Poses with Perks: What Prenatal Yoga Can Do for You

6 yoga poses that'll ease your aches and make for an easier labor

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Prenatal Yoga

Sitting through a 90-minute yoga class may sound as unappealing as the smell of day-old tuna salad during your first trimester. Don't worry: You can reap the rewards of the ancient practice at your leisure with these powerful prenatal yoga poses, courtesy of Carolina Goldberg, Yoga Works instructor who has been practicing for 17 years. Let's get limber.

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Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana 2)

Warrior 2 strengthens the muscles that support your joints at the hips. This is particularly important during pregnancy, since relaxin—a pregnancy hormone that relaxes your connective tissue—makes your joints less stable. Plus, the powerful nature of the pose will encourage feelings of strength and confidence—two things every new mom could use more of.

Tip: Position your front leg so that your knee, second toe, and hip are in a line, which reduces pressure on your front knee.

Related: 10 Ways to Be a More Confident Mom

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Hero Pose with Garudasana Arms (Virasana)

Virasana, Hero Pose strengthens your arms and shoulders to prep you for the many hours you'll spend carrying your baby. It also relieves tension in the trapezius (think: upper shoulder and neck), which becomes stressed from the extra weight of your belly and breasts.

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Temple Pose with Goddess Arms

Temple Pose, also known as Horse Stands, strengthens your legs and back muscles to help counter the added weight on the front of your body, while the squat increases the flexibility in your inner thighs and pelvis.

Related: Can Yoga Give You Superpowers?

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Sukhasana

Do this pose on a bolster, so you can relax your inner thighs and pelvis. (Warning: If your knees are higher than your hips, you'll strain your groin and inner thighs.)

Now for the fun part: Place your hands on your belly, and breathe. Full, deep and easy breaths increase the flow of oxygen to your uterus. Even better: Combine with these 5 Prenatal Meditation Techniques.

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Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)

Remember this pose for when you need a breather. The biggest benefit from prenatal yoga is the ability to surrender to your beautiful growing baby. Relaxation makes it easier to cope with the stressors of life (and pregnancy).

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Savasana (On Your Left Side)

Savasana is possibly the most rejuvenating pose of all. Sure, it may look like you're about to take a nap—and that's the point. Quiet your busy brain, relax, and get ready for your stress hormones to subside.

Note: Take Savasana on your left side during pregnancy, as to avoid putting pressure on the vena cava, the vein that runs on the right side of your body, and delivers blood to the placenta.

Related: 6 Stress-Relief Tips That Really Work

A version of this article, The Balanced Belly, originally appeared on ingridandisabel.com.

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