Yoga can be an ideal way to stay in shape during your pregnancy. Yoga helps to keep you limber, tones your muscles, and improves your balance and circulation.
Not only will it keep your physical body feeling good, it helps you learn to breathe deeply and relax, which will come in handy as you face the physical demands of labor, birth, and motherhood.
When you’re in pain or afraid, your body produces adrenalin and may produce less oxytocin, a hormone that makes labor progress. A regular yoga practice will help you fight the urge to tighten up when you feel pain, and instead teach you how to relax.
The benefits of yoga aren’t limited to your physical or mental well-being. Taking a prenatal yoga class is a great way to meet other pregnant women. It’s a special environment that allows you to bond, share, and create a sisterhood!
Here are a few poses that are recommended daily at any point during your pregnancy:
*Note you may want a blanket for under your sensitive knees
1) Cat and Cow undulations – From all fours, wrists under shoulders, knees under hips; inhale, lift your heart, gaze and sit bones up to the sky; exhale, round your spine as you curl around your babies home. Repeat this 10-30 times.
Helps to relive the back from aches and pains, to keep or rotate your baby into an optimal position, and to lengthen the side body as the baby grows and you feel like you are running out of space:)
2) Baddha Konasana ( Butterfly Pose) – Seated on a blanket, bring the soles of your feet together creating a diamond shape with your legs. Feel free to either sit up right or fold forward to your own comfort level.
Note: in your second and third trimester you may want to provide support for under your knees with blankets or yoga blocks to avoid over stretching the ligaments due to relaxin (a hormone produced by the ovaries during pregnancy that causes pelvic and cervical expansion and relaxation)
Helps to widen the pelvic outlet and prevent or treat sciatica.
3) Prenatal Squats: With a blanket folded supporting the arches of your feet, feet as wide as the belly needs room for; Inhale, arms reach out and up towards the sky; Exhale palms together down the front of your body as you squat down as low as feels comfortable. To rise up, put your palms on top of your thighs, and round and roll your spine back up to standing. The rounding of your spine is SO important, as it keeps the exercise out of the stomach muscles. 10-15 Squats recommended daily.
Widens the pelvic outlet, builds stamina, gently stretches the pelvic floor muscles and can shorten the birth canal which can lead to a shorter birth…yes please:)
4) Meditate and Affirm: Find a quiet comfortable place in your home or outside. Sit upon a pillow or chair with as little distraction as possible. Try to keep a tall strait spine. Focus upon your regular breathing. In the beginning, simply notice your inhales and exhales. Once you begin to feel yourself settling, you can choose to add an affirmation. For example, on the inhale, silently affirm ” I am calm” ; and on the exhale, silently affirm “I am relaxed.”
The choices are endless:
“My baby is healthy” “My baby is happy”
“I trust my body” “I trust my baby’s plan”
“I am open” “I am prepared”
You can change the affirmation day to day, per trimester, or to simply calm your nerves whenever needed. Just keep it positive and in the present tense.
Preparing for a new child can cause understandable stress and worry. Taking time to feed your mind with healthy affirmations can make a HUGE difference. Try it!
When and Where?
I am both a doula and a prenatal yoga teacher with a passion for empowerment! Please join me for prenatal yoga classes that will teach you postures and techniques for a healthy happy birth.
The Green Yogi ~ Manhattan Beach
- Sundays 11:00am