During the second trimester the body will noticeably change shape, energy levels should increase and any symptoms of nausea will begin to fade.
It is possible to experience minor aches and pains as the uterus and abdomen grow. Back aches and pains near the pelvic bone are common due to the baby increasing in size and weight. The joints are beginning to loosen in preparation for labour so take care do not over stretch.
Shortness of breath may be experienced this is due to the baby applying pressure on the internal organs including the lungs. Maintaining good posture and taking long deep breaths will enable the lungs to expand sufficiently.
Lying on the left side will become a comfortable rest position for both relaxation and sleep, it will relieve pressure from the major blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the baby.
The following yoga postures are suitable for practicing during the second trimester.
Make sure that you listen to your body and if you feel pain or discomfort relax the posture immediately and focus on relaxation techniques instead.
Sukhasana (The Easy Pose)
This posture will allow you to rest and breathe slowly in preparation for your yoga practice. It is also possible to include some pelvic floor exercises whilst in this posture.
Sit with the ankles crossed and a straight spine. If you prefer this can be done with your back against a wall or by sitting on folded towels to elevate the hips if it feels more comfortable,(you can even just sit on a firm chair with a straight spine just make sure that both feet are firmly on the floor with the weight distributed evenly through the soles of your feet). Then lightly rest your hands onto your knees or thighs, broaden the upper back and release the shoulders away from the ears.
Lightly close the eyes and breathe slowly in and out through your nose. As you inhale draw up the pelvic floor muscles and as you exhale release the pelvic floor muscles. Repeat this for at least thirty slow complete breaths.
Dandasana (The Staff)
This posture will help to strengthen the back and encourage a straight spine.
Sit on your bottom with a straight spine and the legs extended in front of you. Direct your toes up so that your feet are flexed and lightly rest your hands onto your thighs.
Breathe slowly in and out through your nose for ten slow complete breaths.
As your abdomen grows you will need to widen the legs a little to accommodate the bump.
Pashchimotanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
This posture will gently stretch the hamstrings and release tension through the upper back.
From dandasana (the above posture) allow the upper body to relax forward.
Do not force the stretch. Allow the chin to drop onto the chest and release your shoulders away from your ears to give an extra stretch across the upper back.
Relax into the stretch and breathe slowly in and out through your nose for twenty complete breaths.
Wide Leg Forward Bend
This asana will maintain the flexibility of the inner thigh muscles, which will be useful for positioning the body during labour.
Begin sitting on your bottom with a straight spine extend the legs straight in front of you and then widen the legs a little. Keep the legs straight and slowly relax the upper body forwards, use your arms to support your upper body and make sure that you do not over stretch.
If you experience discomfort in the legs and the stretch feels too intense then allow the knees to bend.
Breathe slowly in and out through your nose for up to thirty slow complete breaths.
Tadasana (The Mountain)
This posture will bring awareness to maintaining correct alignment whilst standing, it also helps to strengthen the legs and prepare you for balancing postures.
Begin with your feet hip width apart and the outside edges of your feet parallel. Distribute your weight evenly through the soles of your feet, broaden your upper back and release the shoulders away from the ears, direct your chin towards your chest just a fraction so that the neck remains a natural extension of the spine.
Breathe slowly in and out through your nose as you focus on your alignment and weight distribution.
Palm Tree (Balancing on Balls of Feet)
This balance will help to strengthen the legs and improve your balance.
Beginning in tadasana (the mountain), rise onto the balls of the feet, lift your arms above your head, interlink your fingers and turn the palms to face the ceiling.
Breathe slowly in and out through your nose for five complete breaths or longer if your balance is good.
The Fig Tree
This posture will also strengthen the legs and improve your sense of balance.
Starting in tadasana (the mountain)n transfer all of your weight on to the right leg, extend the left leg behind you and lift it from the floor, the back of the knee remains straight and the foot stretches lengthening away from the body. The left arm extends above the head and the right lifts to the side and is level with the shoulder.
Hold for ten complete breaths and then repeat on the other side.
This posture is the perfect rest position and should be used for savasana (the corpse) from the beginning of the second trimester.
Lie on your left hand side, extend the left arm along the floor and above the head, the right arm and leg bends in front of the body to offer support. This posture is very similar to a version of the recovery position.
This asana will also be the chosen resting position for the later months of pregnancy for relaxation, meditation and some pranayama.
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.