkha Svanasana)
This position helps relieve lower back pain and to release the length of the spine, a common problem during pregnancy. Get down on your hands and knees with hands placed directly under shoulders and knees under the hips. Inhale and lift your heart, stretch back through your tail and concave your spine. Exhale and roll your spine, lowering the head, pressing through the hands back to straight back. Cat Curls in pregnancy differ from your normal cat curl as we don’t curl the abdomen towards the floor, after curling up we simply return to flat back. Repeat following your breath – Inhale as your curl the spine up and exhale back to flat back.
From any kneeling position, sit your tail back toward your heels. Sit back as far as is comfortable and rest your head toward the mat. Take your knees apart to accommodate your bump. You can stack your fists and rest your forehead there or use a block if you can’t quite get down. Otherwise, you can stretch your arms out long in front of you and lower your head all the way to the mat. Avoid if suffering from sciatica.
Baddha Konasana is a classic pregnancy yoga posture and is excellent for helping to open up the hips and pelvis in preparation for birth. This is a posture that be practised at night while reading a book or watching TV and is especially important for the later stages of pregnancy. Sit on your mat with the soles of the feet together. Bring the heels as close to the groin as possible and pull the shoulder back and down away from the ears to straighten the spine. Hold the feet with the hands and (with a straight spine) begin to gently bend forwards from the hips – only as much as is comfortable – please do not squish your baby! Remember to breathe in and out through the nose.
This can be done with a chair (third trimester) or without. Using a chair, anchor the chair onto your mat or against the wall. Lean over and press your palms into the seat of the chair. Walk the feet back away from the chair, the belly will be parallel to the floor, as if the baby was lying in a hammock. Feel the stretch from your heels up your calves, through the hamstrings and then all along the spine. Only hold any inversion for 5 seconds during pregnancy and if you feel dizzy at all, come back down onto the mat and into child pose for a rest.
Squats are fantastic for building strength and stamina during pregnancy and in preparation for birth. Many women like to squat during labour and birth. As you get bigger in pregnancy, use props such as blocks or a pile of books to rest your bottom on. Focus on relaxing and letting your breath drop deeply into your belly. Stand facing the back of a chair with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed outward. Squat toward the floor as though you were going to sit down in a chair. Contract your abdominal muscles, lift your chest, and relax your shoulders. Most of your weight should be toward your heels. You can do this against the wall for support. Avoid wide legged postures if suffering from pelvic girdle pain.
Photography: Lululemon Athletica @Flickr