For the past two years I have been practicing yoga as part of my weekly routine. I love how it challenges your concentration, focus, breathing, balance, strength, and most of all, it requires us to move through combined ranges of movement. Too often we stretch and mobilise in one single plane of movement or only move one part of the body. Yoga postures really encourage full body movements and there are a few that I particularly love to use during pregnancy. One thing to note about yoga poses is that because they involve full body movements, they can be produce a stronger stretching feeling. If you feel your body is not comfortable in these postures then please keep with the stretches we've been doing in previous weeks. The 4 movements I want to talk about this week are reverse warrior, side angle pose, downward facing dog, and dolphin pose.
A lovely pose for stretching the side body and hip. Begin in Warrior 2 which means front foot facing forwards with your knee bent and back foot outwards with foot flat. Then rest your elbow on the bent knee and reach upwards to the ceiling. Breathe into the areas of tightness and hold for the duration of the set.
Keeping the warrior lunge pose but sliding your hand down your back leg and reaching upwards with the opposite arm. The movements will open your ribs, side body and hips but should not be painful. This is a more advanced Yoga stretch that can be done during pregnancy and after but should be completed without pain. Maintain the pose and focus on your breathing for the duration of the set.
This is a great Yoga stretch that focusses on the back side on your body - shoulders, spine, hamstrings and calves and it is safe to complete during pregnancy and after. Begin on your hands and knees, tuck your toes under and push your hips upwards keeping your back as straight as possible. You can stretch both calves or shift your weight from side to side during the stretch.
A similar variation to downward facing dog but elbows are bent and you’re resting on your forearms. Begin with your knees down and on your forearms and then just lift your hips upwards.
Perform each exercise for 45 seconds on each side with 15 seconds rest.
‘x’ indicates the number of sets x 1, x 2, x 3
Perform each stretch for 60 seconds or 30 seconds on each side if required.