I often described pregnancy as “uncomfortable bliss.” With all of the changes constantly happening in my body from one day to the next, I could never predict how I would feel in life or in my yoga practice. With each of my three pregnancies, there were days where everything from forward folds to supported backbends felt difficult. On those days, I would opt for a chair practice.
Chairs offer the pregnant body support and help to create the space that it so desperately needs. If you’ve never tried using a chair in your home practice, you are in for a treat! This sequence feels so good that you will want to continue with it even after baby.
YOU WILL NEED your yoga mat and a sturdy chair without arms
GETTING STARTED Place the mat’s short edge at the wall and the chair on the mat, facing away from the wall.
Either place your hands on the sides of the chair or line the heels of your hands up with the front edge. Walk your feet back to Downward-Facing Dog. Hold for 6-8 full, long, smooth inhales and exhales. Imagine you are filling the back body with your breath creating more space between every back rib.
Shift your body forward until your shoulders are aligned over your wrists as you breathe in. Shift back to Downward Dog as you breathe out. Repeat for 5 breaths.
Three-Legged Dog-Plank with Side Crunch
From Downward Dog, inhale and stretch the right leg to the sky. Exhale and bring the right knee toward the right outer upper arm. Repeat 3 times on the right and then switch to the left side.
Modified Sun Salute A
Begin in Downward-Facing Dog. Inhale and float forward to Plank. Exhale as you bend the elbows to Chaturanga. Push your hands into the chair as you inhale and lift your chest for Upward-Facing Dog. Exhale and lift hips back and up to Downward Dog.
Place your hands on the back of the chair and walk your feet back. Step your right foot onto the chair. And lift the back heel up. Keep the right knee aligned over the ankle as you drop the front thighbone toward the ground. Imagine you could suck the back thighbone up into the hip socket and firm the outer thighs to center. Hold for 6–8 full breaths and then switch sides.
Dynamic Warrior II
From the Crescent Lunge position, spin the back heel to the ground, lift the torso and spread the arms wide. Making sure that the front foot is securely planted on the chair, inhale to straighten the front leg and exhale to bend it back into Warrior II. Repeat for 8 breaths then hold Warrior II. To open up the side body, add Parsvakonasana, by taking the forearm to the thigh and reaching the top arm all the way overhead toward the wall. Hold for 4–6 breaths and then switch sides.
To finish the sequence, sit in the chair, letting your hands rest in your lap, close your eyes and notice the effects of this short chair practice.
About Our Expert
Los Angeles-based yoga teacher Karly Treacy began her practice more than 20 years ago. A student of Annie Carpenter, Karly understands the awareness of body and strength that comes from precise alignment. A mother of three, Karly credits yoga for teaching her that all of life is a practice, especially motherhood and that our children, our bodies, and our environment all are our teachers.