Pregnancy Yoga Pose of the Month
Legs Up The Wall – July
If you have been struggling with infertility for a while, then there is a good chance you are feeling stressed and anxious. This can then further hinder your ability to fall pregnant. And so the maddening cycle of infertility to begin. For those trapped in this isolating nightmare, the courage to step out and ask for help, may seem beyond you at times. So turning up to a class and asking the teacher to show you postures may be impossible.
In times of stress – for ANY person – taking yourself to a wall, with a pillow or cushion and an eye pillow, some soothing music, or a guided mediation is EXACTLY what your need to find peace and calm in the body and mind again.
You actually don’t need any props at all for this pose, so if you don’t have bolsters or cushions then just approach the wall without them! To get into this pose place one hip and buttock against the wall and then swing your legs up. Your legs need to be straight and the heels against the wall. Arms can be over head, or resting our the side – palms up. Or you can place hands on the side of the waist, allowing elbows to rest comfortably.
Set a timer for around 10mins. Then breathe gently and allow yourself to focus on the rise and fall of the breath and belly. Sometimes you will feel tingling in the feet and legs, but unless there is “true” pain, then breathe thru this for another 3 rounds of inhale/exhale and then check in and see how you feel again. If the discomfort is still there, then come out – you may be surprised to see that the sensation has moved away!
(Please note that if you ARE pregnant, you can do this pose until around 24 weeks…after that you may be too heavy or uncomfortable….if you get a sudden feeling of discomfort, nausea or difficulty breathing, then this pose is not for you until after bub is born).
Core Stability – June
The benefits of a regular GENTLE yoga practice cannot be overlooked, for total body flexibility, strength and balance. During pregnancy, the drop in testosterone, means that many mamas-to-be become a little more unstable, (note I did NOT say “unbalanced” hehehe). Taking a home practice three times per week just to stretch out, quiet the mind, and do a little core strength work, is a great way to stay in good shape mentally as well as physically.
Come to all fours, and make sure your hands are directly under your shoulders, and hips over knees. If your wrists hurt, then make a fist. Drop shoulders away from ears, and imagine sliding your shoulder blades down the spine slightly (basically make sure your shoulders aren’t bunched up around your ears!) Gently but firmly, press the tops of your feet into the mat (curls not curled under). Breathe here for 3 full rounds (in and out) making that contact with the floor, and sending your energy from shoulder into heel of hands. This should feel strong, and engaged.
Bring awareness to pelvic floor – lift up and squeeze – and then take 3 more full rounds of breath (try to count in for 4 and out for 5).
Now engage thru pelvic floor and extend right arm out straight, and extend left leg out straight. Flex the foot, and imagine sending your heel away from you – very strongly. Tighten the butt muscles too. Point the Left toes towards the floor. Keep hips as square to the floor as possible. Keep checking your shoulders are drop down and away from ears.
Breathe here, lengthening and reaching, for 3 full rounds of breathing. Repeat the other side.
Do this three times per week, and as you get stronger, aim for 10 full rounds of breath.
Garland Pose – May
This pose is best practiced from as early into the pregnancy as possible. If you have never attempted this pose and you are 28+ weeks, then we advise you leave it until baby is born.
Make sure you have a block or a stack of books to use until your legs and pelvic floor feel strong enough to support you.
Find a squatting position with your feet apart as wide as comfortable to lower you down. Aim to get your sit bones pointing towards the floor, with a small tilt under. Place a block or stack of books under the sit bones and place hands into prayer position. Firmly press elbows into the crease of the knees. Form resistance between knees and elbows. Drop your shoulders down away from the ears (imagine broadening across the collar bones.)
Hold for 6–8 breaths. Soften your face, and breathe gently.
If you are unsupported this becomes a strength and flexibility pose.
If you are supported this is a groin opening pose.
Pigeon Pose – April
“Hip Openers” are so important as your progress in your pregnancy. As you carry more weight as bubby grows you will start to feel tightness in the legs and buttock areas – poses like this one are a god-send! Sciatic-type pain can be relieved with this pose, as can stiffness in the lower back and hips. Try doing this pose daily for 5 days to see a real difference.
My rules: always go easy into and out of a posture. This is NOT a competition to see how bendy you can be, so remember to breathe!
Set a timer on your phone for 3mins – you want to stay in this posture for at least 2mins each side – but get to 3m (or more) if you can!
Grab a couple bed pillows or lounge cushions to prop you up if you can’t sit in this comfortably.
The idea is that you will get your back leg straight as possible, trying to tuck the knee cap under.
Square your hips as best you can, and if you need a pillow under the bent leg, tuck it under the bottom.
I like to use a lounge cushion in front of the bent leg in order to lean on with my elbows….mind the bump!
Use a fist, rather than a flat hand if you are staying upright (instead of leaning towards the floor).
Breathing gently but deeply is KEY! Without an even breath, there is no movement of the connective tissue.