5 Pre-Natal Yoga Poses to Keep You and Your Baby Healthy!
There is no doubt that maintaining a yoga practice while pregnant reaps tremendous benefits; both for you and your baby! Research suggests that a prenatal yoga practice will improve your sleep, reduce your stress and anxiety, and help increase your strength, flexibility, and endurance of muscles vital to childbirth. The pranayama aspect of the practice will prepare you for breathing during labor. Yoga helps us tune into our bodies on a deeper and more spiritual level, so beyond the physical benefits, you will likely feel more connected to your baby and the beautiful life growing inside of you.
Make sure the studio you’re attending caters to, or specializes in, prenatal yoga before taking classes! It is also a good idea to consult with your doctor before attending classes or doing activity. A good rule of thumb when pregnant is to maintain or modify your pre-pregnancy routine versus deciding to enhance or try something new.
Here is a list of 5 poses to incorporate into your regular asana practice or daily routine!
Child's Pose or Balasana
- Kneel on the floor, touch your big toes together, sit on your heels, and then separate your knees about as wide as it feels best to you.
- Exhale and gently reach your arms out in front of you for an extra stretch.
- Lengthen your tailbone and spine to give you an optimal stretch and your baby optimal room. If this is too intense, try laying your arms next to your torso, palms up, and release your shoulders towards the floor.
Wide Leg Down Dog
- Make an upside down “V” with your body: hands are shoulder distance width apart and legs are as far apart as feels best to you and your baby belly.
- Tuck your toes and straighten your legs and arms as you exhale.
- Slowly inch your feet towards the outer edges of your mat to come into wide legged downward dog.
- Press into the mat with your palms, spreading through all fingers and knuckles.
- Take 5 deep, long breaths finding equal length as you inhale and as you exhale.
Malasana (aka squat with hands at heart center)
- Stand in mountain with feet slightly turned out (legs a little past hip distance apart) and begin squatting.
- Bend your knees fully until your pelvis is resting on the back of your heels.
- Extend your spine straight up and keep your hands at heart center.
- Press your elbows into your inner legs to open the hips even further.
- Begin in mountain pose or tadasana with your hands at your side.
- Bend both knees slightly and begin balancing on your right foot.
- Lift your left leg and cross your left thigh over the right. You can do this against a wall for increased balance since balancing becomes very challenging without the use of your core muscles like in pre-pregnancy.
- Extend your arms straight in front of your body, drop your left arm under your right, bend your elbows, and then raise your forearms perpendicular to the floor.
- Wrap your arms and hands and press your palms together. Lift your elbows and reach your fingertips.
- Keep your shoulder blades pressing down your back, towards your waist.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Stand in tadasana and on an exhalation, step your feet 3.5-4 feet apart.
- Reach your arms up and then actively out to the sides: keep shoulder blades wide and arms down.
- Turn your right foot to the right and your left foot to the left 90 degrees.
- Align the heel with of your front foot with the arch of your back foot.
- With your back leg straight and your front leg bent, ensure your bent knee is directly on top of your front ankle. Gaze past your front finger tips. Think about lifting up and relax your shoulders away from your ears. Repeat on the other side.