Out of Africa
...and into dance, with this FREE-SPIRITED PRENATAL WORKOUT
3. Mother’s reach From the beginning position in exercise 2 with hands on belly, take a front diagonal step with left foot, turning body to the right and bending knees. Keep back straight. At the same time, reach across body and out to the right with left arm [A]. Step back to center position, hands on belly, and do a quick right, left, right “cha cha cha” [B]. Then repeat to your left, stepping with your right foot and reaching with your right arm [C]. Repeat for 16 alternating reaches. Note: In your third trimester, place your nonreaching hand on your thigh rather than your belly for extra support. Strengthens abdominals and legs; loosens shoulders and back muscles.
4. Hip sway Stand with feet slightly more than hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. This is a 4-count move: On 1, sway hips rhythmically to the right, shifting body weight onto right foot. At the same time, lift right arm up to shoulder height, elbow bent, and press your right hand down and back, bending the elbow at shoulder height. Your left arm should be at shoulder level, elbow bent, with hand in front of chest [A]. On 2, switch arms as you sway to the left [B]. On 3, sway back to the right, switching arms again [C]. On 4, shift body weight onto your left foot and straighten both legs, lifting your right foot off the floor and moving both arms out to the side [D]. Squeeze shoulder blades together to avoid overarching your lower back. Bring right foot back down and repeat the sequence, starting with a sway to the left. Do 8 times, alternating sides. Increases circulation; increases hip and lower-back mobility.
5. Fertility dance Place feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Spread fingers across belly and round shoulders forward. Contract abdominals, dropping tailbone and pressing hips forward [A]. Thrust chest out and forward, squeezing shoulder blades together as you rotate shoulders back to pull elbows behind you. Use abdominals to support the back; your pelvis naturally rocks backward [B]. Return to starting position. Repeat 16 times. Increases strength and mobility of spine and shoulder girdle; improves posture.
6. Drummer’s beat/Guaranga’s moon Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart, knees bent. Staying in this position, step forward 4 times while playing “air drums” with hands [A]. Step forward 4 more times with arms out to sides, lifted to the ceiling, palms up [B]. With weight on left foot, pivot counterclockwise, making a full circle with right foot in 8 steps. Hold right arm out in front of you, elbow bent, palm up. Keep left hand on belly, elbow bent [C]. Repeat, pivoting clockwise, weight on right foot, left arm up. Walk backward 16 counts, swaying hips and fluttering palms one at a time in front of face [D]. Repeat sequence twice. Strengthens legs, shoulders and shoulder-rotator muscles.