Between the six pregnancies of the current Kalila Community Momma team, we’ve done a lot of yoga. Here are some of our favourites for you to try (if your medical profession gives you the okay 😉 )
Mountain Pose – the most overlooked yoga pose in my opinion. It’s a pose we fly through without really putting much effort into it. In this position (starting with our arms by our sides) we can inhale and raise our hands overhead (see photo).We can interlace our fingers, stretching up and over to each side, elongating our side body and reclaiming some space back from our little one. Simple move but feels amazing. Another add-on: as many women collapse through the arches of the feet during pregnancy, stand in mountain pose and try to lift up through the arches of the feet while maintaining the toes and heels on the ground.
From all fours to Crescent lunge: All fours (or table position) is a fundamental starting point for so many poses. Try not to let the belly sink down, arching the back too much. Try to hold the back straight from the top of the head down to the tailbone. From here, step forward with your right foot. Once you have the foot firmly positioned, a little wider than your right hand, lift your back knee up off the ground. Place your right hand on your right knee and help lift yourself up into Crescent lunge. Hold for three breathes, making sure that your knee is above your heel and that you’re keeping the back heel off the ground. Breathe in, extending up through the crown of the head, breathe out and sink your hips down a little further.
Hip Circles – great for pregnancy but this pose becomes really useful as you head towards the big due date. Starting from all fours (table pose), step your right foot forward to your right hand and then walk it out to the side. With your hands firmly on the ground, start to draw circles with your hips, moving them in 4-5 circles to one direction and then the same in the opposite direction. Not only does it feel great, it can help your baby shift down into a great position for birth and if they baby is low, his or her head pressing on your cervix can help bring on labour.
Malasana: This deep squat is something that all soon-to-be mommies should be checking out. The goal here is not to hold an uncomfortable pose but to get into a position in which your pelvic floor can relax. To achieve this, try putting pillows or a folded up mat underneath your heels. If you’re over 34 weeks and your baby is still head-up (aka breech), you’ll want to avoid this pose as it tends to help babies descend down for birth. If your baby descends down while in the breech position, it might be impossible to get him or her out! I usually get into this position from all fours: Spread your knees a bit wider than usually, walk the hands back to your knees and lift up into a squat. Add the pillows if needed, hands together at your heart and try to release the muscles of the pelvic floor (most easily thought of as the muscles you use to hold your pee). Take a few deep breaths and then come out in the same way you came in.
In terms of giving birth, this is a great position for pushing. You’ll want to keep your heels open a bit wider than pictured in the photo below so that you don’t close off the pelvis too much. Take 3-5 full breaths here.
Modified Janu A for Pregnancy (non yoga term: single leg side stretch): There’s a lot going on in this pose, even if it doesn’t seem like it. First, start in a seated position with your legs open. Bend your left knee and bring your left foot into your groin (heel in close). Turn your belly to face your bent left knee and place your left hand on your left leg. Inhale your right hand straight up overhead nice and high and then as you exhale, bring the right hand up and over, towards your left food. You can imagine that you have a gigantic physiotherapy ball under your right hand and you’re rolling over it. Continue to breath, lifting up and over. Try to open through your chest, bringing your elbow up to the ceiling. Come out of the pose by lifting back up to a straight seated position and repeat on the other side.