It was the best decision ever.
The moves we performed during classes increased the flexibility in my hips and helped immensely to ease the discomfort I felt in my back from my ever-growing belly. Yoga had always been more of a physical practice for me, but with prenatal yoga, it shifted to more of an internal one. I was forming a connection with my growing babies.
The teacher gave us visual cues to envision the lives inside of us. I vividly remember doing breathing exercises at the end of class, with each of my hands placed on my belly, and each of my kids kicking and rolling underneath it. We were bonding.
Each trimester in pregnancy is special, and there are yoga poses that are beneficial for each stage. Yoga is generally safe for everyone, but make sure to consult your physician before you begin an exercise program.
And as always, listen to your body. If you do not feel like exercising, it's always OK to rest.
First Trimester: Warrior I1 of 7
The first three months of pregnancy are usually the most internally taxing. There's a lot going on inside your body, yet little is changing on the outside. Morning sickness and fatigue are usually the biggest obstacles. You may be able to do your usual yoga practice without any problems.
Warrior I is a great standing pose for building strength in your joints and improving balance. It's also an excellent pose for building confidence that you are a strong and fierce pregnant warrior!
- Step your feet wide apart with the right foot making a 90 degree-angle and left foot at a 45-degree angle.
- Align your front heel with the arch of your back foot. Keep your pelvis turned toward the front of your mat.
- Press your weight through your left heel and bend your right knee over your right ankle. Your right shin should be perpendicular to the floor.
- Reach up strongly through your arms. Broaden across your belly, lengthen the sides of your waist and lift through your chest. You may keep your arms parallel or press your palms together.
- Repeat on the other side.
First Trimester: Bound Angle2 of 7
Now is a good time to start practicing to open up your hips in preparation for birth. Bound Angle Pose helps to ease flexibility in the pelvis.
- Sit up straight with the soles of your feet touching each other.
- Gently press your knees down and away from each other, but don't force them apart.
Second Trimester: Extended Triangle3 of 7
The second trimester is when you feel like a human again. You have some energy back and (hopefully!) morning sickness is gone. You are sporting a bump and living in a pregnancy glow.
- Step your feet wide apart with the right foot out at 90 degrees and left foot at a 45-degree angle.
- Raise your arms parallel to the floor.
- Extend your torso to the right directly over the right leg, bending from the hip joint, not the waist. Let the left hip come slightly forward and lengthen the tailbone toward the back heel.
- Rest your right hand on your shin or ankle--whatever is most comfortable. Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling. Keep your head in a neutral position or turn it to the left, eyes gazing softly at the left thumb.
- Repeat on the other side.
Second Trimester: Chair Pose4 of 7
- Bend your knees and sit back against a wall, as if sitting in a chair. Keep the knees parallel to each other.
- Raise your arms up over your head, parallel to each other, with palms facing forward.
Third Trimester: Cat Pose5 of 7
The third trimester is when you can constantly feel the motions of the baby. Yoga is great for the physical and mental demands of this active time.
- Start on your hands and knees in a "tabletop" position with your knees directly below your hips. Your head should be in a neutral position, looking at the floor.
- Exhale and round your spine toward the ceiling like a hissing cat.
- Inhale, coming back to the neutral "tabletop" position.
Third Trimester: Squatting6 of 7
While it's not necessarily a yoga pose, it is an excellent way to relax and open the pelvis while strengthening the upper legs. You can use yoga blocks or cushions to support your bottom if needed.