While yoga is an excellent low-impact workout for pregnancy, it's important to keep certain things in mind before attempting a standing flow practice.
Prenatal Yoga Standing Flow Pose
You might think of yoga as a workout pregnant women can safely do—no modifications needed, no moves too harsh on your body. And while yoga is an excellent low-impact, no-equipment-required workout that can benefit the bodies and minds of expectant ladies, it's important to keep certain things in mind before attempting a standing flow practice.
"If a pregnant woman chooses to attend a Vinyasa class and they are new to class, I advise them to talk with the class's instructor. Let them know that you are new and ask them how you can practice the poses safely while protecting the integrity of your back. I recommend having new yoga students be at the front of the class so they will be under the direct eye of a mindful yoga instructor," Amber Allen, a postpartum doula and yoga instructor, tells Fit Pregnancy.
According to Allen, standing flow poses can be excellent for pregnant women who take necessary precautions when performing them. "Standing flow poses can be good for pregnant women because they help strengthen the muscles that are extremely important for pregnancy and childbirth, primarily the glutes, the hamstrings, calves, abdomen and the lower back," she says. "Listen to what your body needs. If your muscles are screaming at you, or if you start to experience pregnancy complications (contractions, bleeding, high or low blood pressure, etc.), it is time to back off and re-evaluate your yoga practice for the time being."
Some women may need to modify the poses, though. " [The need for modification] really depends on the person," Allen explains. "Some women deal with varying degrees of scoliosis, so they need to be mindful of their balance and how to tailor their practice according to their needs. An experienced yoga instructor can help women with modifications."
Allen broke down her three favorite standing flow poses for Fit Pregnancy's readers.
- Step your left foot forward, edging it to the side of your mat. Right foot is way back, turned at a 45-degree angle.
- Check to make sure your feet have all four sides in contact with the mat. Place your hands on your hips and turn your hips so they face the front of the mat. Now raise your hands above your head, reaching for the ceiling.
- Relax your shoulders. Check your breathing—are you breathing all the way, as best you can, into your belly?
- Bring your feet together in mountain pose.
- Place your hands on your thighs. Sit back as if you were about to sit in a chair.
- Now raise your chest up a little. You can either keep your hands on your thighs, or raise them above your head, keeping your arms next to your ears.
- Swaddle your baby in, nice and tight, into your spine. Breathe. And check to make sure all four corners of your feet are in contact with the mat.
- Stand in mountain pose. You'll balance on one foot at a time.
- Rooting down to the earth with one leg, place the other foot either at your ankle, below the knee or above the knee—just as long as your foot isn't on your knee.
- Open your hips. Take notice of your breathing. Relax your body. Realize that this is a practice in stillness, knowing that in a few short months you will be very busy with your baby. Be mindful that, as you practice tree pose, you may find that one side has more balance than the other. This is completely normal, and your tree pose will vary in difficulty throughout your pregnancy.