Childbirth is an emotional and physical rollercoaster for women and this phase demands overall wellbeing. In today’s time, there are multiple fitness regimes available for expecting mothers, and Yoga, one of the ancient, natural, and trusted practices is equally popular. In addition to providing relief during nine-months, performing Yoga can also help one prepare for labor and delivery. Yoga asanas makes one’s body flexible which reduces the pressure around cervix by opening the pelvic region. Performing Pranayams guide in deep breathing, relaxing the mind and reduce effects of symptoms like morning sickness. Here are five Yoga asanas curated by Shraddha Chondhe, Yoga and Wellness Instructor, Institute of Nutrition and Fitness Sciences (INFS) which pregnant women can perform at the comfort of the home. However, it is advised to consult your doctor before committing to any workout regime during pregnancy.
Cat Stretch or Marjariasana
This pose helps awaken the spine as well as helps the baby get in a suitable position for the delivery. Other than stretching neck and shoulders and improving blood circulation, this asana helps in supporting the back muscles which needs more support as pregnancy progresses.
- To perform this asana, one needs to form a table where the back represents the top and hands and feet represents the legs of the table.
- Arms should be exactly beneath the shoulder and legs beneath the hips.
- Look ahead straight such that the spine goes little down towards the floor.
- Now on exhaling, gently press the middle of the spine backward towards the ceiling and firmly press down with hands.
- Curl the head inwards and look at the distance between the knees.
- Make sure hands do not bend.
- Now while inhaling come back to the table position.
- Now again curl the spine backward. Repeat this pose for 10-20 times.
Veerbhadrasana (Warrior 1 Pose)
This asana improves body balance and strengthen legs, arms, shoulder and back muscles. Veerbhadrasana massages liver and spleen, improves digestion and relieves from lower back discomfort and tailbone pain arising from pregnancy.
- For this pose, stand with your feet four-five feet apart.
- Turn the back foot out on a 45-degree angle and press all sides of the foot into the ground.
- Lift up through the chest and encourage the hips to face forward.
- Bend through the front leg encouraging that leg to come to a 90-degree angle.
- Lift the arms up over head and take the gaze up.
Badhakonasana (Butterfly Pose)
A very common and popular asana, butterfly pose improves flexibility in the groin and hip area. It also stretches the thighs, reduces fatigue and helps in a smooth delivery process.
- To perform this asana, bend both knees and place the soles of your feet together.
- Allow your legs to release out to the sides.
- Now start flapping both legs up and down like the wings of a butterfly.
- Start slow and gradually increase the speed.
Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall Pose)
This posture is effective in improving lower back pain and refreshing the complete body. This asana eases the blood flow in the pelvic region, comforts swollen ankles and also combats nausea- a common symptom amongst pregnant women.
- Bringing one side hip as close as possible to the baseboard of the wall.
- Swing your legs up the wall until you are reclined on your back with your hips close to the wall.
- Extend your legs up against the wall.
- You can bend your knees slightly, especially if your hamstrings feel tight.
Yoga Nidra (Yogic sleep)
Yoga Nidra or deep relaxation helps to recharge and calms your mind. Not only does it reduce stress and anxiety, Yoga Nidra helps regulate blood pressure and deeply relaces every cell in the body.
- Traditionally, practising Yoga Nidra involves lying on your back, in the pose of the corpse (shavasana).
- Close your eyes and slowly relax each part of your body bit by bit, from each toe, up to the crown of your head.
- Once this is done, follow the reverse path, from the top of your head to your toes.
These yoga poses can help expecting mothers to take charge of their bodies and help in easing and enhancing this beautiful journey of motherhood. It goes without saying that one should take assistance from an expert to know about pre-natal and post-partum wellbeing. Institute of Nutrition and Fitness Sciences (INFS) recently conducted a six-hour weekend workshop on Pregnancy and Postpartum Nutrition and Fitness which focussed on spreading awareness through science and evidence-based knowledge and busting myths and rumours floating around, about the whole process.
Practice yoga to find peace and strength and follow a healthy and easy pregnancy journey. Don’t forget to keep in mind the safety tips to avoid any injury.
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