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Five Prenatal Yoga Stretches You Can Do at Home

October 19, 2012

Your back hurts. There’s a head leaning against your rib cage. There’s a foot in your bladder. Your feet are beginning to swell and you’re considering wearing your slippers to work. Once you hit the end of your second trimester and begin your third, you may begin to feel uncomfortable in normal positions that you once took for granted…like sitting and lying down! Luckily, there are some yoga poses you can do during pregnancy that will relieve some of the aches, pressure, and swelling you’re experiencing during the second half of your pregnancy. And you can even try them at home with nothing more than a yoga mat and your comfiest sweats or pajamas.

  1. The Cat/Cow Pose. Begin in Downward Dog and lower your knees, shins, and feet to the mat. To do the cow pose, push your abdomen toward the floor and raise your head and neck to look ahead of you. Segue into the cat pose by arching your back and pulling your head in toward your chest. These poses will allow you to stretch your back muscles and abdominal muscles.
  2. The Cobbler Pose. Sit on the ground with your legs crossed and your spine straight. Take each leg and stretch it to the side, still keeping your knees bent, until the bottoms of your feet are touching and your knees are pointing in opposing directions. This opens your hips and is a great exercise for later in pregnancy.
  3. The Gate Pose. Kneel on your mat with your spine straight, and stretch one leg out to your side with your knee slightly bent and your heel on the floor. Turn your pelvis slight toward your leg and rest your hand on your thigh. Take the opposite arm and raise it to the sky, looking toward it. This pose stretches your abdominal region, encourages deep breathing, and allows for more flexibility and space in your abdomen and hips.
  4. The Side Plank. This variation on the side plank is more comfortable for pregnant women. Begin in the Cat pose and push your left leg behind you, resting the sole of your foot on the floor and turning your toes away from your body so that they are at a 90 degree angle to your body. Facing the direction your toes are pointing, raise your left arm into the air and stretch it upward. This pose is similar to the Gate pose in that it allows your abdomen, ribcage, and hips to stretch.
  5. Legs Up the Wall Pose. This pose is great for swollen feet and ankles, and is easy and comfortable. Lie on your back with your rear end touching a wall and your legs extending up the wall. Point and flex your feet as you breathe deeply. You may stay in this pose for as long as is comfortable. Many pregnant women find that it reduces their swelling and minimizes back strain.

If you have never tried yoga before, you may want to attend a beginner’s prenatal yoga class before trying these exercises at home. These are low impact, easy poses, but a little guidance never hurts. And remember to breathe slowly and deeply throughout your yoga sessions, as breathing in this way reduces stress and allows your muscles to relax into the poses.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Sierra permalink
    October 25, 2012 4:55 pm

    I’ve found that combining yoga with compression tights makes for an even better experience and keeps the ankle swelling (in my case) under control. I use the preggers brand because i can wear them with not just my yoga clothes.

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