Bringing another life into the world is a miracle and a life long connection of love, nurturing and a bond stronger than anything else in this world. Creating a foundation of a healthy mind, body and spirit will pay forward to your little one as they continue to grow and thrive within your uterus. Practicing yoga throughout your pregnancy enables the mother to focus on their pregnancy, turning their senses internally and becoming more aware of what is happening within their own body…the miracle of life. The pregnant mother becomes more aware of how she is feeling mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually and is able to modify her lifestyle as her body asks her to.
As another life force is growing inside the pregnant mother she becomes more fatigued, at times feeling absolute exhaustion. By setting aside time for a daily yoga practice, whether 10 minutes or 60, the mother becomes aware of when she needs to rest, revitalize and regenerate. There are also specific yoga movements and breathing techniques that can increase the pregnant mothers energy and stamina. As your loved one grows inside your uterus your centre of balance begins to shift which in turn compromises your postures. Some muscles begin to become over worked and others not worked enough, causing stiffness, soreness and energy blocks. Yoga will assist you in releasing any muscle soreness, regaining a more powerful posture. When you create a balance within your body, the circulation is greatly improved and the body is invited to relax.
Developing, or continuing with your current yoga practice, will empower you throughout the birthing process. Utilizing breath awareness and control, developing awareness within your body will assist with labour coping strategies, creating a still mind while you ride the wave of each contraction and becoming comfortable in finding birthing positions that work for you throughout your birthing experience. Join in our Prenatal yoga classes in Ottawa, Canada or practice the postures below from home.
3 Part Breathe Sit in a comfortable cross legged position. Lengthen your spine, stacking vertebrae ontop of vertebrae. Lengthen your neck, open your chest, float your shoulders down your back and press the crown of your head towards the sky. Begin to inhale and exhale through your nose in a relaxed manner. As you inhale, through your nose, invite the breath to travel to your belly as it surrounds your baby, then fill your ribs and intercostal muscles and finally your chest. With each exhalation, through the nose, the air in the chest leaves the body first, then the ribs and finally the belly. Continue with your 3 part breathe inviting relaxation and calmness to surround yourself and your growing baby.
Move into a table top position, with your shoulders in line with your wrists and hips in line with knees. Spread your fingers apart to create a strong base of support. Inhale through the nose as your belly moves towards the floor and your head and tail bone lift. Exhale through the nose, rounding through your spine, gazing towards your knees or your growing baby.
Cow Face (Gomukhasana)
Sit with your legs extended out in front of you. Bend your right leg and cross your right leg over your left, stacking your knees one on top of each other. Place your right foot close to your left hip. Bend your left leg (which is on the bottom) and place your left foot towards your right hip. Lengthen tall through the spine, opening your hips and grounding your sit bones into the earth.
Bound Angle (Baddha Konasana)
Sitting with lengthend spine, open chest, relaxed shoulders, and long neck, bend your knees as they gently fall towards the earth and the soles of your feet come together. Open up the inner thighs and hips, bringing relaxation and calmness to your body as you visualize the birth of your baby.
Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend (Upavistha Konasana)
With your sit bones grounded into the earth and spine and neck lengthened, chest open, open your legs to a comfortable position as you feel a light stretching and opening of the inner thights. You may wish to place your hands behind your body or in front to assist in supporting the spine and maintaining its length. If this feels comfortable begin to forward fold from the hips, leading with your heart first. Only forward fold as far as you feel comfortable. Respect your body and the wishes of your baby.
Downward Facing (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
From a table top position curl your toes under so they come in contact with the earth and lift your hips up and back. As your lovely baby belly continues to grow you will find you have the need to widen your stance by walking your feet out to the sides of your mat as your hips become more open. Press your heels towards the earth, lengthen through the back of your legs, lengthen through your spine, lengthen your arms and spread your fingers with hands firmly planted into the earth.
Come into a squatting position, placing your hands on the floor to support yourself should you wish to. Open up your inner thighs, with your feet and knees facing out on a diagnol. If you are comfortable with your hands off the floor you may press your elbows into your inner thighs and place the palms of your hands together.
Stretch your arms out in front of you, shoulder width apart, palms facing each other. Cross your arms, right over top of the left, as your scapula widens and you feel your shoulder blades widen apart. Place right elbow direcftly over top of your left and bend your arms moving the back of your hands towards each other.
Stretch your arms straight forward, parallel to the floor, and spread your scapulas wide across the back of your torso. Cross the arms in front of your torso so that the right arm is above the left, then bend your elbows. Snug the right elbow into the crook of the left, and raise the forearms perpendicular to the floor. The backs of your hands should be facing each other. Gently turn your forearms so the palms of your hands press into each other.
Cow Face Arms
Rest in a comfortable seated position. Sit with a lengthened spine, inhaling and exhaling fully, complelely and slowly through your nose. Reach your left arm towards the sky, then bending from the elbow walk your fingers slowly down your back as your elbow points towards the sky. Ensure the shoulder is relaxed here and drawn away from your ear. Take your right arm, bending your elbow, place the back of your hand on your lower back. Slowly begin to walk your left hand down your back and right hand up your back as they move towards each other. Stay open in your chest, heart shining, and the front of your shoulders open.
Stand tall, grounding your feet into the earth as you lift up through your arches. Legs are long, hips are square and facing forward. Spine is tall and lengthened, with vertebrae stacked on top of vertebrae. Open your chest proud, letting your heart shine and melt your shoulders down your back away from your ears. Neck is long and the crown of your head is pressing towards the sky. Close your eyes here, inhaling and exhaling through the nose fully and completely. Send warm and loving thoughts and wishes to your growing child as they are nurtured within your body.
3 Part Breathe with Pelvic Relaxation (for use when very close to birthdate)
Sit in a comfortable cross legged position. Lengthen your spine, stacking vertebrae ontop of vertebrae. Lengthen your neck, open your chest, float your shoulders down your back and press the crown of your head towards the sky. Begin to inhale and exhale through your nose in a relaxed manner. Visualize your pelvic floor relaxing and physically feel your pelvic floor floating towards the earth, relaxed. As you inhale, through your nose, invite the breath to travel to your belly as it surrounds your baby, then fill your ribs and intercostal muscles and finally your chest. With each exhalation, through the nose, the air in the chest leaves the body first, then the ribs and finally the belly. Continue with your 3 part breathe inviting relaxation and calmness to surround yourself and your growing baby while relaxing your pelvic floor and the surrounding muscles. When your babies birthdate approaches practicing to relax your pelvic floor will assist in the birthing process of your bundle of joy.
Spend time each day to celebrate your pregnancy and the bundle of joy that is growing inside your body. The bond between a mother and child may change throughout the years but its strength will always remain the same.