For those who are or have been pregnant before, know that pregnancy comes with some crazy symptoms. Morning ( or evening ) sickness, food aversions, body pains, restless leg, and more. There are supplements and essential oils to help with some of those symptoms and thankfully there is also yoga. Yoga in pregnancy can do wonders for not only body aches and pains, but easing the mind and even strengthening your breath and lungs. Who else feels winded during pregnancy?! Your body needs more oxygen to accommodate the baby during pregnancy so yogic breathing is great for this, plus its a great tool to have when you are in labor. There are several different types of breathing exercises but one of my favorites is the 4-7-8 breathing method. I use this a lot when I feel extra winded during this pregnancy. There’s also the Ujjayi breathing technique. This is used during yoga practice so if you aren’t familiar with it, it’s also called “the ocean breath”. Its diaphragmatic breathing that starts out by filling your lower belly with air( expand like a buddha belly ), moves to lower rib cage area, and then the upper chest. Inhaling and exhaling all through the nose while constricting the back of the throat. This definitely takes practice as we are accustomed to breathing just the opposite. We are used to filling up our chest with air first and not even expanding our bellies at all. This disables us to clean out all the stagnant air in our lungs and replenishing it with fresh air for our lungs and organs. Try to make it a daily habit to practice these techniques. Even if you aren’t pregnant, they have wonderful benefits like energizing the body and calming the mind.
Now onto yoga. There are some great poses that help ease the discomforts of pregnancy. From tight hips, piriformis pain, and low back issues to name a few. Here are some poses I have made sure to incorporate into my practice.
- Yoga squat, malasana, or garland pose: Great for tight hips. Stretches the thighs and groin area. Also improves function of the colon( another pregnancy issue) This one in my personal opinion is super important to do because it helps strengthen the area that we use to help push during labor!
- Childs pose or balasana: You’ll want to bring your legs out wide to accommodate the belly but if you have ever been to a yoga class, you know that its a nice restorative pose and while pregnant it feels great releasing the pressure of the growing belly. I find myself in complete relaxation when I sink into the pose.
- Pigeon pose: Another one for tight hips and back pain. I don’t know about you but I want my hips NOT tight during push time!
- Standing Forward Fold or Uttanasana: For back pain and also good to stretch your legs. Completely relax the head and neck to hang makes the stretch that much better.
- Supported fish pose: Nice relaxation pose and feels good in the hips too. Using blocks or bolsters to prop your body up, as well as legs, this pose allows a small abdominal stretch( you don’t want much) and feels wonderful.
There are several other yoga poses that are good for pregnancies but I find these my favorite and most beneficial! Give them a try as well as the breathing techniques and see how different you feel throughout your pregnancy. Let me know what you think!