During pregnancy the body changes rapidly, but if we use our yoga practice wisely, we can support these changes, making us strong and flexible in all the right places for easier labor, delivery and recovery.
Physical changes are inevitable in pregnancy. Literally every day it’s as if we have a new body. Fortunately, if we use our yoga practice wisely, we can support these changes, making us strong and flexible in all the right places for easier labor, delivery and recovery.
When I was pregnant with my each of three kiddos, it felt good to flow and move with the breath. A yoga practice that is strictly flow without longer holds (or all passive), though, won’t build the strength and stamina necessary to support your baby and body for the 40-week term. It is the isometric contractions of longer holds in yoga poses that build muscle and increase joint mobility and stability, which are possibly even more important in pregnancy.
So in my practice, I played with “imprinting” the alignment, beginning slowly, holding postures for 8–12 breaths. Then when my body had found its well-aligned placement for that day, I would begin to move through the same postures, holding for just 1–3 breaths. The longer holds also helped me get to know my body on that day. When we slow down and take time to feel ourselves in a posture, we can tune in to the changes and modify our practice to open or strengthen muscles to find more support and ease in our bodies through the journey of pregnancy. Below is one of my favorite sequences for strengthening and creating space in the growing mama body.
Props: You will need one block at the front of your mat.
Warm-up: These first two postures are fluid and designed to mindfully awaken the muscles and to begin to link the breath to movement.
Imprint: Try to complete the sequence on one side then switch to the other side at the end, returning to Crescent Lunge. Rest or take the modification as needed.
Flow: Then repeat the sequence starting with Crescent Lunge holding each posture for just 1–3 breaths for a yummy mama-centered flow. Repeat 3 times each side.