Doctors say that pregnant women should stay active during those nine months and engage in some kind of light physical activity as it will keep them energetic and fresh. While some exercises can be very demanding and can harm the baby, yoga is a gentle form of physical activity, which can benefit pregnant women in several ways. Yoga for pregnant women is a perfect mix of stretching and strengthening. Yoga is awesome for pregnant women as it brings mindfulness, which increases awareness about your own body. In India, there are many yoga teacher training institutes to learn yoga poses which are helpful for women in pregnancy.
It is recommended to try yoga during pregnancy only under expert supervision. It is said that women who practice yoga in pregnancy still need a Childbirth Preparation class, but prenatal yoga can help tremendously in breath control and pain management. Here’s a look at which yoga poses for pregnant women can help ease your journey towards childbirth.
You can also join me, Liza Janda, at YogaDownload.com: Prenatal Yoga 2 led by Liza Janda, & YogaDownload.com: Prenatal Yoga 1 led by Liza Janda.
Wide-knee child pose (Balasana)
If you have even slightest idea and practice of yoga, you may know about this restorative yoga pose for pregnant women. When you proceed towards second and third trimester, your belly becomes heavy, and the Balasana will help relieve discomfort. It’s also a “Go-To Pose” any time during your yoga practice.
Fire Log pose (Agnistambhasana)
This yoga pose is really helpful in getting rid of back pain in pregnancy. It also helps in making space for your belly and opens the back and hips. Additionally, it relieves the tension from glutes.
One-legged King Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana)
Just like the previous pose, this is a hip opener asana, which is ideal for getting rid of the tension in the lower back and reducing back pain in pregnancy.
Supported Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
This is one of the relaxing yoga poses for pregnant women. When you want to do a backbend without stretching your abdomen, this supported back-bend helps. Plus, you keep your legs bent in the pose which means it also works as a soothing hip-opener pose. In the photo below, she is not bending her knees. But you can bend the knees with your feet on the mat. Then open your legs to the side. This is not appropriate after the second trimester because it requires the mom to lie in a supine position. Lie on a couple of blocks or use a yoga bolster.
Low Lunge Twist Pose (Parivrtta Sanchalasana)
It is a myth that pregnant women should avoid doing any kind of twists in yoga. The reality is you should only avoid the poses which compress your body or belly against the knees. The solution is sticking to open twists as there is no compression to your joints or any other organ.
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
Another move for relieving the tension in your lower back during pregnancy is the forward bend pose. You simply need to keep the feet a little wider than before, and it would feel relaxing.Or you can place each hand on a block.
Legs Up The Wall Pose (ViparitaKarani)
There will come a time during your pregnancy when you would not like to lie on the back, and during that time, you can make use of a pillow under the hips and lower back so that you can create an angle for the pose instead of the straight back. Even when you are not doing yoga for pregnant women and simply sitting, it is better to keep a small stool under your feet to elevate them for relieving soreness or swelling.
Seated Side Bend (Sukhasana Variation)
If you are having back pain or stiffness during pregnancy, this pose will help in getting rid of it. You can perform the asana with open or crossed legs.
Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana- Bitilasana)
The pose is helpful in relieving the pressure from your belly. You need not to worry about pushing far in the deep bend. You simply need to focus on moving easily with the breath.
Squat Pose (Malasana)
When you move ahead in your pregnancy, the body produces hormone relaxin which can make you feel flexible. However, be careful not to move beyond your flexibility limit. The pose will make you feel great during pregnancy.
Wide- Angle Seated Forward Bend (Upavistha Konasana)
The pose is helpful in relieving some pressure from your lower back. It will also help in relaxing a bit from the weight of the belly. It’s helpful to sit on a block or the folded edge of a blanket.
Dolphin Pose (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana)
If you are a regular yoga practitioner, and the downward dog is your favorite pose, the dolphin pose will help in opening up your shoulders and upper back. You can also bring some variation in the pose by pressing your arms against the wall, walking feet or two back, and then lowering your head down. This is a great alternative to Downward Dog if you have wrist or carpal tunnel issues.
These are some of the yoga poses, which are safe to be practiced during pregnancy. However, do take your doctor’s advice if you have any complications in the pregnancy and perform these poses under the supervision of a yoga expert.
Devakar Sandhu is a renowned yoga practitioner with more than 10 years of experience in yoga teaching. He holds a certification in 200-hour and 500-hour Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh Course. He guides and suggests ways for lifestyle modification through yoga.