An Uncomplicated Life Blog: Advanced Prenatal Yoga Poses

Monday, March 24, 2014

Advanced Prenatal Yoga Poses

As it would turn out, I'm wayyyyyyyy "granola" when it comes to healthcare. Meaning, I don't dig conventional medicine. I don't like the concept of popping pills to fix symptoms of problems far larger and more systemic to one's lifestyle choices. When it comes to this little babe I'm toting around everywhere with me, I'm no different.

I've elected to give birth to my son at a birth center. The cesarean section rate in Texas is near 70%, and that FRIGHTENS me. There won't be an M.D. or epidural in sight; rather, I'll work with my midwife and family to utilize alternative pain management methods such as water therapy, massage, and laughing gas, if I so chose. I know, I know, that's a lofty goal! I can't tell you how many women have heard me say that and given me a huge eye roll with a "good luck with that!" (LADIES! What is up with the 'tude about someone else's birthing choices?!) But I've been spending my time doing some "prep work" to get me in tippity-top shape for this massive venture I'll take on in early June: Yoga!

Increasing flexibility yoga pose: Downward Facing Dog 

Most know that yoga involves stretching, balance and breathing through postures. But it also focuses on methods in stress reduction; being present; breath control and athletics. All of these things will help tremendously in my natural birth! They've also come in quite handy in just managing the difficulties of pregnancy. And before I became pregnant, they helped in simply better handling and managing life! I can't tell you how many times my previous bosses have asked me in the midst of a work-crisis, "How are you so calm right now?!" to which I responded with a smile, "Yoga."

Increasing flexibility yoga pose: Seated Cow with Eagle Arms

Now that I'm massive and in my third trimester, I can't run (hellooooooooo round ligament pain!), I struggle to walk more than four miles at once (again, the ligaments! ahhhhh ligaments!), barre classes work but my balance is sub-par with this big ol' belly and Pilates is becoming more and more challenging as I spend half the class creating modified moves for myself. Yoga has remained one of my constants; I can still do nearly everything I used to and have safely modified my inversions to be preggo-friendly.

Yoga will help you, pregnant or not, build strength in your core, thighs, arms and shoulders (to name just a few key areas). It will help calm your mind and sharpen your focus. It will help you concentrate on your breath, which helps you move forward in difficult situations whether they be work-related or in your personal life. It will bring world peace and cure world-violence. Juuuuuuuust kidding, but I'm pretty sure we'd all be a bit more kind and friendly to each other if we all had a regular yoga practice!

You can find my yoga mat here, top (non-maternity) here, and maternity yoga crops here. In addition to the poses above, here are some of my favorites to practice:

Strength building yoga pose: Chaturanga Dandasana
Increasing flexibility yoga pose: Mermaid's Pose
Strength building yoga pose: Crow
 Strength building inversion: 3/4 Tripod Headstand *I list this as 3/4 because I choose to keep a knee balanced on my arm to safely invert while pregnant. If you're pregnant and didn't do this pose beforehand, DO NOT attempt while pregnant! If you are new to yoga, don't attempt this pose until you have an instructor to safely guide you through it.
Increasing flexibility yoga pose: Hero
Strength building yoga pose: Running Man
Most of these yoga poses are advanced, but if you keep practicing throughout your pregnancy, you'll be able to enjoy the benefits of yoga through the end!


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