When you have a mini-me growing inside you, battling fatigue, mood swings, painful cramps and sickness, a few yoga poses for pregnancy can feel like heaven. However, keep in mind that practicing your usual routine while pregnant is not recommended, as some asanas – such as deep back or forward bends and twists – can be dangerous in this situation. The best way to go about it would be to turn to a prenatal yoga specialist to avoid possible issues and get the full benefits. In the meantime, here are some helpful – and harmless – yoga poses for pregnancy you can try to relieve discomfort.
1. Mountain Pose
Mountain pose, or Parvatasana, is one of the most soothing yoga poses for pregnancy. It not only improves your body posture, but it also stretches the muscles in your arms, abdomen and, most importantly, back. Your back takes a lot of stress when you're pregnant, so it will really appreciate the love Parvatasana shows it. Fast tip: Mountain pose requires you to start in the lotus position but if your joints are not very happy about it, simply sit in sukhasana instead, and you can even use pillows to support your knees.
2. Butterfly Pose
Butterfly pose (Supta Baddha Konasana) is also great for pregnant ladies, strengthening your pelvic region and inner thighs, as well as relieving stress, depression and mood swings. What's more, it stimulates your abdominal organs and heart, improving general circulation. To avoid overstretching and make everything as comfy as possible, if I were you, I'd put some blankets or pillows under the outer thighs.
3. Puppy Pose
A more easygoing cousin of the Downward-Facing Dog, Uttana Shishosana is another one of the great yoga poses for pregnancy, as it's much less strenuous than Adho Mukha Svanasana. Puppy pose energizes the body, stretches the hands, shoulders, calves, hamstrings and arches, and relieves back pain, headaches and fatigue. An important warning, though: it should be avoided in the advanced stages of pregnancy. Also, don't let your belly drop towards the mat.
4. Polar Bear Pose
This is a comfier alternative to child's pose, as you keep your hips lifted, making more room for the belly. The Polar Bear will help take the pressure off your spine and your pelvis, calming and soothing your body. What's more, it's a great way to go deeper inside yourself and connect with your little one. Once in position, breathe deeply and visualize your precious baby resting inside you, like in a hammock.
5. Hero Pose
Another great prenatal yoga pose, Virasana relieves gas, improves digestion and strengthens the arches, while also reducing the dreaded swelling of the legs pregnancy usually gives you. As a variation, instead of keeping your hands on your thighs, place them on your belly and bring your focus inward. Close your eyes and breathe deeply and easily, to increase the flow of oxygen to your uterus, supporting both you and the little wonder growing inside you.
6. Warrior II
Warrior II is one of the best yoga poses for pregnancy not only due to its physical benefits but, most of all, because of the mental strength it gives you. While in this pose, you feel so empowered and so self-confident that, even if it's just for a moment, you are sure nothing can mess with you or your baby. Practicing Virabhadrasana II regularly can help you cultivate this quiet strength so that it stays with you in the most difficult moments you'll be facing as a mother.
7. Goddess Pose
Another empowering pose, Utkata Konasana prepares your body for childbirth, creating more room in your pelvis, and stretches your chest and hips. It also tones your upper back, shoulders and arms – this will surely come in handy after you give birth, as mothering requires lots of hours of baby-holding.
These poses will be very soothing for your pregnant body but again, I warmly recommend going to a specialized prenatal yoga class to make sure you are doing everything correctly and to get the most benefits for you and your baby. Do you know of any other asanas that are beneficial for pregnancy?