A woman’s body is truly amazing, it can grow, and nurture another human being.
Whilst I was pregnant with my daughter I remember Just marvelling at what my body was able to do but at the same time my days were sprinkled with utter fatigue in the first few months, morning sickness that didn’t just stick around for the morning and back pain …oh and not to forget the restless legs at night!
Aside from all the typical ailments that come along with pregnancy the one thing that I longed for was to return to my beloved yoga practice.
So after having my 12-week scan, I took myself to my local yoga class along with a friend, excited and desperate at the same time to finally stretch and relax my body after enduring three months of returning from work and sliding straight into bed after a stressful days work.
I arrived at the door to the class to be looked up and down by the instructor and told that I would not be permitted to take part in the class as I was pregnant!!!
I waddled back to my car with my loyal friend in tow and just burst into (now looking back – hormonal) tears as soon as I squeezed behind the steering wheel. I was made to feel inferior and a hindrance just because I was pregnant.
So not to be beaten I educated myself through reading, books, blogs and watching videos on prenatal/pregnancy Yoga. I exercised at home practising safe postures and breathing techniques. Some days just practising breathing techniques whilst driving to work whilst navigating stressful rush hour traffic.
Shortly after the birth of my daughter I then went on to train to become a specialised pre and postnatal yoga instructor so that I could help, nurture and guide other women in my Pregnancy and Mummy yoga classes and support them to ride the waves during this emotional and sometimes daunting time.
With a cocktail of increased progesterone levels, increased blood production, and potentially low blood sugar and low blood pressure. You may be dreaming of your oh so comforting duvet.
Sometimes it does you good to just give in to the tiredness, rest, go to bed earlier than usual and recharge.
If you are feeling as I did whilst pregnant; that your body just needs to stretch and restore itself give these relaxing and restorative poses a try at home.
You can try each pose on its own or link the poses together to make a fatigue busting sequence.
Rest in each pose for 5 x breaths or as long as feels comfortable.
Balasana (Child’s Pose)
This is a relaxing and restorative pose. Listen to the breath as you breathe in and out. Try not to allow the mind to wander, just concentrate on the here and now.
Sit on your heels, spread your knees and bring your big toes together. Inhale, lengthen your spine as you exhale fold forward from the hips, rest your head on yoga blocks as Gill one of my students has done here or use a stack of books, several blankets or cushions on top of each other.
Uttana Shishosana (Extended Puppy Pose)
My students practice this pose frequently in my classes. The pose is relaxing and can help baby to move into the optimal birthing position.
Begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Use blocks, books or folded blankets to rest your forehead on. Ensure your hips are stacked over your knees, stretch your arms forward, palms on the floor. Relax your neck and shoulders.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
This pose is a lovely pose to stretch the back, by using gravity this pose can help your baby into the optimal birthing position.
Begin on your hands and knees in tabletop position, curl the toes under, lift the knees off the floor, push the hips up to the sky, press into the fingertips and palms of the hands, making an upside down V shape with your body. Relax the shoulders, I am not here but if you prefer you can rest your head on folded blankets cushions, blocks or stack of books. Bend each knee and press the alternate heel down to increase circulation.
Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior 2 Pose)
This flow creates strength in the body and focuses the mind.
From standing with both feet facing the front of the mat, step the left foot back. Turn the left heel 90 degrees to give a stable base. Extend the arms. Palms facing down. Bend the right knee. Ensure the hips do not twist. Turn the neck and head and gaze down the front middle finger. Stay here for 3 x breaths. Then on an inhalation of breath, straighten your right knee, sweep both arms up overhead into a high prayer as you exhale extend the arms, bend the right knee.
Move in and out of both poses moving with the breath, keep your breath long and smooth. Finish by holding the warrior 2 pose for 3 x breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Nicki Austin is a Yoga Alliance Professionals Qualified Pre & Post Natal Yoga Instructor.
Nicki offers Pregnancy Yoga and Mummy Yoga Classes in Wakefield, Pontefract and Leeds.
Free Class, just quote Mumbler Pregnancy Month when booking a block of classes in November and December 2017 to claim