Yoga poses for pregnant moms
Yoga has a lot of benefits. It helps expecting mothers to breathe and relax. It also calms the mind and body. It aids in improving sleep and reduces lower back pain, nausea, headaches among others. Depending on the pose, it can be done throughout the pregnancy and after birth.
In performing any exercise, always listen to your body. Stop if you feel any discomfort. Talk to a yoga instructor about exercises that are safe and consult with your doctor before engaging in strenuous physical activity.
Here are some of the poses that are generally safe during pregnancy:
Chair pose is a challenging leg and back strengthening pose. As its name indicates, the position of the practitioner is like that of sitting in a chair. In early pregnancy this pose is excellent for strengthening the legs in preparation for the extra weight they will soon need to carry. As pregnancy progresses, the hormone relaxin will loosen your ligaments and make balance more challenging. Use caution in later pregnancy and see the modifications below for safety tips.
The cat/cow stretches are perfect for warming up the body and creating length and mobility in the spine. The poses can be used on their own to alleviate back strain or pain, as well as in preparation for a yoga posture (asana) practice.
Downward facing dog is frequently used in a yoga class as a resting or transitional pose in which to hold and breathe. It strengthens the arms back and shoulders, lengthens the spine and stretches the backs of the legs. The pose is challenging, however, and requires a lot of strength. Since the heart is below the belly in this pose, it is technically an inversion, which means it is only recommended for pregnant women for short periods of time. In an inversion, circulation moves away from the uterus, which can be dangerous for the baby for prolonged periods of time.
This version of cobbler’s pose is different from its restorative counterpart as it is done from a seated, not reclined, position. While both versions of the pose are fabulous hip openers, the seated version is an active (as opposed to passive) pose that requires the muscles to do a bit of strengthening work in addition to more intense stretching in the hips and back. The pose can also be a nice chest opener and spine lengthener. Try incorporating cobbler’s pose as a cool down from standing poses, towards the latter half of your yoga practice.
Final resting pose (corpse pose) is the ultimate relaxation pose – lying flat on your back, with or without props, to ensure maximum comfort. This pose is generally taken at the end of a yoga class, as it provides a few moments to let all of the work done throughout the class settle into your body. After a challenging yoga practice, relaxation usually comes easily and will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to return to your day.
Avoid these poses: backbends, balancing poses on one leg (unless supported by wall or chair), camel, upward bow, handstands and headstands.