When it comes to catching my z's, avoiding the aches has been especially challenging. Too much twisting and turning to find the sweet spot ultimately leaves me with a sore back the next morning. But the one thing that has been a great help with these road bumps, day or night, is prenatal yoga!
I've got 5 moves from The Mindful Mom-to-Be author Lori Bregman that'll help relieve those aches and leave you feeling (more) limber. Well, as limber as someone carrying an extra 30-plus pounds can feel!
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1. Reclining Bound-Angle Pose. This move is great for helping to calm and relieve stress and nausea. It also opens up the front of the body to relaxation. You'll need a bolster or two firm pillows or yoga block for support.
To start: Place block (or stack of four hardcover books) lengthwise under the top of a bolster or stack of pillows. You'll want to prop it up on an incline. Sit with your back against the low end of bolster and your feet together on the floor. Bend your knees and slowly allow your legs to fall open toward the floor. Release your arms to your sides, which will cause your chest to open and your heart area to soften. Close your eyes and focus on your breath.
2. Seated Cross-Legged Forward Bend With Chair.
Remember that hip and back pain I mentioned earlier? This move will seriously have you feeling like a new woman. You'll need a chair for this position.
To start: Sit in a cross-legged position on the floor, with a chair facing you. Fold your body forward, as you rest your arms on the chair and your forehead on your forearms. Stay in this position for as long as you need to.
3. Cat/Cow Pose. Practice this move regularly to help stretch your back and open your pelvic area.
To start: Get on your hands and knees with your hands shoulder-distance apart. Look up as you inhale and slowly arch your back and tailbone up to the sky. As you exhale, look down and round your back while tucking your tailbone down toward the floor.
4. Low Lunge. This pose helps to open up, stretch, and lengthen some of the areas that can be major pain points during pregnancy. Lookin' at you, hips, chest, groin, legs, and spine.
To start: Kneel with your right foot forward until your heel is flat on the ground and a little to the right (helps maintain balance). Stretch forward until your right knee is directly over the right ankle. Keep your back knee on the ground as you place your hands on the right knee. If you can, press your fingers or palms into the floor and lift the top of your head toward the ceiling. Press your chest forward as you roll your shoulders back. Slowly straighten your back leg as you press your heel toward the floor. Relax your hips and let them move toward the ground. Hold pose for 3 to 6 full breathes. Repeat on other side by sliding your left leg forward and stepping your right foot back.
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5. Restorative Downward-Facing Dog Pose. This is another great move for relieving back pain, without straining the body.
To start: Get on all fours on your mat. Tuck your toes under and bring your heels up as you lift your butt up and press back toward your heels. Reach your arms straight out in front of you and press your forehead into your mat. Inhale deeply into your upper back through your nose and as you exhale, allowing your chest to drop.