Yoga is a perfect exercise for pregnant women. The ancient discipline achieves good health through stretching, toning, proper posture and breathing. Yoga can help the body stay in alignment, which alleviates tension in muscles and joints. Breathing exercises can be very helpful for pregnant women, as can stretching, since women usually experience shortness of breath and swelling in the joints. Here are some yoga poses that every pregnant woman will benefit from.
Vakrasna (Twisted Pose): This pose begins by sitting on the floor. Sit erect with your feet stretched out in front of you, both parallel. Begin by inhaling and raising your arms up to shoulder level. Make sure your palms are facing downward. Then exhale, slowly twisting your body to the right, moving from the waist. Move your heads and hands to the right at the same time. Try not to bend your knees. Inhale as you come back to the center. Then perform the same movement to the left.
Konasana (Angle Pose): Stand straight with your feet a couple of feet apart. Raise your right hand, not bending at the elbow, and inhale. Slowly bend toward the left keeping your arm overhead. Exhale as you return to the original position. Repeat the same movement with your left hand, bending to the right. Do this 2-4 times, or as many times as you feel appropriate.
Paryankasana (Ham’s Pose with one leg): All pregnant women experience changes in their pelvic, thigh and abdominal muscles. This pose strengthens the core areas of your body. Start by laying down on your back, and then straighten your legs. Keep your knees together. Focus on maintaining even, natural breathing. Fold your left leg back at the knee. Keep your palms on the floor and lean back, feeling the gentle stretch. Repeat with the other leg. (If it is more comfortable, cross both legs under your body, bend backward slightly, hold and return.)
Parvatasana (Mountain Pose): If you are struggling with low back pain during the later part of pregnancy, then the mountain pose will give you some relief. Sit on the floor, a soft mat or even on your bed. Keep your legs crossed in front of you. Inhale and raise your arms into the namaste position. Hold this position for a few moments, then return to normal position.
Bhadrasana (Butterfly Pose): Feeling achy in your legs? Then the Butterfly Pose will help you ease your aching muscles. Sit on the floor with your legs bent in front of your body. Focus on keeping your soles together. Keep your hands on your ankles and concentrate on keeping your spine straight. After a few minutes, release your legs out in front of you.
Pelvic Tilt or Cat-Cow Pose: This pose is excellent for relieving pressure on the low back and moving the baby into the proper position before birth. Start on the floor on your knees. Breathe in, keeping your spinal cord straight. As you exhale, put your palms on the floor as if you are going to crawl. Keep your head down, neck relaxed. Try to remain in the post for 2-3 minutes, then return to your knees or to a sitting position, whichever is more comfortable.
Helpful Tips: Any of these poses will help keep your body limber, relieve paid and aid in the birth process. Do each pose two or three times, or for the number of minutes suggested. Feel free to use a blanket or pillow under your knees or glutes to make the floorwork as comfortable as possible. There are many other yoga poses that are great for pregnant women. Experienced practitioners should seek advice or specialized workouts from their instructors. There are also workouts online that were created specifically for expectant mothers.