Pregnancy is a magical time, full of wonder and joy. However, there are some growing pains (literally & figuratively) that come with your changing body. Check out my five favorite yoga moves for keeping your core strong, and your lower back happy during the 40 weeks of pregnancy and beyond.
Most teachers call this Cat & Cow, but I prefer rainbow and unicorn. 🙂
Begin on all fours with your hands shoulder-width apart and your knees hips distance apart. Take a deep breath in, and on the exhalation, round your spine in the shape of a rainbow around your baby. Imagine that you are sending love and light to the little one who has chosen you to be mommy.
After rainbow, inhale and lift your heart, gaze, and tailbone to the sky. Imagine that you have a horn like a unicorn and you want to point it to the sky. This stretch feels great for your belly and back. Continue to cycle through both shapes for 5-10 inhalations and exhalations.
While still on all fours, extend one arm forward and the opposite leg back. Try to keep your shoulder directly over your wrist. Feel a light hugging in the abdominal wall at the end of the exhale (no crunching, just support for your baby). Enjoy the shape on the first side for 5-10 breaths. Switch sides. Try to work up to 5 rounds of 5-10 breaths on each side. This exercise looks super easy, but it’s deceptive. It creates a lot of heat (and strength) very quickly. Take breaks whenever you need to.
Also known as the top of a push-up. Try to keep your body at a diagonal, so that the lower back does not dip down (ouch). On the other side of the coin, make sure that you do not lift your hips too high, as this takes away the work from the core. Try to sustain the pose for 3-5 breaths. If you feel like it is too much, bring your knees to the floor. Most pregnant goddesses feel strong holding the pose with deep full breathing for about 30 seconds. This is a great way to keep your core and your upper body strong. You are working the core as a stabilizer, so there is no compression on your baby.
This is a wonderful pose for releasing tension in the lower back. Have your hands about shoulder-width apart and your feet hips distance apart. If you are in the third trimester, it often feels good to take the feet a little wider. Feel your sit bones moving up and back as you lengthen the waist and breathe deeply. Envision your baby surrounded by love and light.
Desi Bartlett, MS CPT E-RYT is a pre and post-natal health & fitness expert and Fabletics Master instructor based in LA.