Prenatal yoga at home

Prenatal yoga: cat/cow pose
Cat/Cow

Starting on your hands and knees with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips, on the inhalation flex the feet, arch the spine, lift the face and look up; as you exhale, point the feet, round the back, scoop the tailbone and take the chin to chest. Repeat at least 5 cycles of breath. 

Pregnancy yoga poses: Cow pose
Cat/Cow, pt. 2

Cat/Cow is great for warming up the entire spine. It also keeps the abdominal muscles strong (crucial for pushing out a baby), and stretches the feet and calves, which is very helfpul if you have been experiencing any swelling or calf cramping (I do)!

Prenatal yoga exercises: Downward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog

From your hands and knees position, flex the feet and lift the knees off the floor, beginning to press back into downward facing dog. Depending on how far along you are and how big your belly, the only modification for this pose is to slightly widen your stance, probably never more than mat’s width distance at the very latest stage of pregnancy. Drop your head, release the neck, press the thigh bones firmly back into the backs of the legs and enjoy the feeling of allowing the weight of your belly to release away from your back body. This position, as well as cat/cow, helps with the optimal positioning of your baby into OP (occiput posterior) position.

Prenatal yoga poses: Three-legged dog
Three-Legged Dog

Take a rest from your dog pose and when you are ready, move again into downward facing dog. Begin to lift one leg back and up behind you into Three-Legged Dog, enjoying the stretch through the groin, quadriceps and hip flexors. Be mindful here to engage and hug in with all of the muscles of your body, and to take a slightly shorter dog pose if you feel unstable at all.

Pregnancy yoga poses: Warrior 2
Warrior II

From downward dog (or from three-legged dog), step the right foot forward and turn down the left heel. Circle the arms up to Warrior II. Again, if you feel at all unstable or very loose in your joints, shorten your stance and engage more muscular energy as long your legs from your feet up to your pelvis. Stretch the arms out at shoulder height and gaze past the middle finger of the right arm. Great for strengthening the legs to support the weight of your growing belly!

Yoga at home: prenatal yoga poses - triangle
Triangle

From Warrior II, slowly straighten your front leg. Lift and spread all ten toes and draw energy up the legs. Now reach out with your right hand and take your right hand down to either your shin, a block or the floor on the outside of your right leg. Extend your left arm straight up to the sky. Breathe and enjoy the opening and all of the space for your belly. On an inhale, press down through the feet and stand up, as you exhale, re-bend your right knee to warrior II; as you inhale place your hands on either side of your front foot and then exhale and step back to downward dog and repeat this sequence on the second side.

Prenatal yoga exercise: Standing straddle forward fold
Standing Straddle Forward Fold

From a standing position, take your feet about 3-5 feet apart, with your feet parallel to each other and your hands on your hips. Lift and spread your toes and as you inhale, open the chest and look up; as you exhale fold forward into a standing straddle forward bend and place your hands on the floor. Inhale to prepare and as you exhale fold further down, drawing the top of your head towards the ground. Breathe about 5-10 breaths, and then on an inhalation come up halfway and place your hands on your waist. Press down through your feet and inhale the rest of the way up to stand.

Prenatal yoga exercises: Tabletop
Tabletop

Sit on the floor and take your hands about 6 inches behind you, fingertips facing towards your buttocks. Place your feet hips width apart and parallel with your knees bent. Simultaneously press down through your hands and feet and lift your hips and chest to the sky, opening up through the front body. Take 5 breaths. This one is a great prenatal backbend, strengthening the muscles of the hamstrings, buttocks, and entire back body.

prenatal yoga at home: camel pose
Camel

Come to a kneeling position with your legs a few inches apart. Start with your hands on your hips and press DOWN with your hands, rooting your pelvis into your legs and lengthening the lower back. Keep pressing down with the hands as you lift the chest to the sky. If you get to the point that you can reach back with one hand at a time and place your hands on your ankles, do so. Curl the bottom tips of the shoulder blades into the back and allow the head to release back. Stay 5-10 breaths and on an inhalation come up.

Prenatal yoga at home: Reclined bound angle pose (supta baddha konasana)
Reclined Bound Angle Pose

Supta Baddha Konasana is a GREAT restorative posture that you can do through all three trimesters. I wound up sleeping in this position with my first child 13 years ago as I had pregnancy related carpal tunnel and side sleeping made it worse. For this one, get a bolster and then add something to elevate your head higher (either a pillow or blanket under the head, or you can prop up that side of the bolster with a block). Sit in front of the bolster (not on it) with the soles of your feet together and your knees apart. Lie back along the bolster and release the arms alongside the body, palms facing up. Close the eyes and allow the breath to slide in and out with ease. Stay up to 5 minutes or more as long as you are comfortable.  

Pregnancy yoga at home: Side lying savasana pose
Side-Lying Savasana

Lie on your left side with either a pillow between your legs or a bolster to support your top leg. Use whatever other props you need to make yourself as comfortable as possible. Close your eyes and allow your breath to become slower and smoother. Feel your baby resting as well, and feel as if you can communicate with your baby through your breath. Stay as long as 5-10 minutes or more.

Prenatal yoga: cat/cow pose
Pregnancy yoga poses: Cow pose
Prenatal yoga exercises: Downward Facing Dog
Prenatal yoga poses: Three-legged dog
Pregnancy yoga poses: Warrior 2
Yoga at home: prenatal yoga poses - triangle
Prenatal yoga exercise: Standing straddle forward fold
Prenatal yoga exercises: Tabletop
prenatal yoga at home: camel pose
Prenatal yoga at home: Reclined bound angle pose (supta baddha konasana)
Pregnancy yoga at home: Side lying savasana pose
Slideshows

Comments

Hmmm

Am I just reading it wrong "...in to the OP position "...? That's exactly what I am trying to avoid...LOA is my goal!!..for optimal fetal positioning ...

Great Piece by Jessica Bellofatto

This is truly a great piece, these pictures are great and really help show the sequence. Thank you for posting such a 'user' friendly article. Keep them up, Jessica is a great writer.