Prenatal Yoga: Popular Poses and Mommy-to-Be Modifications
Whether you’re new to yoga or have been practicing for years, participating in class when expecting a baby can sometimes be confusing, even intimidating. My advice: don’t worry, be patient, and keep reminding yourself that the reason you are there is for your and your baby’s health – that’s all that matters. Below are some typical poses you’ll experience in class, along with their helpful mommy-to-be modifications:
Popular Poses and Mommy to Be Modifications
Forward folds allow for a good body stretch, specifically in the hamstrings. They are also great in helping reset your mind. One variation is called a Standing Forward Fold (note: as your Buddha belly grows, you’ll need to separate your legs more than usual to make room for that extra space!)
Start in standing position and separate your legs more than hip distance apart. Exhale as you bend forward at the hips, lengthening the front of your torso and use one or two yoga blocks to bring the floor closer to your hands (you don’t want to put uncomfortable pressure on your belly). Blocks also help maintain good alignment as you move to a flat back position.
Supported Bridge Pose
Bridge is a wonderful pose to help stretch your chest and spine while strengthening your legs. Using a yoga block under your lower back will help provide support and relieve stress (ahhh) as your belly grows – hence ‘supported bridge’. To start, lay down on the mat, bend your knees and bring your feet to the floor. Your knees should be directly in line with your ankles and your feet parallel at hips distance apart. Have your arms at your sides and bring your heels in close enough to your butt that your fingertips can graze your heels. From there squeeze your butt and push through your heels to rise up. Place the yoga block under your lower back for support….and breath.
Tree pose is great ways to continue challenging you balance throughout pregnancy. To create your tree, start by standing up straight with legs together. Next, place one foot on the opposite ankle and bring your hands to heart center.
Focus on your breath and balance. Once comfortable with this pose you can ‘grow your tree’ by working your leg up towards the inside of your thigh and open your arms up and reach them high into the sky. It’s important to avoid pressing your foot into the inside of the knee as you grow your tree. Doing so can cause unnecessary injury.
Always consult your physician and OBGYN before beginning any exercise program. Every pregnancy and woman is different, so it is important to discuss your prenatal fitness plans with your doctor to ensure it is appropriate. Once receiving the green light from your physician, begin to move more mindfully through your pregnancy. Take the time to do your homework, learn about the benefits of prenatal yoga and how to get started, as well as the mommy to be modifications, even if you are a more seasoned practitioner. Enjoy participating in prenatal yoga, as it will allow you to relax your body, center your mind and most importantly, connect with your baby. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from your yoga teacher, who may help you better access these poses safely throughout your pregnancy.
About Nicole: As a busy mom raising two children in Boston, Nicole was inspired a few years ago to create a resource to help other parents with urban upbringing. Her background in education, writing and health and wellness has allowed her to pursue the things she loves, while spending her days with her little ones. Visit her blog: Boston Babies – Your Guide to an Urban Upbringing
IMPORTANT NOTE: Consult your doctor before starting any physical fitness program. Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of ViaCord, LLC or its parent company, PerkinElmer.