Most probably, you already know that staying active during pregnancy will provide you with many benefits for yourself and your baby. Unless it is not recommended by your doctor after consultation, a variety of exercises, including jogs and bodyweight strength training will be perfectly healthy for you. Particularly, yoga sequences are great, as it combines a perfect combination of strengthening and stretching. According to experts, this practice is a physical form of workout that will bring some awareness and mindfulness into how your body changes on a daily level, which means that it is useful when you are expecting.
With these things in mind, it can be very helpful to practice yoga while you are pregnant. As it prepares you for the upcoming hard labor during delivery, it can help relieve the most common pregnancy symptoms and discomforts. Here are prenatal yoga poses that you can perform:
Eka Pada Kapotasana
This hip-opening pose will be perfect for relieving the tension on your lower back during pregnancy. To perform it, start on all fours and then slide your right leg forward so your right knee will come to your right wrist, with your right flexed foot directed towards your left wrist. Ease your left leg down to the floor and then extend it behind you (not angled to the left), while keeping your left foot relaxed and left leg internally rotated. If you are feeling that this pose is uncomfortable, you can come down onto your forearms, connect your hands in prayer and then bow your forehead to touch your thumbs. If your belly does not allow you to do a forward bend, you can remain comfortably upright, while not putting excess pressure on your lower back. Repeat on your other side.
As you can see, hip-openers, such as the Agnistambhasana, are really great for alleviating back pain, as it helps with making space for your belly and opening your back. Also, they can help relieve tension in your gluteus muscle, as well as the muscles under it, such as the piriformis. To perform this pose, you should begin in a seated position, with your feet on the floor, your knees bent and your shoulders relaxed. Then, slide you right flexed foot under your left knee, so your right knee will rest on the floor. Stack your left shin on top of the right one, so your left foot will rest on your right knee, with your left knee resting on your right foot. Finally, rest your palms gently on your knee and foot or bring them together on a prayer position. To get a deeper stretch, you can hinge forward. Before you repeat on the other side, switch the placement of your legs.
Take note that any type of side bend can help with your cranky back, so you can choose your favorite Sukhasana variation, either with open or crossed legs. You can begin in an upright seated position that is comfortable for you, with your legs folded in a half-lotus pose or crossed. Allow your right hand to comfortably rest on the floor and then stretch your left arm straight up. Then, bend it to the right with a focus to rotate your upper torso and keep it open as you keep your eyes at your left hand. When bending to the side, you should lower onto your right forearm for support. To complete this sequence, repeat on your other side.
If you have been practicing yoga long before you became pregnant, you should have an idea how restorative pose can help you with your pregnancy. As you get bigger and your belly becoming heavier, this pose can take away the pressure and give you a feeling of relief. To begin, you should kneel on the floor, with your butt on your heels, the top of feet against the ground, your big toes touching, and your knees kept wider than hip-width apart. Then, bring your chest to the mat slowly, allowing your body to come between your legs. Finally, extend your arms overhead and touch your forehead to the mat. If you find this uncomfortable, you can lay your arms alongside your body with your palms facing up.
Like some of the poses on this list, the Upavistha Konasana will help you take some of the pressure off your lower back and will relieve you of your belly’s weight at a time. For a start, you can sit with your legs extended straight in front of you and then spread them wide like a straddle, but make sure you will not push yourself too hard to force them apart. Lie on the ground flat, leaning your chest toward it, and then place your forearms on the floor in front of you. This way, you will feel your hips stretching.
As your body produces the hormone relaxing in your pregnancy period, you will feel more flexible, but you still have to be careful not to move beyond your flexibility range. With this in mind, you can do this yoga squat to give you a great feeling unlike before. Sit with both your legs extended in front of you, and then one at a time, bend your knees and place your feet close to your seat about wider than hip-width. Put weight into your feet and then lift off from your seat to come into a low and wide squat, while keeping your back straight and bringing your hands together between your knees in prayer pose, with elbows pressed into your inner thighs.
While you should avoid major back bends though needing to stretch your abdomen more for your delivery, you can perform supported and small back bends to feel great. This pose gives the results that are more than just hip-openers. From a seated position that is comfortable for you, place one yoga block a few inches behind you on your lowest height to support your mid-back. Place another yoga block several inches beyond the one on the middle or the highest height to support your head and upper neck. Then, fold your legs into a butterfly position in a way that your feet will be touching and your knees falling comfortably out to the side. In a slow manner, lower yourself back to allow mid-back and upper neck/head to rest on blocks. Find your most comfortable position on this and then allow your arms to rest at your sides naturally.
Like other seated forward bends, this pose can take the pressure off your belly and provides you a great feeling. In this variation, you need not worry about pushing yourself too far into a deep back bend, where you can just move easily with your breath. You can begin on all fours and then inhale and look up, allowing your back to bend naturally without putting emphasis on your lower spine. As you breathe out, round your spine, tuck your rear and curl inward to look down towards your navel. Continue these sequences as you do your breathing.
Ardha Pincha Mayurasana
If you love doing the downward dog, then this pose can bring you even more openness to your shoulders and upper back, though it comes with a lot of tension. If this is uncomfortable for you, you can take this pose on a wall, where you can press your forearms against it and then walk your feet back until you can drop your head. You should start on all fours, tuck your toes and then lift your hips toward the ceiling, straightening your legs to come into a modification of the downward dog pose. With your arms and legs straight, you can slowly lower onto your forearms to adjust your stance accordingly. In this position, keep your hips elevated and maintain a neutral neck.
Another pose to relieve tension on your lower back, you can do this simple forward bend, with your feet a little wider than usual. To open your back, you can add a slight sway from left to right with your knees loose. To start, stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart, slightly bend your knees and level your hips. Then, bend forward at your waist and allow your head to drop towards the floor, while keeping your knees loose. Hold onto your elbows with both your hands, but do not worry about pushing yourself to reach the floor. After taking several deep breaths, switch your arm grip in a way that your opposite arm will cross on top.
When you are pregnant, remember that parts of your body will feel uncomfortable feelings or feel come pain that you did not feel before. You would notice that weird aches would pop up out of nowhere, not to mention that your growing belly is making it nearly impossible for you to find comfortable poses. Now, with these poses, you will be good to go! But most importantly, consult with your doctor before you start any new yoga program or workout regimen.
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