Prenatal Yoga: 4 Poses to Make You Feel Fantastic
A yoga practice weaves together the mind, body, and breath. When we are able to weave the baby growing within us into the mix, our yoga practice takes on new depth and meaning. Try these four poses when you have even 10 minutes to spare. Dim your lights. Put on music that makes you feel mellow and good. Find some pillows or blocks, your yoga mat or even just a soft rug, and weâ€™ll begin. Note, though these are gentle: Before doing any physical activity, especially when youâ€™re pregnant, check with your health care provider first.Â
Sukhasana, easy cross-legged pose: Â Sitting with crossed legs on a pillow, blanket, or yoga block, high enough up that sitting feels easy, bring your hands to rest on your belly. Breathe into your palms, and remind yourself that your baby is just a few inches away, curled up and perhaps in sukhasana just like you! Inhale and feel your belly fill your hands. Exhale and imagine you are hugging your baby, gently squeezing him with your belly. You are taking your little one for a ride, rocking her to sleep.
Cat and Cow poses:Â Move onto your hands and your knees. If youâ€™re in any discomfort from your growing bellyâ€™s pressure on your pelvis, changing where the baby rests should feel like a huge relief. Rock back and forth on your knees a bit, just getting the feeling of this new and freeing way to hold your baby. From here, inhale and Â lift your chest and hips, arching your back and letting your belly move closer to the floor. As you exhale, round your back and hug your baby in toward your spine, like a halloween cat. Using your breath, move between cow (arched back) and cat (rounded back). There is really no right and wrong in doing cat and cow, as long as they feel good to you, you are helping both yourself and your little one.
Arm lift on hands and knees: Staying on your hands and knees, bring your spine back to a neutral place and reach your right arm forward so that the upper arm is right next to your ear with your thumb pointing up.Â Place your gazeÂ on the floor a few feet in front of you. Try to take 10 breaths here, or as many as youâ€™re comfortable doing. Notice how your belly lifts in and up to support you. Try to keep your body very even, as if both hands were still supporting you. Switch and do the left side, and then switch back if youâ€™re up for it. This asana is the absolute best way to safely strengthen your belly in pregnancy.
Supported squat: If you have yoga blocks handy, sit on one or or even two. If you donâ€™t have blocks, pile up as many pillows or folded blankets as you need and sit on them, knees wide and pointing up toward the sky, and your feet as wide as your knees or even more so. Feel the belly round and floating in between your knees. If itâ€™s comfortable, take your hands to prayer pose with your elbows inside your knees, and breathe. Feel yourself as a fertility goddess and notice your symmetry in this pose. This is also a perfect place to try Kegel exercises, lifting the deep muscles inside your vagina in and up, and then releasing them both slowly and quickly.
To bring your mini class full circle, make your way back to sukhasana. Take a moment to notice how you feel. Thank your baby for inspiring you to take this time, and yourself for doing it!