The Expectant Yogi

Having a baby? Don’t skip the workout. It could be the best nine months to do yoga.

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Since each pregnancy is very different, it is difficult to say which poses are the “best” or most beneficial to do. However, here are three simple poses that you can do every day to will help you to have a less pain during your pregnancy. (CLICK here to watch a slide show of these poses.)

·        Cat and Cow—This pose helps to relieve lower back pain and creates flexibility in the spine. Begin on all fours, with a flat back, wrists underneath shoulders and knees underneath hips. Exhale to push the floor away with your hands, arch your back to the ceiling (cat pose) and move your pelvis back and down. Bring the belly button to the spine. Let your head hang. Inhale to lift your head and tailbone to the ceiling (cow pose). Exhale and repeat. This pose can also be done sitting in a chair or standing.

·        Pigeon PoseThis helps to alleviate (or prevent) discomfort due to sciatica while opening the hips. To get into the pose, start on all fours with your knees directly below your hips, and your wrists under your shoulders. Slide your right knee toward the back of your right wrist, and bring your right shin across your body on the floor. Slide your left leg back, straightening the knee. Lower the outside of your right buttock toward the floor. Place a blanket or pillow under the right buttock to stabilize the hips. Push your fingertips firmly to the floor. Lift your torso away from the thigh. Hold the pose for as long as you feel comfortable and then switch sides.

·        Chest Expansion—This pose can be done anywhere and helps to open the chest and improve posture. To begin, have a seat in a chair or in a cross-legged position on the floor. You can also do this pose standing. Clasp your hands behind your back with palms facing up. Inhale to lift your shoulders to your ears. Exhale to bring your shoulder blades back and down and expand through the chest. Hold the pose for 20 to 30 seconds.

The great thing about these poses is that they can be done every day, and the more you practice them (along with your three-part breathing) the more benefit you will gain.

A note of caution: You should consult your physician before starting this or any new workout. There are also several things to avoid during pregnancy practice, known as contraindications. They include:  

·        Deep belly twists that compress the internal organs. It is better to twist from the shoulders instead.

·        Avoid holding the breath, as this elevates the heart rate.

·        Backbends that create too much pressure on the lower spine.