Yoga: For Pregnancy & Beyond
Whether you're five months along, ready to deliver or five months postpartum, these programs were built for you.
1. Belly Breathing Sit erect on a pillow in a comfortable, cross-legged position, your hands on your lower belly. Close your eyes and breathe deeply through your nose, keeping your face and jaw relaxed, focusing on relaxing your pelvic-floor muscles. Helps calm you during early labor, when contractions are not too intense.
2. Seated Pelvic Circles Sit erect on a stack of pillows in a comfortable, cross-legged position and place your hands on your lower belly. Move your pelvis in a slow, circular motion, and visualize your baby spiraling downward as you relax into the movement. Circular motions may be small or large, depending on the size and position of the baby. Helps you relax during early labor. Relieves an achy lower back or pelvis and may help the baby descend into the pelvis.
3. Supported Child’s Pose Kneel on a comfortable surface with knees open wide to accommodate your belly, and chest, arms and head resting on a stack of pillows at a comfortable height. Allows you to relax deeply, opening the hips and giving your baby a bit more space. Gravity can help pull the baby away from your bladder and lower back, relieving any discomfort in those areas.
4. Supported Cat with Hip Circles Kneel on a comfortable surface and lean forward onto a stack of pillows, supporting yourself on your forearms. Circle your pelvis, breathing deeply. For greater range of motion, straighten your arms and pull back to open the middle and lower back. Opens the hips and helps your baby spiral into position in the birth canal. May relieve lower-back pressure and help you breathe more deeply and rhythmically during contractions.
5. Supported Deep Squat Sit in a deep squat with a stack of pillows or blankets under your hips for support. Rest your arms on knees. For a deeper squat, sit with your back against a wall, using fewer pillows. Note: This pose is for active labor, and not recommended if you are experiencing signs of premature labor. Helps facilitate labor by opening the pelvis and shortening the birth canal.
Recovery & play
“Yoga is union, breath, stillness and love,” Colker-Arison says. So bond with your baby while doing these moves. The program focuses on the connection between mother and baby, while strengthening the muscles most taxed during pregnancy and delivery. Begin by trying 1 pose at a time, repeating for 5 full breaths and progressing to 10. If you feel any discomfort, stop and wait a few days before trying again. It’s best to wait 6 weeks before starting any fitness program—longer if you had a C-section—so check with your doctor first.