Yoga during pregnancy is extremely popular- it can be slow, soft, and mindful but still offer the challenge, movement, and mobility work that an expectant mama really needs.
While many yoga poses can be done through all trimesters, it's good to pick poses that help work and move the muscles that are getting the most use and possibly fatigued during that specific stage of pregnancy.
While the poses below can be done during any trimester, they are ones that I have been adding regularly during my second trimester as well as ones you expect to find in my prenatal classes. These poses center around glute and hip strength which is needed to protect and support the pelvis, pelvic organs, and postpartum health; opening and strengthening the chest and shoulders to help with avoiding the rounding of the upper back; and thoracic rotation and lateral flexion which are often avoided during pregnancy but can help with movement and avoiding feelings of "stiffness".
You can do these poses as an individual mini- flow or you can add them into a longer full-body sequence.
I would recommend that you avoid any poses or movements if you find your breath more labored than normal, you experience dizziness or become light headed, or if it causes pain or feels uncomfortable.
1. Yoga Single-Leg Glute Bridge
Place a yoga block under one foot and come to the ball of the foot on the opposite side.
On the exhale, connect the core + pelvic floor and then engage the glutes as you lift, press down through the foot on the block trying not to use the opposite foot.
Inhale to lower.
Perform 5 rounds on each side.
2. High Clamshells
Lie on one side, stacking the hips, bending the knees about degrees.
Place a yoga block between the feet and lift until it is about level with the hips.
On the exhale, open the top knee avoiding rocking back in the hips or holding your breath (I swear I'm breathing through my nose).
Inhale to lower.
Perform 15 times on each side.
3. Wall Slides
Begin seated with your back against the wall.
Open and press the backs of your arms into the wall, elbows 90 degrees.
Try to feel the natural curvatures of your spine and be mindful to keep those.
On the exhale, press the backs of the arms into the wall as you slide the arms up- keeping contact.
Inhale to lower, pulling back down, engaging through the muscles of the shoulders and surrounding the shoulder blades- keeping contact all the way down to 90 or a little below.
Perform 10 times.
4. Seated Thoracic Rotations
Sit right on the sit bones with the ribs stacked right over the hips.
Place the fingertips right behind the ears and slightly towards the middle of the skull.
On the exhale keep the posture of the spine and pelvis as you rotate, being mindful to keep both frontal hip points (ASIS) pointing forward. Try to focus the movement above the belly button.
Inhale to center.
Perform 5-8 times to each side.
5. Seated Lateral Flexion
Sit right on the sit bones with the ribs stacked right over the pelvis.
Place the first hand on a block just to the side of the hip.
Reach up on an inhale and as you exhale, bend towards the hand on the block keeping the ribs in line with the pelvis.
Keep the bum planted.
Inhale to center.
Perform for 10 breaths per side.
Until next time,
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