Skandasana, or side lunge, is a wonderful pose for opening the hips during pregnancy and building core strength in a gentle way. Opening the hips can provide physical relief as well as emotional relief. Oftentimes when we are stressed, we carry that stress around in our bodies, creating tension throughout the body that can cause us to feel unwell. Physical exercise, such as yoga, can help us to relieve that tension and in turn make us feel less stressed.
As usual, before practicing a specific pose in yoga, you’ll want to warm up your body. Try doing a few rounds of our Sun Salutation for Pregnancy before beginning.
Starting in a wide-legged pose, turn your toes slightly out and bend your knees a little. Inhale and on your exhale, bend forward from your hips and place your hands on the ground (if the ground is too far for you, practice with a chair or step stool that you can easily move. A big yoga ball might also help). Use your hands to help you to move to the right, bending your right knee as you go. Your left leg remains extended with your foot on the ground. If you feel good, you may choose to lift your left toes up to the sky.
At first, this pose can seem a bit uncomfortable, as you’ll be squatting on just one side. You’ll likely feel a deep stretch throughout the entire back of the left leg but that’s good! Don’t be afraid to come out of the pose and try it again if you need to open your feet a bit more.
While in the pose, you can keep your hands on the ground or on the supporting object in front of you or you can bring your hands together at your heart. Don’t forget to take a few breaths in this pose before using your hands to walk you back to the starting position and then over to the left side.
Skandasana is not recommended for women suffering from pelvic pain as you may overstretch the hips. If you’re feeling good however, Skandasana can be a really empowering pose for you to incorporate into your practice. Start by trying the pose with assistance (with the chair or yoga ball as suggested) and then work up to using just your hands.