Stretch Away Stress

Prenatal Yoga Chest Opener


Does your whole body ache? If so, it's not surprising. The daily responsibilities as a new mother can take a toll on your body, probably more than any other job you've ever had in your life. Constant lifting (of the car seat, stroller, baby, etc), breastfeeding and diaper changing, coupled with heavier- than-normal breasts and weakened abdominal muscles, can all add up to a strain on your body's natural alignment. The result is that you feel tired and achy all day long. We have a solution: a 5-minute exercise routine that stretches and strengthens the muscles that are most stressed by daily activities.

Try doing this routine every day and you may feel a lot more relaxed, invigorated and ready to enjoy bonding time with your baby. chest, Calf and Hip Stretch Stand with feet hip-width apart, then take a step back with your right foot, toes pointing straight ahead, right heel down. Lace your hands together behind your lower back, lifting your chest as you breathe deeply through your nose. Keeping shoulders relaxed, lengthen torso as you bend your left leg, keeping your knee in line with your ankle, buttocks tight and abs drawn in (shown). Switch sides and repeat. Stretches chest, shoulders, front of hips and calves.

Chest Opener Stand with feet hip-width apart and lace your hands behind your head, elbows wide. Breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth. Gently press your head into your hands [A]. Straighten arms, palms up, and lean back slightly, keeping your thighs and buttocks firm [B]. Stretches front of torso; strengthens neck and back muscles, improving posture. Lower-Back Stretch Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees bent, hands on thighs, fingers facing in. Lean forward from hips and point your tailbone back to straighten spine, abs drawn in [A]. Inhale, then exhale as you round your back like a cat, drawing your abs in and bringing chin toward chest [B]. Strengthens entire back and gently tones muscles.