Isn’t it awe-inspiring the transformations a body goes through as she prepares to give birth to another human being?
If you’ve ever been pregnant yourself or know someone who was, I’m sure you will agree.
The process is extremely rewarding, but will also put a major strain on a woman’s body. As the baby grows (and belly expands!) the centre of gravity shifts.
To stay healthy and mobile, the body needs a bit of help to realign, strengthen, and stay supple.
More and more women turn to pre-natal yoga to keep the body healthy and supple. Not only is doing yoga a great way to gain awareness of your changing body and connect with it on a whole different level, yoga helps bring more calming and centredness into your life.
Just bear in mind that pregnancy is not the time to build strength and push your body, but a time to support its changing needs and to nurture yourself. Gentle pre-natal yoga is easy to do.
Here are three Yoga poses illustrated by Colleen Simmonds, Singapore’s most experienced Pre-natal Yoga Instructor (and mother of three). Do visit Colleen’s website for more yoga poses (and very handy tips for an easy birth) or sign up for one of her classes at Mother & Child.
→ An essential exercise for strengthening the back and abdominal muscles for relaxing the pelvis.
Begin on the hands and knees, with legs, hip distance apart. Head should be held in line with the spine. On the inhale raise the chin upwards, but maintain a straight or neutral spine. On the exhale, drop the chin to the chest and tuck your tailbone under, pulling in the pelvic floor muscles, giving your baby a gentle squeeze with your tummy muscles. Repeat at least 5-10 times, moving with the breath.
→When done regularly, squats tone and strengthen the pelvic floor and uterus and improve circulation to the feet, legs and lower body. The hips become more flexible and relieve lower back pain by reducing the curve in the lower back. This pose also massages the small and large intestines and pelvic area, helping with constipation and improve digestion.
Seated Wide Leg Stretch
→Works deeply into the inner thigh muscles and is excellent to practice during pregnancy in preparation for birth. Forward bending can be more accessible for those with tight hips by sitting on a cushion. Deep forward bends are not recommended for those with back injuries. This stretch stimulates the kidneys, liver, pancreas, stretches and strengthens the spine, and calms the nervous system.
Sit with legs extended in front of the body. Open legs to accommodate tummy. Inhale, stretch arms above head, extend spine. Exhale, reach forward and place hands on toes or shin. wherever it is comfortable. Breathe, pull up thigh muscles and extend heels. Come up on an inhalation. repeat.
Tip: Maintain correct posture by keeping the back as straight as possible. Fold at the hips, not at the waist.