[Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Faye Rousso who blogs on the YOME yoga portal.]
Are you ready to relieve some of that pregnancy weight tension? How about strengthening the pelvic floor to get yourself ready for labor and delivery? Here are 7 different yoga poses that will keep you coming back to your mat for a full nine months, and possible thereafter.
Yoga Poses for the Floor – Supine
1. Balasana – Child’s pose – What better way to get ready for delivering a child than to rest in this posture. As your pregnancy weight increases and your belly gets larger, you can practice this posture with the knees spread wide to accommodate the little child growing inside you. Rest with your head on a folded blanket and take deep, calm Ujjayi breaths to instill a relaxation response and release tension in the pelvis, spine, and hips.
2. Viparita Karani – Legs Up the Wall is another great yoga pose to practice when you are pregnant and to keep thereafter. If your feet have swollen to an unrecognizable size and your legs feel tired and heavy it is likely due to the extra pressure on the sacrum and the extra weight your regular frame isn’t used to carrying around all day every day. By letting your legs rest up a wall, or propped up on pillows as high as you can comfortably get them, you allow blood that becomes stagnant in the legs and lower back to more easily recirculate. This can help with swollen feet and vericose veins alike.
3. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana or Ardha Bandha Sarvanghasana are milder versions of a backbend that you can practice while pregnant to help keep circulation going in the all important spinal column, the birthplace of every important action of the nervous system, without over-straining the spine, especially in later stages of pregnancy. You can practice this version of bridge pose with bolsters and pillows or blocks as well, placing one or two blocks under the tailbone and then allowing the feet to walk out from this support to a comfortable distance, stopping when you feel any discomfort or overstretching. It is a heavenly posture to practice with pillows in bed too. Get your significant other to help set you u in your own Sarvangasana cradle.
Yoga Poses for Balance and Energy
4. Chakravakasana – Cat Cow Stretch is another yummy pose to help relieve tension in the shoulders, upper, mid and low back as well as free a stagnant breath. You can practice as many of these as you want all the way through your entire pregnancy without any concern.
5. Ardha Chandrasana – Half Moon Pose honors the feminine energy that allows us to hold life within us. This balancing pose is great for expecting moms. It allows you to stretch the groin and hips while working on your balance and concentration. Take your time and if you want to, you can practice be leaning against a wall like spider woman, allowing the shoulders and hips to lean completely against that upright support.
6. Adho Mukha Savasana – Downward Facing Dog is one of yoga’s gifts to women suffering from lower back pain and sciatic nerve discomfort in the legs, often caused by later stages of pregnancy where the weight of the belly presses against the sacrum and supporting muscles and nerves in the pelvis. Downward facing dog will allow the sacrum to stretch deeply, and if your body weight feels too heavy to support in the full posture, you can always practice puppy pose instead using bolsters between your legs and supporting either side of your belly to help relieve the lower back without putting strain on the wrists.
An Essential Pose for Relaxation
7. Savasana – An all important and often overlooked pose is Corpse or relaxation posture. Calming the mind and integrating the energy that you have awakened while doing other yoga poses (asana) is key to feeling relaxed and energized, focused and happy. Practice this posture while focusing on your breath and relax every single muscle. If you like you can even add the practice of Yoga Nidra to this pose which is said to be worth over five hours of REM sleep with just a twenty- minute practice.
A concise presentation with more information on Prenatal Yoga can be found at this link.