Prenatal Yoga Asanas: Yoga is one of the best forms of workouts you can take up when you are expecting. It is especially beneficial when you combine it with a mild cardio like walking. It helps the super anxious, yet excited moms-to-be stay in shape and deal with all the physical and emotional changes with ease.
How Yoga Helps During Pregnancy
At the outset, yoga helps you relax. Pregnancy evokes a whole lot of emotions. Apart from elation, you tend to have scary, negative thoughts too. Practicing yoga calms your mind and prepares your body for the extreme changes that it will go through in the months to come.
It also helps tone the muscles, maintain integrity and balance, and enhances blood circulation. Practicing yoga reduces the impact on the joints. When you practice yoga, you combine it with breathing, and the full Yoga breath or Ujjayi works wonders when you are expecting. Inhaling slowly through your nose to fully fill up your lungs, and then slowly exhaling preps you for labor. It also trains you to stay calm when you need it most. Pain and fright make your body produce adrenaline, and this leads to the lesser production of oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone that helps labor progress. Y
5 Easy Yoga Asanas That You Can Practice During Pregnancy
Now that you have an insight into what goes on in your body at each stage, and what you need to do to help you out, take a look at these ideal asanas that will support you through your pregnancy. Although these are only a few, they work wonders for you. But make sure you practice these prenatal yoga asanas only under the guidance of an instructor. This is not the time to experiment.
Benefits – This asana stimulates the muscles in your legs, especially the hips and thighs. The weight of your body is on your thighs and legs. This asana tones and strengthens them. This is essential during pregnancy to transfer some stress and weight from your back and abdomen to your legs. This asana also increases the circulation of blood in your limbs, thus reducing and preventing swelling.
How To Do It – Assume the Tadasana and gently bend your knees. Lower your buttocks such that it seems like you are seated on an imaginary chair. Inhale and extend your arms over your head. Hold the pose for a few seconds as you keep the flow of your breath going. Release.
Pregnancy Modifications – Make sure you practice this asana next to a wall or with a chair beside you for instant support in case you lose balance.
2. Virabhadrasana I
Benefits – This asana lets you explore your upper body. Your chest opens up, and your legs are strengthened. It also restores the health of the spine and prepares it to take the weight of the growing uterus. It also relaxes the mind and helps you focus and balance.
How To Do It – Start off by placing both your feet hip-width apart. Now, pivot on your left foot, and let the right foot face forward. The arch of the left foot must be in line with the right foot. Lower the pelvis and assume a lunge. Lift your arms above your head and look forward. Hold the pose only for as long as it is comfortable. Release and repeat with the left foot forward.
Pregnancy Modifications – Make sure you pregnancy yoga exercises next to a wall or with a chair beside you for instant support in case you lose balance. Also, as your pregnancy progresses, lessen the widening of your feet to reduce the strain on your pelvic floor.
3. Virabhadrasana II
Benefits – Much like the Warrior I, this asana also allows you to explore your upper body. It helps you open up your chest and widen your upper and lower body. Your legs are strengthened too. The Virabhadrasana II also works on the back and strengthens the spine. This helps it bear the weight of the growing uterus. You learn to focus, balance, and above all, your body learns to calm down.
How To Do It – Widen your legs such that they are hip-width apart. Twist the right heel and point the toes outward. Use the left heel to ground yourself. The arch of your left heel should be in line with the right foot. Lower the hips and radiate all your energy out as you stretch out your arms. The arms must be in line with the shoulders. Look forward. Breathe long and deep and hold the pose only until you are comfortable. Release, and repeat on the other side.
Pregnancy Modifications – Make sure you practice this asana next to a wall or with a chair beside you for instant support in case you lose balance. Also, as your pregnancy progresses, lessen the widening of your feet to reduce the strain on your pelvic floor.
4. Utthita Parsvakonasana
Benefits – This is one of the best yoga poses for pregnant ladies as it stretches and strengthens the legs. It helps reduce swelling in the feet in the last trimester of pregnancy. Through this asana, your hips and chest open up. It allows for blood circulation and stimulates the abdominal organs. Your back and spine are stretched and massaged, and pain is reduced. This asana also helps increase stamina. It relieves constipation, which is a major problem in the first trimester of pregnancy.
How To Do It – Widen your legs and place them hip-width apart. Twist the right heel and point the toes outward. Ground yourself using your left heel. The arch of your left heel should be in line with the right foot. Lower the hips and stretch out your arms. Now, slowly bend your body such that the right arm touches the right foot, and your left arm extends upwards. Turn your gaze towards your left arm. Take a deep breath and then hold the pose only until you are comfortable. Release and repeat on the other side.
Pregnancy Modifications – Yoga asanas for pregnancy make sure you practice this asana next to a wall or with a chair beside you for instant support in case you lose balance. You can also use a block or a prop to support your lower hand as you do this asana. Make sure you do not feel any strain on your back or abdomen when you practice this asana. Reduce the widening of your feet as your pregnancy progresses.
Benefits – The Malasana is another pose that works mainly on the legs, especially the hips and thighs. It strengthens them so that they can support your heavy abdomen. It also enhances the circulation of blood and ensures a good stretch in your hips and thighs. It widens your hips and opens up the pelvic area.
How To Do It – Squat on the floor, making sure your feet are together, and your buttocks are off the floor. If you are comfortable, lift your body on the balls of the feet. Join your palms at the center, and rest your elbows gently on the sides of the knees. Push your knees with your elbows as wide as possible. Hold the pose till you are comfortable and then release.
Pregnancy Modifications – Make sure you do not feel any strain on your back or abdomen when you practice this asana. You can use pillows or blocks to support your hips while practicing this asana in the later part of your pregnancy.
Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful experiences of life. It is a bundle of mixed emotions, and a test of your mettle. You experience pure joy and true love for something that is made of a part of you and the man you truly love. Do not let the hormones, emotions, and pains bog you down. Embrace yoga – you will not only sail through your pregnancy with ease but the much-dreaded labor too. Have you ever practiced any of these prenatal yoga poses during your pregnancy? Tell us how did they help you by commenting below.