By Liz Bolton, RYT-200, RPYT-85
Giving birth is one of the most physically demanding acts a person can experience, and more and more research is showing how beneficial it is to train for it. Prenatal yoga is designed to help build strength and flexibility for labor and delivery, while also teaching useful breath and focus techniques for the mental challenges.
Linking your body’s movements with your breath helps you connect more deeply with your changing body and your baby, and it also helps activate your muscles as you move.
Of course, don’t begin any exercise regimen without consulting your obstetrician. But if you’d like to bring some of the advantages of a prenatal yoga class home, try some of these pregnancy yoga poses on your own.
Set up on all fours, with your knees underneath your hips and your hands underneath your shoulders. (If the ground is too hard, place a folded blanket below your knees for cushioning.)
As you inhale, extend your right leg back behind you, knee straight, and imagine that you are going to drive your heel through the wall behind you. At the same time, reach your left hand out in front of you, palm facing you as if you were going to shake someone’s hand.
Exhale, lower both your hand and your leg and switch sides. Inhale and extend the left leg and right arm. Exhale to lower and inhale to switch sides.
Move slowly so that you can keep your hips level as you move. That activates your deep abdominal muscles, which will help support your belly as it grows.
Standing at the top of your mat, bring your hands to your hips and step your left foot back behind you. Keep the heel lifted, toes pointed forward. Bend the front knee and lift your arms overhead. (If you’re off balance, stand next to a wall and place a hand on it to help steady you.)
As you inhale, bend the back knee and lower it toward the floor, drawing your arms along your sides as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. As you exhale, drive through the front foot and lift the back leg and arms up again. Repeat eight times on each leg.
Warrior II Flow
From the top of your mat, step your left foot back and turn it so the side of your foot is parallel to the back edge of the mat. Bend the front knee and extend your arms out over each leg. Look toward your front middle finger.
As you inhale straighten the front knee and lift both arms up to the sky. As you exhale, glide back down into Warrior II. Repeat eight times on each leg.
Stand with your feet about hip-width distance apart and hands together at heart center. Inhale to grow tall, and as you exhale, start to bend your knees as you reach your bottom back and down.
Come into a deep squat (if your heels lift, slide a rolled up blanket underneath them to help you balance). Hold this pose as long as you can, seeing if you can extend your time in it as you build strength in your legs.
When you’ve finished your at home prenatal yoga, take some time to let your practice settle in a relaxation pose. You can lay on your left side, with your upper arm or a pillow underneath your head and your left leg extended. Bend your right knee and rest it on a pillow or a couch cushion. Spend a few minutes here, thanking your body for working so hard to support you and baby on this journey.
Lansinoh strongly recommends that you consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. All content found on the Lansinoh.com website, including text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.