Strong & Serene Workout Moves

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Strong and Serene

As your belly grows during pregnancy, your center of gravity shifts forward, which can cause you to lose your balance or strain your lower back. This quick and calming yoga routine developed by certified instructor Lisa Bennett-Matkin, co-creator of Anchor Bay's Healing Yoga DVD series, will improve your flexibility and strength as well as your stability. "Also, the yogic breathing will quiet your mind and relax your body to prepare you for delivery," Bennett-Matkin says. All you need are a mat, wall and chair. Move fluidly through the poses in the order shown, and remember to breathe during the movements. You can do these moves three or more times a week throughout all three trimesters. Namaste.

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Toe Stretch

Kneel on the floor, then sit on your heels with your toes tucked under and pointed forward. Rest your hands on your thighs, palms up, thumbs and index fingers touching. Place a cushion under or behind your knees, if needed, for comfort and balance. Hold for 3 to 5 full breaths.

Benefits: Increases circulation to the feet, stretches arches, helps prepare your feet for the standing poses that follow.

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Tricky Cat

From Toe Stretch position, kneel on all fours and place your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Pull your abdominals in, draw your shoulder blades back and down, and look down as you lift your right arm and left leg to torso height.

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Tricky Cat

Exhale as you return to the starting position, rounding your spine as you pull in your abdominals. Switch sides and repeat.

Benefits: Stretches spine, opens chest, gently tones abs and relieves back discomfort.

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Supported Triangle

Place a chair sideways against a wall. Stand with your right side near the seat, legs farther than hip-width apart and knees slightly bent, right foot pointing toward the chair. Bend sideways from your hips and place your right hand lightly on the chair seat. Stretch your left arm upward.

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Supported Triangle

Lean toward the chair, extending your left arm over your left ear. Hold for 3 to 5 full breaths.

Benefits: Increases flexibility in hips, stretches hamstrings and helps you breathe easier.

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Half Moon

From Supported Triangle position, slightly bend your right knee, transferring your weight onto your right foot and hand. Keeping your left hip turned out, inhale and reach your left arm overhead as you slowly lift your left leg to hip height [shown], then exhale. Hold for 3 to 5 full breaths. Inhale, then exhale, bending your right knee as you lower your left foot and briefly return to Supported Triangle pose. Stand up, move chair to the other side and repeat Supported Triangle, then Half Moon poses.

Benefits: Strengthens legs, hips and abdominals and stretches inner thighs.

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