Every pregnancy is unique and every childbirth precious! And this journey can be made easier, healthier, happier, and stress-free with yoga as your companion. In this article, let us go through some postures that can be done from the very first day of your pregnancy until you go into labor.
1. Ujjayi Breathing
Breathe, breathe, breathe! This is something you will keep hearing during your labor. So let’s prepare for just that with Ujjayi breathing, also known as the victorious breath or the ocean breath.
- Begin by sitting in a comfortable pose, either on the floor or in a chair or even in the supine position. Make sure that your spine is straight.
- Keeping the mouth closed, start breathing in and out through your nose. With every deep inhalation, fill your chest, belly, and lower abdomen with fresh air.
- Exhale slowly through your nose while constricting the muscles in the back of your throat and produce a wave-like sound (variation: exhale normally).
- Practice this any time during the day and deepen your regular breathing as well.
- Relieves mental and physical stress
- Is a natural energy booster
- Strengthens comfortable and
- Strengthens you to push through the labor pain
2. Marjari Asana
Also known as the cat stretch, this pose also helps improve the flexibility of your spine.
- Go on all fours and keep your arms perpendicular to the floor, with the hands directly under the shoulders and flat on the ground. Your knees should be wide apart without any pressure on the baby bump.
- Inhale deeply, raise your chin and tilt your head back, push your navel and chest downward, and raise your tailbone simultaneously. Hold the pose and take long, deep breaths.
- While exhaling, drop your chin to your chest and arch your back up as much as you can to form a curve and relax the buttocks.
- Repeat this 5–15 times without exerting your body and with a deep mental and physical awareness.
- Tones and strengthens your abs safely during pregnancy
- Helps reduce the bloating
- Boosts breast-milk formation
- Conditions the lower spine for normal delivery
- Reduces heartburn, an annoying symptom of pregnancy
Also known as the hare pose, this is a variation of the child’s pose.
- Sit comfortably in Vajrasana with knees wide apart to accommodate the
- Inhale and raise your hand straight upward and stretch.
- Now exhale and bend forward. Try to touch your nose or chin to the ground without removing the hips from the heels. Keep your arms stretched with palms facing down.
- Practice normal deep breathing in this posture as long as you feel comfortable.
- While inhaling, rise back up with straight arms.
- Exhale and bring your hands down and keep your palms on your thighs.
- Prevents tightness during pregnancy and belly expansion
- Helps relieve back pain
- Stretches the inner thigh muscles, a great help during labor
- Provides better circulation to the growing embryo
Malasana comes from the Sanskrit word Mala, which means waste (excreta). Indeed, the traditional way of using the toilet in India is by squatting on the floor, and this is what Malasana is all about!
- Stand straight with your feet and legs comfortably wide apart. Spread the soles and toes of both feet.
- Take a deep breath and while exhaling, squat with your spine straight. Keep your heels on the floor if you can. Use a pole or your partner’s support if required.
- While inhaling, rise up with your arms in a comfortable position (on the sides, supporting the thighs, or straight up in the air).
- Releases tension in the hips, lower back, and ankles
- Strengthens the perineum
- Acts as an intense opener
5. Titli Asana
Titli is an Sanskrit word that means butterfly. In Titli asana, you body movement is similar to that of the wings of a butterfly and hence the name butterfly pose.
- Sit comfortably on a pillow or a block so that the hips are higher than the knees.
- Position your legs so that the soles of your feet are touching each other.
- Try to position your feet as close to your pubic area as possible.
- Grasp your feet with your hands and sit up with your back as straight as possible.
- Start moving the knees and thighs up and down, as if flapping the wings, with normal breathing. Practice 20–30 rounds.
- Helps in long, strong, deep contractions during labor
- Acts as a good hip opener
- Relaxes the whole body
- Strengthens the spine
Remember that there is no substitute for Yoga done under