The New Year is a big time where a lot of us start over, set goals and integrate new habits into our lifestyles. It’s also a time to relax from the hustle and the bustle of the previous busy year and from many holiday parties.
Here are a few prenatal-approved poses that are great for restoration and for creating more energy:
Meditation and centering: I always like to start off class with a centering meditation, which is designed to connect mama with baby, right from the start. Find this comfortable posture by sitting up against a wall and make sure to use props to support your body wherever you may be stiff or otherwise feeling discomfort. Bring your feet in to touch and gently straighten your posture. Tune in to how your body is feeling and begin to scan each area, starting with your head and face and moving all the way down to your feet and toes. Take more time to reflect on your baby and tune into how he or she is feeling. Breathe deeply and start to come out of the seated pose in about three minutes, or whenever you are ready.
Quick Flow For More Energy
You can do each pose slowly and meditatively, or crank up the volume by running the poses together for a gentle vinyasa.
Cat/Cow - stretches the hips, relieves back pain
Start on your hands and knees in a traditional “tabletop” position. Check to make sure that your knees are directly below your hips. Draw your gaze down to the floor and make sure your head is also in a neutral position. Exhale as you begin to round your spine up toward the ceiling, arching just like a cat might, while at the same time drawing your head toward the floor. Inhale as you return back and lift your chest up towards the ceiling. In this cow pose, your belly sinks towards the floor. Begin to look forward out in front of you and when you are ready, exhale to return back to tabletop. Repeat a few times until you are ready to move on to the next poses.
Triangle - opens the chest and shoulders, strengthens the back, stretches the pelvic area
Start from standing. Extend your arms out long and have your palms face down as you step your left leg forward and your right leg back. Allow your left toes to point forward straight ahead and begin to turn your back foot in so that the arch of your back foot lines up with the heel of your front foot. Make sure your legs remain straight. On an exhalation, extend your torso to the left and bend from your hip joint. Rest your hand on your ankle or wherever you can easily reach and begin to extend your right arm up towards the sky. Relax your head and neck.
Goddess Pose -strengthens the legs and opens the hips
Start standing and turn your toes out towards the sides of your mat. Begin to bend your knees as you sink your hips down. Bring your arms out and bend your elbows to hold your palms up, facing out. You can stay still in this pose or pulse it up and down.
Garland/Squat Pose – stretches the ankles and back
Start standing and once again, turn your toes out towards the sides of your mat. Begin to bend your knees as you sink your hips down, this time lowering all the way down, or as far as it feels comfortable. You can also use blocks or a blanket as a support during this posture. Hold for as long as it is comfortable and focus on spreading your knees outward.
Do 4 times as gentle vinyasa and then return back to the bound angle pose from the start (bring your feet in to touch). Continue to breathe deep and get ready to head into your day.
Kelly is a yoga teacher and wellness consultant in Austin, Texas. She specializes in prenatal yoga and completed her 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) training in 2011 at Pranayoga School of Yoga and Health in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Since then, she has taught a variety of classes in the Midwest and facilitated four sold-out workshops. She is also a certified personal trainer and has experience teaching prenatal Pilates. Her goal is to help clients learn to relax and to live in peace in the present moment.