Baby Boat Pose–Great Way to Strengthen your Core & Prepare for Labor and Delivery!
Here’s one of my favorite moves to practice while preggers. I may be crazy, but I’ve always liked boat pose! It feels so empowering to hold myself up using my core strength; and to feel myself growing longer out of my lower back. Boat strengthens the pelvic floor muscles, transverse abdominals, obliques and back muscles; as well as toning the inner thighs, hips and waist. Boat pose in yoga is just like Teaser in Pilates. I can see why both practices find this one move so beneficial for our bodies.
Boat is especially great for pregnant women, since it really teaches us how to control those lower abdominals and pelvic floor muscles. Not only do these muscles support our back and spine during pregnancy, they come in handy during labor and delivery. Boat pose is also a perfect way to keep our core strong without having to lie down. Plank pose and boat pose should be a regular part of everyone’s routine; and they are both very doable during pregnancy (I’m 7 months pregnant in the boat pose below). Practicing boat now, will also help myself and other expecting moms get back in to shape easier post delivery.
Start seated with a tall spine. Hinge back slightly as you lift your legs up in the air 45 degrees with legs straight or knees bent to a table top position. Extend your arms forward palms facing towards each other. Engage your pelvic floor muscles and imagine drawing your lower abdominals in and up as you lengthen out of your lower back. Keep your inner thighs engaged and try not to sink in to your back or round the lower spine. Hold 5 to 8 breaths. Lower down and bend your knees in to your chest to sit up nice and tall again, then repeat 2 more times.
If you are feeling any pressure in your lower back or straining too much to hold this position, place your hands under your thighs to help support your legs. This is a great modification for expecting moms; but also for anyone with weak transverse abdominals who needs to start somewhere. Eventually over time, you’ll be able to hold your legs up from just the strength of your core muscles.
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!