There is nothing quite like the feeling you get after a wonderful prenatal yoga class. The are not easy to find, and are often on limited schedules (weekly only), but when you find that special instructor that can lead you through the transformation of sore-achy-pregnant-body to a free-moving-i-can-do-anything body, well, it’s absolutely incredible. The same is also true for a regular yoga class, a wonderful running route, or a motivational workout buddy as well.. but this is where I am today.
So, in that spirit, I wanted to start a series of posts on yoga moves (whether you are pregnant or not) that might just make you feel amazing too. A word of caution, I do think that these moves are best practiced from a place of experience and with the help of an instructor. If that is not available to you, try streaming a video online or reach out to someone that you know who is experienced with yoga. And for the most benefit you should do this move as part of a series, such as a sun salutation, which incorporates counter-moves to help balance you out. You can follow the series from Prevention.com by clicking on the photo below.
This is a hip stretch which is wonderful for bringing out an emotional blockage (more on that in a later post). It is especially nice for pregnant ladies as our hips move to make room for the baby. This is definitely something I needed back around week 20 and even earlier, around week 12, and certainly now at week 34, as each week (for me) represented a period of growth and movement that resulted in some whole body discomfort. Keep in mind that if you are pregnant you need to be very cautious not to over-extend this (or any other) stretch. You may find yourself more flexible than normal. If that is the case, it’s probably because your body is producing relaxin, a hormone which your body produces to help ease movement of the joints as it expands to make room for your passenger. For more on relaxin, and a few more exercises to help counteract stiff joints, visit discovery health.
It is very helpful to use blocks or a towel to support your forearms as you are leaning forward, particularly if you are tense (which is probably why you’re doing the move to begin with!) or, like me, you have a large bump of a belly which prevents you from comfortably leaning at that angle. I like to use them at the start of the move, then transition to forearms on the floor (when I can reach!). It helps you stay in the position correctly, which is the most important part of any exercise, and gives your body a chance to get comfortable in the stretch.
Keep the stretch limited to 30 – 60 seconds with a counter pose in between (such as table top) and then switch to the other side. You can always come back and do it again if you want to go deeper.
Hope that you get as much out of it as I did!