Yoga Hints and Yoga Poses for Pregnant Women
• Relaxation. Start and finish your session with a few minutes of relaxation in the classic Corpse Pose. Just lie on your back, with feet and hands spread apart; close your eyes, calm your breath, and allow your body to completely relax. This will remove tension and stress and will allow your mind to become clear and worry-free.During the last months of pregnancy, it is often difficult to find a comfortable position for relaxation. A Modified Child’s Pose, or Abdominal Corpse Pose, can be useful alternative. Lie on your front and side, raise both or one knee to make breathing more comfortable and support the weight of the abdominal area, and rest your head on one or both arms. You can also bolster your body with a pillow by placing it between your knees, in order to ease strain on the lower back and pelvis.
• Pranayama. Yogi aspirants believe that breathing exercises, or pranayama, can calm and control the flow of subtle life energy, known as prana. Pranayama is particularly important for expecting mothers since it delivers prana to the child, as well. In addition, a regular practise of breathing exercises boosts the intake of oxygen and helps calm both the mind and body. The easiest form of pranayama for pregnant women is to sit comfortably, close the eyes, and focus the attention on the flow of air inhaled and exhaled with every breath. Try to relax your breath as much as you can, and imagine that every new portion of air supplies you with a vital flow of energy, while every exhalation helps your body get rid of impurities…
• To prevent soggy abdomen, weight gain, and the appearance of stretch marks, practise daily the Modified Cobra position, which gives a gentle backwards bend without putting a pressure on the abdomen. To perform, stand with your feet together and hands clasped behind your back. Inhale and slowly bend backwards until you feel the tension in the muscles. Hold the asana for as long as it feels comfortable, and return to the initial position while exhaling. Repeat several times.Another good asana that will keep your skin soft and elastic, strengthen the legs and pelvis, and help your lower back stay limber, is the Cat. To perform, kneel “on all four”, supporting the weight of your body with both legs and arms. Lift one leg behind you and hold the position for several breaths. Repeat with another leg.
• To prepare your body for the delivery, practise the Wall Stretches. Lie with your buttocks against the wall, and stretch your legs up it, until they are straight. You can remain in this comfortable asana for several minutes. Performing the Squatting Pose (just sit or squat on the floor with your knees wide apart) will help you open the pelvic area for labour and strengthen the muscles participating in childbirth.
• To ensure good circulation**** and prevent constipation and leaky bladder, Practise Perineal Exercises by deliberately contracting and relaxing your pelvic muscles. This will also keep your vaginal muscles strong and elastic, allowing them to stretch in full during the childbirth and to quickly return to normal after, without any after-birth complications.
• To strengthen the uterus and eliminate lower back pain, perform the Pelvic Lift. Kneel, as if for the Cat position, exhale, and arch the back upward. While performing, you should feel a mild pulling sensation in your uterus. Hold for several seconds, inhale, and arch downward, curving your lower back. Repeat several times.