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Do the following program in the order listed at least 3 times per week. On non-yoga days, include other activities such as walking or swimming. Choose the variation of each pose that’s most appropriate for you based on your fitness level, flexibility, strength, trimester and familiarity with yoga. Hold each pose for 5 smooth, controlled breaths. If any of the poses becomes uncomfortable, stop. (If you have never done yoga before, you may want to take a class led by a certified yoga professional to prepare for this workout.)
1st Trimester Warrior II Stand with your back against a wall, right heel against it, toes turned inward at 30 degrees. Align left heel with the ball of right foot, toes at a 90-degree angle. Lift arms to shoulder height, palms down, neck relaxed. Contract bellybutton in toward spine. Inhale; then exhale and bend left knee until it’s aligned with left ankle. Maintain pose for 5 breaths; then repeat in the other direction.
2nd Trimester Warrior I Sit sideways in a chair (back of the chair is to your left side and against the wall for extra support), left leg forward so thigh is parallel to the floor, left knee bent at a 90-degree angle to the left ankle. Right leg is behind you so you’re balanced on the ball of your right foot. Try to keep right buttock pressed on the chair so hips are squared and facing forward. Extend arms forward, then overhead. Relax shoulders and neck, tucking tailbone to keep from arching lower back. Hold for 5 breaths; then repeat in the other direction.
3rd Trimester Do Warrior I pose as in second trimester, except place your hands on your hips (not shown).
Benefits: leg strength; posture; balance.
1st Trimester Start in the same position as Warrior II. Lift arms up to shoulder height, palms down. Keeping legs straight and leading with your left arm, reach out and forward, bringing your torso over your front leg; then reach down toward the floor with your left hand and place it on your left shin. As your hand grasps your shin, rotate the right side of your body (ribs and right shoulder) open; lift your right arm so it lines up with your left arm. Look at your right hand if that feels OK. Maintain pose for 5 breaths; then use your right hand to help lift you up and out of the pose. Square your feet and repeat on the other side.
2nd Trimester Do the same pose, but rest your left hand on a low bench or two large books or yoga blocks.