No matter what stage of pregnancy you are at, yoga is an ideal way to keep moving, relax and prepare for birth. Many women join my yoga classes to help them step away from the stresses of daily life and enjoy the supportive, calming environment that each class brings, however yoga poses and stretches that are ideal for pregnant women can be done more regularly to ensure you maximise what yoga can do for you.
That’s why practicing basic yoga moves at home to help stretch and relieve aching muscles is also a good idea. Sometimes that calming environment of a class isn’t always possible so try to find a quiet place. One of my favourite poses I would recommend at home during pregnancy is the Cat/Cow pose. It’s one of the simplest and safest poses to do at home, requiring you to be on all fours as you curve up your back to stretch your spine while at the same time your belly hugs baby.
Mum’s health and safety is of utmost importance during the various stages of pregnancy. Before you start any antenatal yoga exercise, make sure you have plenty of space, are feeling well and have taken the advice of your doctor or midwife before starting. If in doubt, speak with your local midwife.
How to do it
The pose is split into two, the cat pose and the cow pose. Use a yoga mat to help protect your wrists, shoulders and knees. You may also enjoy having some relaxing music on to help calm the mind and drown out any background noise.
During the cow pose, the idea is to lift the head, looking up in front of you while you drop your belly towards the floor, allowing you to arch your back down. This helps open up your chest allowing you to take in more oxygen and giving you a much needed energy boost.
From there, you move into cat pose. You then lower your head, pull in your tummy and arch your back. This helps to surround and hug baby with your tummy while stretching your spine to relieve those unwelcome back pains.
If you’re new to yoga, try holding the cow pose for 15-20 seconds before moving on to cat pose for another 15-20 seconds. Repeat this two or three times provided you feel comfortable and safe at all times. Over the course of your pregnancy try working up to holding each pose for 30 seconds.
Following the exercise, take a few minutes to sit and relax to help you recover, taking deep breaths in and out to help increase oxygen flow to your blood and body.