How to Do Yoga Pregnancy Postures

Practicing Yoga during pregnancy calls for caution — no single posture or routine works the same way for everyone. Plus, what feels right during one trimester may not be appropriate during the next. In general, postures that allow you to gently increase flexibility in your hips should be useful as you prepare for giving birth, and a number of postures achieve that safely.

Side-lying posture

Use the side-lying posture as an alternative to the corpse posture (shavasana) in your practice. You may also want to use the posture on its own to relieve feelings of general fatigue or nausea during pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period, or as a good position for nursing. You need four or five blankets or three large pillows.

  1. Lie on your side on a comfortable surface.

  2. Place one of the pillows or blankets under your head and the other just in front of you on the floor between the top of your thighs and the bottom of your chest.

    Hang your top arm over the pillow in front of you.

  3. Bend your knees and place two blankets between your feet and your knees.

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Stay and breathe naturally for as long as you feel comfortable. Repeat as often as you need to.

The cat and cow

This posture, a variation of the cat (chakravakasana), extends the lower back and helps relieve symptoms of general back pain caused by pregnancy.

Don’t exaggerate or force your lower back down in Step 4. Don’t practice this pose if you experience any negative symptoms.

  1. Starting on your hands and knees, look straight ahead.

  2. Place your knees at hip width and your hands below your shoulders.

    Straighten your elbows, but don’t lock them.

  3. As you exhale, arch your back like a cat.

    Turn your head down and look at the floor.

  4. As you inhale, slowly look up toward the ceiling and drop your lower back, so that the shape of your back resembles that of a cow.

  5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 six to eight times.

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The cobbler’s posture: Badda konasana

The cobbler’s posture helps you prepare for delivery by opening your groin and hips. It also improves alignment and provides a sitting posture for advanced breathing (remember — no holding your breath) and meditation techniques.

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you.

    Place your hands palms down at your sides with your fingers forward.

  2. Shake your legs out in front of you a few times.

  3. Bend your knees outward and slide the soles of your feet towards each other until they touch.

    Hold the sides of your feet and lift gently up from the chest.

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Sit in the posture for 30 seconds to a minute; as you progress, you can gradually increase to 3 to 5 minutes.

If your knees aren’t close to the floor you can sit on blankets or place the blankets under your knees.

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