The following three poses are perfectly suited for moms-to-be. Not only do they increase strength, dexterity and balance, they will also help you de-stress and relax, thanks to the built-in breathing techniques. Just remember to take it easy and only push yourself as far as is comfortable. The key is to listen to your body and baby while freeing your mind.
This pose is equally useful during both pregnancy and labor & delivery, as it strengthens your abdominal muscles as well as stretches and relaxes the lower back. Place a mat, folded towel or pillow below your knees for extra support.
Start on your hands and knees, ensuring that your hands are directly under your shoulders and knees right below your hips. Keep your head at a normal position, looking straight ahead. Spread your fingers wide and draw your belly in. Allowing your belly to dip towards the floor will add unwanted pressure to your lower back. As you inhale through your nose, tuck your pelvis under and round your back. Also tuck your chin towards your chest. Hold for the count of five then return to the starting position as you exhale slowly. Repeat this movement at a comfortable pace.
This sitting pose helps to open, tone and strengthen your hips and pelvis. Please remember that due to hormones released during pregnancy, your joints will be looser. So take it nice and easy with this pose and don’t push yourself to the point of discomfort.
Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. You may lean against a wall for added support if more comfortable. Inhale through your nose and as you slowly let out the breath, pull your heels towards your pelvis, letting your knees drop to the outside. Press the soles of your feet together as you grasp the big toe of each foot. Gently press your knees down towards the ground, but do not force the movement. You may place pillows below your knees for additional support. Remain in the position for as long as is comfortable.
This pose is an easy follow-up to the Tailor’s Pose. It continues to open the hips as well as the groin area. Use a pillow blanket or mat under your back if additional support is needed.
From Tailor’s Pose, lean back slowly using your elbows for support. Continue backwards until you are entirely reclined, you’re back on the floor. Keep your knees spread wide and the soles of your feet together as you stretch your arms out to your side, palms facing the ceiling. Remain in this pose for as long as is comfortable.
WARRIOR II POSE
This pose strengthens your legs, which will not only help you carry the extra baby weight, but will also come in useful during labor and delivery.
Begin with your feet together and your arms resting at your sides, palms facing in. Keep your back straight as you move your feet three to four foot-lengths apart. Point your right foot outward at a 45-degree angle. Keep your head forward as you raise your arms straight out to the sides until they’re parallel with the floor. Look over your right shoulder and exhale as you bend your right knee as far as you comfortably can. Keep your left leg straight and the left foot flat on the floor, still pointing forward. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds. Inhale deeply then exhale slowly as you return to the starting position with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Repeat on the left side.
SEATED SIDE STRETCH
This pose provides a deep stretch and will improve flexibility. Perform this pose while seated on a yoga mat or blanket, whichever is more comfortable.
Begin by sitting cross-legged on the yoga mat or blanket. Place one hand on the ground as you reach your other arm up and over you, leaning into your grounded hand. Inhale and exhale a few times, reaching a little farther with each breath, ensuring a deep stretch. Remember, only go as far as is comfortable. Once you feel nice and stretched, return to the beginning position and repeat on the other side. – Lindy Kirk