Yoga during the first trimester

During the first three months of pregnancy the body is undergoing many changes.  Both body and mind need to adjust to the pregnancy.  It is possible to experience nausea, fatigue, constipation, frequent urination, dizziness, mood swings and stress; these are all very normal occurrences during pregnancy.  Remember that every pregnancy is very different so experiences will vary from person to person and pregnancy to pregnancy, never compare your pregnancy with someone else’s, if you have any concerns speak to your midwife or GP.

Always consult your GP or midwife before commencing a yoga practice.

Here are a few yoga postures that are suitable to perform during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Pelvic tilt

Performing a simple pelvic tilt will help to release tension in the lower back and pelvis and help to adjust postural imbalances in this area.  It is also possible to activate the pelvic floor muscles at the same time.   Exercising the pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy is extremely beneficial due to the increased pressure placed on these muscles during pregnancy and learning to relax them is extremely beneficial during labour.

Lay on your back with your feet on the floor and the knees bent.  Make sure that your knees and feet are hip distance apart and that your knees are pointing straight up towards the ceiling.  Your weight should be evenly distributed through the soles of your feet.

As you inhale allow your lower back to arch and as you exhale sink the lower back into the floor and draw up the pelvic floor muscles.

Continue this technique for at least twenty repetitions whilst breathing slowly in and out through the nose.

Baddha Konasana (The Cobbler)

This posture will increase flexibility through the hips also strengthen the inner thighs which will be essential during labour.

Sit with the soles of the feet together whilst maintaining a straight spine.  Release the shoulders away from the ears and direct the chin toward the chest a fraction ensuring that the back of the neck remains long.  Hold onto the feet if this is not possible finger tips lightly rest on the floor beside the hips with the fingertips positioned forwards.

Connecting the breath and movement in this posture brings harmony to the body and mind, allow the knees to rise on an inhalation, as the exhalation takes place the knees release towards the floor.  It is also possible to activate the pelvic floor whilst performing this posture.  On the inhalation draw up the pelvic floor as the knees float up and as you exhale relax the pelvic floor as you lower the knees.  Make sure that there is no movement occurring in the shoulders and that the spine remains straight.  If you find this uncomfortable then you can raise the hips by sitting on a couple of folded towels or a bolster.

Breathe slowly in and out through the nose for twenty or more complete breaths.

 

Majrasana (The Cat)

This posture is fantastic for spinal alignment and releasing tension in the lower back and pelvic region and helps position the baby.

When practicing the cat it is essential that the spine does not curve towards the floor as in a normal practice.

Begin on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.  Make sure that your weight is distributed evenly between your hands and knees.  If you feel pain or discomfort in your wrists then you can perform this posture on your forearms.

Breathe out and look through the legs whilst rounding the back up towards the ceiling as you inhale return to a flat back.

Repeat for twenty slow complete breaths breathing in and out through your nose.

Variation 1

This variation of Majrasana (the cat) is also great for posture and spinal alignment it can also help to position the baby in the womb.

Begin in cat with a flat back and on an exhalation allow the right hip to protrude to the right, look over the right shoulder towards the hip, as the inhalation occurs return to starting position and then repeat on the other side.

Repeat for twenty slow complete breaths breathing in and out through your nose.

Variation 2

This variation of Majrasana (the cat) will strengthen the muscles in the legs and buttocks in preparation for labor.

Begin in cat with a flat back and on an inhalation the right leg remains bent and lifts out to the side as the exhalation occurs return to your starting position.

Repeat for sixteen slow complete breaths breathing in and out through your nose.

Vijrasana (The Thunder Bolt)

This posture will encourage healthy functioning of the digestive system.

This posture performed on the knees, traditionally it is executed with the hips on the floor this places the knees under stress, which is not necessary.

I recommend that you sit in a kneeling position with a straight spine.  Join your big toes with your knees a comfortable distance apart.  Sit with your bottom on your heels and rest the backs of the wrists on the thighs.

Breathe slowly through the nose as you hold the posture for thirty complete breaths or longer.

If you feel pain or discomfort in the knees relax the posture, you can always sit in a firm chair with a straight spine and breathe slowly.

Pindasana (The Child)

This posture provides a comfortable rest position it is executed from a kneeling position.

Begin with your bottom on your heels and a space between your knees, place the forehead onto the floor and relax your arms alongside your body.  As the baby grows the knees will need to move further apart.

If this is uncomfortable it is advisable to make fists with your hands and position them under your forehead.

Breathe slowly in and out through your nose, resting for as long as necessary.

 

Sue Fuller is a leading yoga teacher with a range of over 40 audio yoga classes, including a selection of pre and post natal Yoga classes.  All yoga classes are available on CD or as a MP3 download from www.wellbeingworldonline.com  or from www.yoga2hear.co.uk.   Classes are easy-to-follow and suitable for all levels of yoga experience.

Sue is also the author of The British School of Yoga Pre and Post Natal Yoga Teachers Course, The resident yoga expert for Natural Health Magazine UK and a mother of two.

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