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PRE-NATAL YOGA PRACTICE

IMPORTANT! Before beginning your exercise program, talk with your doctor to make sure you do not have any obstetric or health condition that would limit your activity. Variations and modifications of the postures must take into account the needs and restrictions of the individual. Detailed guidelines are available at The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. We encourage you read through this important and informative resource.

 

Session 1 2 3 4

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 Prenatal Practice Sessionand 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 pregnancy progresses.

#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 Pose: Cross 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.