6 Yoga Poses Perfect for Pregnancy

Shanghai Living

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Shanghai Yoga Teacher

Ujjiay Breathing

Works to: bring nourishment and oxygen to the entire body, promoting circulation and connection between baby and mother.

  • Sit in a comfortable “diamond” position with the soles of the feet facing each other. Then slowly lie down on your back.
  • Place both hands on the belly, slowly begin to take deep breaths into the nostrils and exhale slowly via the nostrils as well as the back of the throat. Stay in this position for five breaths.

Pigeon Pose

Works to: open up your hips to relieve pregnancy symptoms of “heavy legs” and relieve some discomfort and pressure on the lower back, especially the lumbar area.

  • Sit on the ground and bring your right leg in front. Place a yoga block, or a rolled up towel, under your right buttock to help square your hips.
  • Bend your right leg in an almost 90 degree angle with the right knee and right foot aligned. The back leg should be straight with the kneecap facing downward to the floor.
  • Place both hands in line with your hips. Inhale deeply into your chest and length your entire spine, and allow the exhale breath to deepen and relax the arms and shoulders. Hold for five breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Cat Stretch

Works to: open and warm up the entire spinal cord, as well as the brain stem. It helps to lengthen and elongate the muscles along the spine to promote circulation and blood flow through the entire body.

  • Come onto all fours and align the knees with your hips and your hands / wrists with the upper shoulders as shown.
  • Inhale and slowly lift your head, chin and eyes up toward the ceiling. Then exhale deeply and fully, rounding your back and the entire spine—try to look toward your belly button. You should feel the stretch in your shoulders and upper back muscles. Repeat 8-10 times.

Goddess Pose

Works to: strengthen quadriceps, gluteus maximus and adductors, stabilize the Pelvic Girdle and tone Pelvic Floor, an important area to help pregnant women reduce back pain.

  • Keep your feet wider than hip width apart, and point toes out. Inhale and lengthen your spine. Exhale and bend your knees, make sure they’re directly over your ankles and not rolling inward or in front of your toes.
  • Bring the palms of your hands in front of your chest. Draw your front ribs toward your spine to avoid overarching your lower back. Don’t tuck your pelvis either, which can flatten your lower back. Aim for a soft, gentle curve in the lower spine. Hold 1-2 minutes.

Warrior II

Works to: build strength in the legs to support the weight gain that comes along with pregnancy.

  • Take a wide step forward with your right leg and bend your knee 90 degrees. Keep your left leg straight behind you with your foot still on the ground and slightly turned out.
  • Lift both of your arms up to shoulder level. Release your shoulders away from your ears and soften all the muscles in your face. Hold for five breaths. Repeat on the other side.

One-sided Squat

Works to: gently open the hips. If you feel compression in your hip joint or discomfort in your pubic bone, keep hips lifted and don’t go as deep into the pose

  • Start on your hands and knees. Gently draw your belly back and step your right foot to the outside of your right hand. Walk your hands to the left, pivot on your left knee and move left foot under your buttock.
  • Widen your sit bones and lower your hips but don’t tuck your pelvis; go only as far down as you can while you keep your sitting bones wide to open your hips.
  • With your legs in place, press your fingertips into the floor. If you want to go deeper into the pose, bring your forearms down to the floor. Hold for 1-3 minutes. Repeat on other side.

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