Yoga during pregnancy
It has been advised that practising regular yoga is beneficial for pregnant women if repeated three times per week.
This is not a fitness routine, but a routine for softening and relaxing the mind, connecting the woman with the changes happening to her body.
During labour, the skills of yoga can help the expectant mother connect with her breathing, teaching them how to be more in tune with their body - while not a pain relief, it may help promote relaxation even during the more severe contractions.
Below are four yoga poses that can help the relaxation process during your pregnancy:
Bound angle pose
This pose helps stretch the groin muscles, can strengthen the muscles used for labour and increase the flexibility of the knees and inner thighs.
Sit comfortably on a mat or cushion. Have your spine tall, drawing your shoulders down toward the floor. Bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall - as if you are to sit cross-legged. Interlace your fingers around your feet. Hold for five seconds.
This pose is to help strengthen the arms, improve hip flexibility, tone the outer hips and stimulate the liver. When you are reaching the third trimester of your pregnancy, use blocks to bring the floor closer to you.
Spread your hands and press your palms firmly onto the ground. Send your hips up until you are in an inverted V-shape. With your toes on the ground, try get the heels of your feet flat. Hold for three seconds.
A gentle stretch to calm the brain can help relieve stress and exhaustion. This pose will stretch the hips and thighs, relieving any back and neck aches.
From downward-dog, bend your knees and kneel on your mat. Touch your feet together and push your hips down toward your heels. Open your knees to meet your hips and lay your chest flat to the floor. Rest your forehead to the ground and have your palms facing upward. Hold for five to 10 seconds.
This is a great pose to prepare for labour. A goddess squat stretches the thighs, opens the pelvic girdle and strengthens the inner thigh.
Stand with your legs apart, face your knees outward. Inhale and bring the arms up over your head. Exhale, bend the knees while bringing your thighs parallel to floor. Face your palms forward. Repeat 15 to 20 times.
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