Pregnant yoga

Yoga is an excellent choice for a low impact exercise that can be done during pregnancy. It provides several benefits, both physical and mental. Prenatal yoga improves flexibility and strengthens muscles. Yoga is also a great was to calm the mind and relax your body to prepare for your baby’s arrival.

Before beginning any type of exercise program during pregnancy, it’s best to consult with your healthcare professional. The following yoga poses help provide natural relief for many of the aches and pains associated with pregnancy, and can help diminish both swelling and joint inflammation.

Twisted Pose

This pose gently massages the internal organs with stretching through the spine, legs, and neck.

  1. Sit up straight with your legs stretched out in front of you.
  2. Inhale as you raise your arms to shoulder height, keeping your palms facing down.
  3. Exhale as you twist your body at the waist toward your right. Move your head and hands simultaneously to the right, and swing your arms back as much as possible. Remember to keep your legs straight.
  4. Inhale and release the twist, returning to the original position. Then repeat on other side.

Chair Pose

This pose strengthens the thigh and pelvic muscles.

  1. Stand up straight with your feet about 12” apart, and parallel to each other.
  2. Inhale as you raise your heels and lift arms at shoulder level, while keeping your palms facing down.
  3. Exhale as you lower into a squat pose while remaining on your toes. Beginners may keep their full foot on the floor, and try to work up to the pose with your heels off the floor.

Bridge Pose

This pose strengthens the spine, opens the chest, improves spinal flexibility, and also stimulates the thyroid.

  1. Lie on your back and bend your knees, placing the soles of your feel flat on the floor and in close to your buttocks.
  2. Slowly lift your hips up towards the ceiling, making sure your weight is supported by your shoulders rather than your neck.
  3. Interlace the fingers behind your back and straighten you arms, pressing them down toward your feet.
  4. Hold this poses for a few deep breaths, the slowly roll one shoulder under and then the other.
  5. Release the hands and slowly bring your upper, middle, and then lower back down to the floor.

Cobbler’s Pose

This seated pose opens up the hips and pelvic area.

  1. Sitting on the floor with your back straight, bend your knees as your bring the soles of the feet together. Allow your knees fall out to either side.
  2. Extend through the spine as you press the outer edges of your feet together and lower your knees toward the floor.
  3. After a few deep breaths, slowly relax your legs back up, then repeat.

Warrior II

The Warrior II pose strengthen the legs and arms, while opening your chest and shoulders.

  1. Step your right foot out forward keeping your right toes pointing straight, and your left toes pointing out. Open your arms, extending your right arm in front of you and the left arm behind.
  2. Slightly pull the left hip back, and keep the right knee bent and your right thigh parallel to the floor.
  3. Reach out through both finger tips, and keep your gaze is forward over the right hand.
  4. Engage the triceps to support the arms, and the quadriceps to support the legs.
  5. Return your legs together and then repeat with the left leg forward.

Gate Pose

This pose stretches the upper body as it massages the internal organs.

  1. Knee on the floor while keeping your back straight and feet behind you.
  2. Extend your right leg out to the side, keeping your knee and ankle in line with your right hip.
  3. Turn your right toes forward so that your right foot is parallel with your left leg.
  4. Inhale and reach the left arm toward your left ear, then exhale and stretch the left arm, lifting through the waist toward the right. Allow your right arm come down and rest on your right leg.
  5. Bring your gaze up under your extended left arm.
  6. Hold this poses for several breaths, then return to an upright kneeling position. Repeat on the other side.

Image: lululemon athletica