Just before I jetted off to Ireland to prepare for the arrival of baby no. 2, I filmed this pre-natal variation of a sun salutation with my bump of 34.5 weeks. I love the simple flow of this – it’s a practice you can even do on its own and will only take a few minutes out of your day.
A few rounds can really help to get the blood flowing and ease pregnancy aches and pains, such as tightness in your hips, lower back, chest and shoulders. It also does wonders to settle the crazy, monkey mind that can often be relentless during pregnancy!
The pre-natal salute is a little different from your regular yoga sun salutation, so here are some tips to consider and a step by step guide to practicing with a little bean (or large bean, as is my case!) on board…
- Stand with your feet hip width apart to make space for your growing baby
- Inhale, reach arms up
- Exhale fold forward, placing hands between feet or on block for support
- Inhale lift head and lengthen back
- Exhale step feet back and drop knees hip width apart to mat, keep shoulders over your wrists
- Inhale and move hips slightly back bringing shoulders back behind wrists
- Exhale bend elbows and lower, scooping forward and bringing shoulders back over the line of your wrists
- Inhale and press up as you would do in caturanga, bringing arms to straight
- Exhale push back to downward dog, or take half dog / child’s pose instead
- After a few breaths, bring thumbs to touch at top of mat, inhale and step feet to outside of hands, lengthen your spine
- Exhale fold forward, keeping head slightly lifted
- Inhale reach arms up and exhale hands to heart. Repeat as often as you like.
Just an extra note on downward dog – it is a great stretch for the whole body and personally I love it and have continued to practice it throughout both my pregnancies. However there are times when it might not work for you. It should not be included in your yoga practice if it feels stressful in any way or:
- If you have high blood pressure or have or are at risk from preeclampsia, a disorder that can occur after around 20 weeks of pregnancy
- If you have an excessive amount of amniotic fluid in your body in the 2nd or 3rd trimester
- If you are having difficulty in getting the baby into a head down position during your 3rd trimester – for example, the baby was in a breech or transverse position and it took time to get it from this to head down. In these cases, you would stop downward dog for the remainder of your pregnancy.
Above all, it is vital that you listen to your body, and stop anytime you feel discomfort. The beauty of pregnancy is that it is a time when everything that we do, we do for more than just ourselves…
It’s not very often and shortly lived that we are truly blessed with having more than one heart.
Music credit: Daphne Tse, Saraswati Mata from the album, Mata 2009