6. That One Where You Lift Your Opposite Arm and Leg
I have no idea what this move is called, but it’s always been one of my favorites in yoga class. It’s great for strengthening your back, which can help you avoid prenatal backaches or at least make them less severe.
Start out on your hands and knees. Inhale, and lift your right arm so it’s straight out in front of you, level with your shoulder. At the same time, life your left leg straight out behind you. Imagine someone gently pulling your raised hand and foot away from each other as you breath and lengthen your spine. Take 10 deep breaths, and repeat this move with the left arm and right leg.
7. Downward Dog
Down dog is great for your back and for stretching your legs. A lot of pregnant women get leg cramps, and stretching can help mitigate that problem.
From that same hands-and-knees position you were just in, curl your toes under and lift your butt in the air. You should have your weight on the palms of your hands and the balls of your feet. Chances are, your heels won’t touch the floor if you’re new to down dog, and that is 100 percent fine. Just relax and take 10 deep breaths in this pose.
8. Child’s Pose
From downward dog, bend your knees until they are on the floor, push your bottom back onto your heels, and let your body relax forward as you stretch your arms out in front of you. If you need to, spread your knees apart to make room for that baby bump!
Stay here and breathe for as long as you like.
9. Cat/Cow Pose
This move stretches and strengthens your back. The gentle stretch in your abs can also help relieve round ligament pain: that pain in your belly caused by your ever-growing uterus.
Come back onto hands and knees, and on your next exhale, push with your hands and curve your spine away from the floor, scooping in your abs as much as is comfortable. Curl your chin into your chest, and breathe in this position for 10 breaths. On your next inhale, roll your shoulders back, arching your back as much as feels right to you. Lift your head to look at the sky, and breathe here for 10 deep breaths.
10. Warrior II
Warrior II is a prenatal dynamo! It stretches and strengthens your back and strengthens your legs which can help make pushing easier.
Come back to standing position with your legs in a wide stance. Turn your right foot out and turn your left foot in ever-so-slightly. Raise your arms to shoulder height, and bend your right leg at the knee, until that thigh is parallel to the floor. Turn your head to gaze past the fingertips of your right hand, and breathe here for…you guessed it!…10 deep breaths. Repeat on the left hand side.
Image Credits: Creative Commons photos by lululemon athletica