Pregnancy brings along many changes in a woman’s body; from changes in mood and energy levels to changes in posture, flexibility and strength. It is well known that riding a stationary bike or jogging can increase fitness during pregnancy, but yoga is also an excellent option. Practicing yoga during pregnancy can help lower stress and anxiety, reduce lower back pain and it can also build strength for labor and delivery. It is important, however, for pregnant women to practice poses that are appropriate for her stage of pregnancy. Here are five of the best yoga poses for pregnancy and four poses to avoid during pregnancy.
The 5 Best Yoga Poses For Pregnancy
One of the best and safest poses for pregnancy is a seated forward bend. Sit on the ground with your legs together and extended in front of you. Place one hand on the floor and the other hand on your legs. Inhale, then exhale as you gently fold forward. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your neck long as you extend through your spine. This pose can aid in digestion, improve circulation and even reduce your stress levels. Hold the pose for 30 seconds and then slowly come up as you inhale.
Bridge pose is another great stretch for pregnancy. Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Place your arms to your side with your palms down. Inhale and press your low back down into the ground. As you exhale, press your feet into the floor and and lift your hips off the ground. If it feels comfortable, you can interlace your fingers and extend your arms under your body and place your hands on your low back. This pose is great for strengthening your pelvic floor and supporting the weight of your growing baby. Hold the pose for 30 to 60 seconds, release your hands and roll your spine down to the ground.
Cat-Cow Pose is a great way to reduce lower back pain during pregnancy. Start on your hands and knees with your back flat. As you inhale, drop your belly, lift your head and tailbone and arch your spine towards the ceiling. This is Cow pose. As you exhale, round your spine, lift your head and tailbone and press your shoulder blades into your back. This is Cat Pose. Continue to flow between the two poses slowly, breathing in and out as you do so. This pose can help release tension in the spine and relax your nervous system.
Reclined Pigeon Pose is also beneficial for pregnant women. Lay on your back with your feet flat on the ground. Bend your right knee and bring it to your chest. Hold your right shin with both hands and then extend your right foot toward the ceiling. Rotate your right thigh outward and draw your right knee out to the right side of your body. This can be a gentle stretch for the piriformis and hip muscles. Feel free to rest your arms along your sides or even add a blanket under your head and shoulders for extra support. Hold the pose for 10 deep breaths and then gently lower your right leg to the ground and switch sides.