Start your session quietly breathing
Ujjayi. Quiet your mind by using the breath to heat and focus the
mind on your muscles, joints, and postural alignment. It may be
beneficial to incorporate deep breaths accompanied by arm movements
overhead and back down to your side. Always begin your session
with some warming breaths through the nostrils (called Ujjayi and
pronounced oo-jai-ee). Raise your arms overhead for the inhale and
lower them to your sides for the exhale.
Follow the sequence in number order.
#1 Child's Pose: Reach your arms outstretched
along the mat and engage (contract) the upper arm muscles and invigorate
the circulation of the arms. Press the buttocks back and down towards
the heels. #2 Come to all fours, equally pressing
down through all four fingers and thumb with crease of wrist lined
up under shoulder. #3 Engage abdominals, thighs, and buttocks
and rock forward and back several times.
#4 Cat Pose: Round
upper thoracic spine up as in the silhouette of a Halloween cat.
Draw in the navel and let your head relax down, neck long. #5
Cow Pose: Slowly bring
the gaze of the eyes up the wall towards the top of the wall in
front of you. Lengthen neck while you lift your gaze. The low back
naturally tilts in a lumbar curve. Do #4 and #5 several times.
#6 Downward Facing
Dog: (Note: If you
have been active in regular physical exercise during your pregnancy,
this pose will still be challenging. In your third trimester you
may choose Puppy Dog Pose due to the baby's size; however, it can
be done with hands on the mat or supported on a chair seat in front
of you and still achieve great benefits of this pose.) Engage the
fronts of your thighs and press them back, lengthen spine, relax
head and neck, and broaden across shoulders. The distance on the
mat between the wrists and the toes is approximately the length
of your leg. You may widen the space between your feet as your
#7: Walk feet to standing upright.
#8 Puppy Dog Pose: Press your hands firmly against the wall at
shoulder height and lengthen spine.
#9 and 10: Keep feet grounded and extend
arms to shoulder height. Use your waist muscles to gently twist
from side to side.
#11 and 12 Tree
Pose: Standing at
wall, place one hand on the wall for support, strengthen ankles
by contracting towards the center ankle bone. Bend the other leg
and place foot on calf or above knee on inner thigh. Switch legs.
#13 Supported Prasarita: Feet
positioned 4-feet apart, toes pointed straight forward, hands on
thighs for support, knees can be slightly bent, do not lock them,
lengthen spine through the crown of the head. #14 Hug
Elbow Forward Bend: If you feel too much pressure on your
low back, immediately put your hands on your legs for support.
#15 Forward Bend: Use
block, footstool or a pile of books to set your hands on for support.
#16: Use a chair to practice shoulder opening.
Lift your sternum; curl, roll, tuck your shoulders back. Use
your upper back muscles to arch your back into a gentle backbend.
Hold for 5-10 breaths. #17: Release shoulders
and slide hands down your leg and fold over your lap.
#18: Feet elevated
on chair, with blankets under shoulders and low back, is very relaxing
and relieves swelling in feet and ankles.
#19 & 20 Thread the Needle
your right ankle over your left thigh, then raise your left foot
off the floor. Press right shin towards chest until you feel a
hip stretch. Switch legs.
#21 Hug Knees
to Chest: Rock from side
to side. #22 Relaxation - Reclining Cobbler
Pose: This opens the
groin. Let soles of feet touch and arms relax over head with elbows
bent. If hips are tight, you may support each thigh with pillows.
Stay here at least five minutes and let your breath absorb your
body while you release all distractions from your mind.