Some of My Favorite PreNatal Yoga Poses
Here are some of my favorite yoga poses I’ve been doing throughout my entire pregnancy.
Side Plank—I love this pose for maintaining strength in the core region and for stretching the sides and waist. It’s also a great way to train each side to maintain balance and evenness in strength in the arms and oblique muscles.
Start in a plank position, place your right hand in the middle of your mat and bring your weight to the hand and outer right foot. Stack your left leg on top and extend your left arm to the ceiling. Imagine a big beach ball under your right side. Hold and breathe 5-8 breaths.
Seated Twist—Twists are great to stretch out the hips, back, waist, shoulders and neck. Seated Spinal Twist can still be done as long as you twist to the open side. Make sure you keep your baby safe and your spine long and never twist across the bent knee.
Start in comfortable seat. Bend your left leg underneath you and place your right foot outside of your left knee. Sit up nice and tall and place your right elbow on the inside of your right knee and twist to your left (always twist to the open side never across the midline when pregnant). Try and initiate the twist from your pelvic floor muscles and oblique muscles. Hold for 5 to 8 breaths. Switch the crossing of your legs and twist to the opposite side.
Boat Pose—Boat is a great post to keep the pelvic floor muscles and transverse (deepest layer of abdominals) strong. Strong abdominals will support the spine and back during pregnancy and lead to a faster delivery and recovery.
Start seated with your knees bent, feet flat on the mat. Lean your upper torso back as you lift your legs out in front of you. Extend your legs straight if you can stay lifted out of your lower back. Engage your pelvic floor muscles and feel your lower abdominals lifting up and towards the spine. Hold 5 breaths. Repeat 2 more times.
Camel Pose—Camel pose is a wonderful backbend expecting moms can do since they can’t lie on their stomachs and many can’t lie on their backs. It’s important to keep the front body open especially as breasts get larger and the weight of the baby shifts the center of gravity forward. Backbends are also very uplifiting so you can celebrate the joys of pregnancy and the baby you will soon have.
Start in a kneeling position (place a towel or blanket under your knees if they are sensitive) and place your hands on your lower back. Lift your chest up to the ceiling then start to arch the upper body back. See if you can reach for your heels. Hold here 5 breaths then come up to sit, rest on your shins before repeating one more time.
If you have a hard time reaching for your ankles, keep your hands on your lower back or tuck under your toes so your feet are flexed. Make sure not to hold your breath nor strain the front body by stretching back to far. Tuck under your tailbone and keep your abdominals engaged.
Tree Pose—Tree is one of those poses that you can do any time and anywhere when you feel you need some extra grounding and support. Tree is great for strengthening the entire body and for balance. It is also good for opening up the hips and helping with the focus one needs for labor.
Start standing, place your right foot on your upper inner left thigh and turn the right knee out to the side. Bring your hands together in prayer at your chest. Pick a spot to gaze at and lift as tall as you can out of your supporting leg. Hold 5 to 8 breaths. Then switch sides. If your center of gravity has really shifted or you need extra support, hold on to a chair.
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!