Prenatal Yoga: A positive result on your pregnancy test is a life changing experience! As you begin to grow and nurture a beautiful baby inside you, you will almost certainly begin to feel the impact of painful cramps, hormonal changes and an overall tired body.
After all, most of us have a stiff back from a bad night’s sleep or aches and pain from lugging around a backpack for two hours; imagine 9 months of growing a baby inside you!!
To help manage the discomfort (somewhat!) we have five amazing prenatal yoga poses for protecting and strengthening your back.
5 Yoga poses for your back in pregnancy:
Prenatal yoga: Paravatsana (Seated-mountain pose) during pregnancy
As the name suggests, this asana asks you to channel your inner mountain. Paravatsana is all about strength, stillness and stability.
- Sit in Padmasana or Sukhasana.
- Keep your hands to your sides, palms facing up; relaxed shoulders with a straight neck and an erect back
- Focusing on a point in front of you and breathing in, slowly raise your arms above your head till your palms join each other
- For a few your counts, hold your posture and your breath in this position
- Slowly, breathe out and let your hands drop back to their starting position
- If comfortable, add additional counts of holding your posture and breath before returning to the starting position
- As you observe your spine, you will notice how it corrects its posture naturally and your shoulders releasing unnecessary tension
Prenatal yoga: Baddha Konasana (Butterfly pose) during pregnancy
The butterfly pose is most commonly used to open your hips and stretch your pelvic region. Accordingly, it is one of the more popular prenatal yoga exercises and is very helpful for women in the lead up to childbirth. Take a yoga instructor’s help if you need it.
- Sit in a comfortable position with your back as straight as possible
- Slowly bring your feet in front of you, bent from the knee as it rests on the mat
- Join the soles of the feet together, a comfortable distance away from your pelvis
- Gently bounce the legs up and down to loosen the muscles
- Once you are comfortable, you can start holding both, the upward and downward stretches
- Baby bump permitting, try to pull your joined legs closer to your body
Prenatal yoga: Marjaryasana (Cat and cow pose) during pregnancy
The cat and cow pose is an excellent pose to try when you are pregnant. Not only does the pose stretch the spine but it also tones the abdominal muscles. In effect, this pose keeps the spine flexible and improves the blood circulation in the body. Let a yoga instructor guide you if you feel the need to be guided through this.
- Take the pose of a cat, balancing your body on your palms, knees and relaxed legs
- Fold a towel below your knees or a fitness ball below your chest in case of any discomfort during pregnancy
- Inhaling, lift your head up, opening your chest and push your back to the ground
- Hold the stretch for a few seconds or as is comfortable
- Exhaling, push your back towards the sky and tuck your chin to your chest
- Again, hold the stretch for a few seconds or as is comfortable
- Repeat 5 to 7 times and take a break
Prenatal yoga: Kandharasana (Shoulder pose) during pregnancy
Another saviour prenatal yoga pose for pregnant women is the Kandharasana. It helps to open the chest, improves lungs capacity and helps to heal aching shoulders and the back. As a result, practising this pose daily (ideally, with the assistance of a yogi) has proven benefits to pregnant women.
- Lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, keeping your hands by your side
- Let your palms either rest flat on the floor or take a firm grip of your ankles
- Inhale as you lift your waist up as you arch your back upwards. Your body will be supported by your head, hands and feet
- Stay here in this final pose as you squeeze your hip muscles and hold your breath
- Exhale, as you gently lower your hips to the ground, loosening the grip of your hands and relaxing your legs
- Repeat 5 to 7 times
Prenatal yoga: Savasana (corpse pose) during pregnancy
Savasana is the cooling down or meditative asana in this practise. It is designed to consciously relax your body and mind. Women often like this asana as it helps to release stress from the body and also helps them to connect with their baby.
- Lie down on your back with your arms next to you, facing the ceiling.
You can keep a pillow below your knees or your head to ease any discomfort
- Focus on your breath and relax all the muscles of your body
In conclusion, all the five prenatal yoga asanas are great for strengthening your back as well as stretching it to relieve tension and discomfort. In the long run, a regular practise of these asanas with the help of your yoga instructor can help you throughout the nine months of your pregnancy and even after the birth.