Pregnancy is the time when a woman needs to take utmost care of her health for the benefit of herself and her unborn child. Apart from a healthy and balanced diet, exercising can go a long way in ensuring a safe and easy delivery along with giving you better results in getting back to shape. Yoga is one of the most effective ways to relax your body and your mind without putting a lot of pressure on yourself which can drain your energy. Here are some yoga asanas that you can practice during pregnancy:

1. Baddhakonasana or Bound angle pose

For this, you need to sit down on the floor and then join your heels together. Try to bring your heels closer to your body while keeping your knees close to the floor. Ideally, they should touch the floor but you should try to do it only to the extent it’s comfortable. Then exhale and move your body forward at a 45-degree angle, hold the pose for 20 seconds and inhale while coming back to the initial position. Repeat this in sets of three.

For your knees to touch the floor, first you should try the butterfly pose in which you can slowly move your knees up and down. It’s the same pose in which you sit in the Badhhakonasana. With enough practice, you would be slowly able to push your knees all the way down to the floor.

The target areas of this asana are the hips, the feet and the thighs. It helps to relieve the stiffness in your pelvic area for ease during childbirth. It also helps to ease the pain of swollen feet which might occur during pregnancy.

2. Nuakasana or the Boat pose

For this asana, sit down on the floor with your legs stretched in front of you. Lift your legs at around a 45-degree angle with the toes pointing upwards. You can take the support of your hands which you can place on the floor behind your back. Try to balance the pose with your hands stretched forward beside your legs, but if you feel pressure on your hips then you can use the support of your hands behind your back. Hold the pose in the position for 20 to 30 seconds and then gently bring your legs back to the ground. Practice this in sets of three.

This pose helps to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles.

3. Adhomukha svanasana or the Downward dog pose

For this, you need to place your hands and legs on the floor while you are in a downward-facing position. Stretch your hands forward while keeping a shoulder-wide distance between them. Push your hips and legs upwards so that you stand on them. The distance between your legs should be equal to the distance between your hands while you open your legs. Relax your head placed between your arms and look down. Exhale and inhale during the process and hold the pose for 20 seconds. Return to normal position by lifting your heels and dropping your body to the down-facing tabletop position. Repeat the process 3 times to complete a round.

This pose helps to stretch the lower body by stretching your calves and ankles which help to relieve foot pain. It builds strength in your arms and shoulders through the weight of your body and also stretches the spine. Overall, it is for building strength, relaxing the body and improving blood circulation.

4. Balasana or the Child’s pose

For this pose, sit on your knees folded and back straight. You can keep your knees joined or apart as per your choice. Breath out and let your body fall to the floor slowly by stretching your hands forward, down to the floor. Keep your head down to the floor while you stay in this pose for 20 to 30 seconds. Slowly breathe in and return to the original position with your back straight and hands placed on your knees. Repeat the process 3 times.

This is another pose to stretch the hips, thighs and ankles. It also helps to relieve back pain or neck pain while mentally releasing stress.

5. Kalyasana or Leaf pose

For this asana, stand up straight and then spread your legs almost 3 feet apart. Push yourself down while bending your legs to build some pressure on your thighs. Put your upward-facing hands forward on your knees while making the dhyana mudra with your fingers. Hold the pose for 20 seconds and continue inhaling and exhaling. Turn your hands downward with the same mudra and again inhale and exhale. Slowly uplift yourself and return to the normal position. Bend your legs according to your holding capacity. Repeat the pose 3 times.

This pose helps strengthen your lower body by stretching the hips and the thighs. Breathing relieves stress and enhances clarity.

All these asanas aim to prepare a woman’s body for easy delivery by opening up the pelvic region, relieving back pain and by releasing stress through breathing techniques. A pregnant woman should keep in mind not to stress themselves too hard by choosing difficult poses. Instead, consistently practising light and easy yoga asanas coupled with few pranayamas can do wonders.

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