Yoga may very well be the perfect exercise for moms-to-be. Its benefits—a stronger body, increased flexibility, improved stamina and heightened breath awareness— are all useful tools to have when you’re preparing to give birth.
Still, as amazing as these tangible benefits are, the real power of the practice lies in its more subtle fruits, says yoga instructor Patty Slote, director of prenatal yoga programs at the Portland, Ore., yoga studio The Movement Center and creator of its Prenatal Yoga DVD series. “Yoga doesn’t just work on the physical level; it works on the mental, emotional, energetic and spiritual levels, too,” Slote explains.
For expectant women, Slote links elements of the practice to three core yoga concepts, each of which roughly parallels a stage of pregnancy.
|Open corresponds to the first trimester—a time of great excitement, sometimes anxiety and simply getting used to the idea.|
|Focus harnesses the energy and feeling of empowerment that often characterize the second trimester.
|Surrender syncs with the third trimester, a time when our bodies slow us down, like it or not.|
This five-pose sequence incorporates these concepts into a 20-minute workout that will prepare you for what lies ahead, no matter how pregnant you are.