6 Prenatal Yoga Basics

Pregnant women are rolling out their mats for the feel-good benefits of yoga. Strike a pose with this routine and get your "OM" on. 

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Downward Dog Split

Martin Rusch

Downward Dog Split

Great for: Strengthening your entire body while honing your balance and stretching tight hip flexors and your sore lower back.

How to: Get down on all fours, hands directly under shoulders, fingers spread wide. Tuck your toes, shift your hips up and back, and straighten legs, pressing heels toward the floor so your body is in an upside-down V shape. (Your legs are absorbing most of the weight, so you shouldn’t get dizzy—but if you do, try looking straight ahead instead of down, or drop to your knees.) From here, lift your right leg straight up off the floor to a comfortable height. 

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Warrior 1 & 2

Martin Rusch

Warrior 1 & 2

Great for: Gently relieving the pressure on your hips that’s caused by the increasing weight of your baby-to-be.

How to: Stand with your feet in a wide straddle, about 4 or 5 feet apart. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and your left foot in about 45 degrees, then bend your right knee and lunge, keeping the knee directly over your ankle. Reach arms straight up, palms together, and gaze up at hands. Then move into Warrior 2 by rotating your hips and torso left as you lower arms to shoulder height, palms down; gaze over your right hand. 

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Extended Side Angle

Martin Rusch

Extended Side Angle

Great for: Opening up your chest, which can help with heartburn because it feels as if you are creating more space.

How to: From Warrior 2 position, reach your right arm toward the floor and rest the elbow on the knee. (You can also rest the right hand on a yoga block placed outside the foot or reach it all the way down to the floor.) Then extend left arm overhead and gaze up at your palm, keeping your shoulders back and chest open. 

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Forward Straddle

Martin Rusch

Forward Straddle

Great for: Giving a nice release for your spine, especially the lower back.

How to: From Extended Side Angle, stand up, keeping legs wide, and turn feet parallel; reach the fingertips of your left hand to the floor or to a pillow. Keeping legs straight, extend right arm up, gently twisting your torso so you feel a stretch in your chest and back; gaze up at your hand. 

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Lizard Pose

Martin Rusch

Lizard Pose

Great for: Relieving head, neck, and shoulder tension; increasing blood flow to your pelvic area; toning your entire body.

How to: From Forward Straddle, pivot your body to the right and walk your hands into a lunge with right leg forward. Right knee should be over right ankle, palms on the floor. Your back knee can rest on the floor, or lift it off for a bigger challenge. 

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Pigeon Pose

Martin Rusch

Pigeon Pose

Great for: Easing pregnancy sciatica and lower-back pain.

How to: From Lizard, thread your right foot under your hip so the knee is by your right wrist and the foot is by your left wrist. Lower your chest toward the floor and stretch arms out in front. 

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