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yoga during pregnancy
Wellness
Published Thursday May 10, 2018 by Taryn-Lea McEachrane

5 Soothing Yoga Poses to Try During Pregnancy  

Yoga
Motivation

Pregnancy can be a time of equal parts joy, frustration, and confusion. Whether you are a first-time mom, or anxiously awaiting your third child, you can benefit immensely from a variety of yoga poses to improve your strength, flexibility, and mindfulness.

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” - Rumi

A healthy mind is crucial for a healthy body. A healthy body influences the mind. The body and mind are irrevocably connected. Research has proven that emotional stress can manifest in many ways—from small physical ailments to chronic disease. During pregnancy, it is critical that you manage stress appropriately, but let’s face it, stress is an inevitable fact of life. 

Stress will be there before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and after pregnancy. But, with proper management, it can become less of a burden. Practicing yoga poses, or asanas, can offer a dual benefit of spiritual practice and exercise during an exciting nine months. However—it is up to you whether to embrace both.



For mothers who are seeking a new practice, yoga can provide both a calming mindset and exercise routine that meets your needs wherever you are in life. Try these five asanas at home for a more relaxed experience during pregnancy! 


Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Your lower back can begin to ache as you arch your spine more and more to support your growing belly. Practicing Mountain Pose will improve your standing posture by creating a straight spine—a necessary positioning that allows more room within your body for your lungs to expand and your womb to grow. 


Prasarita Padottanasana  (Wide-Legged Forward Bend)


This pose improves flexibility for the hips, which is important in pregnancy. It also helps to stretch the back muscles, back of legs and lengthen the spine. When separating your feet in this pose, be mindful of your balance. It can vary according to your stage of pregnancy. 

 

Cat Pose (Marjaryasana)

Cat Pose provides multiple benefits for the pregnant body. Not only does it help relieve back pain, it also works to strengthen the lower abdomen so it can better support your womb. An ideal exercise for beginners, this pose can help create emotional balance in everyday life.  


Downward Facing Frog Pose (Adho Mukha Mandukasana) 

Frog Pose is a hip-opener that helps to release emotion and increase flexibility. A powerful beginner pose, you will feel the welcomed stretch in your hips, groin and inner thighs. You can modify this pose by placing a folded blanket under the knees or elbows.


Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Although this pose may feel slightly uncomfortable at first (and is recommended only during your first trimester), it will serve to relax your body over time, allowing you to feel more open—both mentally and physically. This deeply relaxing and restorative pose can help you release negative emotions while increasing your flexibility.
 

No matter what pose you choose to practice or what atmosphere you choose to practice in, it is important to remember that the foundation of all yoga poses is the breath. Try focusing your attention on your breath during asana practice, inhaling and slowly exhaling through your nose—making an ocean-like noise with each inhale and exhale.

Don’t forget to carve out at least five minutes of your day to do the poses. Making time for yourself is essential during your pregnancy to create a sense of calm and manifest inner joy. Whatever works to soothe your soul.

Taryn-Lea McEachrane
Written by
Taryn-Lea McEachrane
Contributor | Certified Yoga Teacher
About the author
Taryn is an aspiring wellness expert and nature loving yogini with a background in public health. She has worked various health-related jobs throughout her career and holds a deep passion for writing.
Yoga sleep tips MINDBODY
Wellness
Published Wednesday Sep 18, 2019 by Amber Scriven

4 Yoga Poses for a Better Night’s Sleep

Yoga
Personal Growth
Expert Advice

We’ve all had sleepless nights. It’s the worst! Watching the wee hours of morning tick away. Wishing we could slip into a restful sleep before our alarm goes off . The frustrating feeling of knowing exactly how many minutes there are before you need to be up. Then, struggling through a heavy relentless morning filled with self-medicating coffee runs, and a tired, snappy version of yourself dragging through the day. 

There’s no one miracle cure for insomnia because there are so many reasons for not being able to sleep. Many people, however, find relief by curbing stress right before bed. One way to do that is with a few choice yoga stretches that mellow you out by encouraging your Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) to ignite your bodies “rest and digest” cycles. This is the opposite of the “fight or flight” system that helps you race away from oncoming tigers, or other more urban “dangers.”  

Here are a few shapes that calm the nervous system and decrease adrenaline in the body to help you rest and ultimately sleep better. 
 

Legs-Up-the-Wall

This is a super simple way to relax right before bed, or even from the comfort of your bed. Pushing your legs up the wall helps move the lymph and blood out of your feet using gravity, this, in turn, means your heart doesn’t need to work as hard to pump it back up. Thus, things get a little quieter in your cardiovascular system helping to soothe your body into a sense of softness.

1
Legs-Up-the-Wall

This is a super simple way to relax right before bed, or even from the comfort of your bed. Pushing your legs up the wall helps move the lymph and blood out of your feet using gravity, this, in turn, means your heart doesn’t need to work as hard to pump it back up. Thus, things get a little quieter in your cardiovascular system helping to soothe your body into a sense of softness.

Supported Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

This shape uses the same idea as Legs-Up-the-Wall. It calms by inverting your hips above your heart, but it also stretches your neck and chest open for tension relief. The muscles can open and let go of anything they are holding onto. It also opens your lungs and diaphragm, which allows you to breathe more deeply, and that oxygen is a calmant.

2
Supported Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

This shape uses the same idea as Legs-Up-the-Wall. It calms by inverting your hips above your heart, but it also stretches your neck and chest open for tension relief. The muscles can open and let go of anything they are holding onto. It also opens your lungs and diaphragm, which allows you to breathe more deeply, and that oxygen is a calmant.

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Folding forward in Child’s Pose works a little differently. It still opens the lungs (from the upper back), but it requires you to turn inwards. You could bring your hands by your sides for a more restorative version of the shape, and resting your head to one side or the other is often more comfortable. Alternatively, try resting your forehead on a block or the floor, and use that surface to massage the space between your eyebrows. This triggers an acupressure point between your eyebrows that stimulates the pineal gland to encourage a melatonin response. Melatonin is the hormone our bodies produce when it gets dark that tells us to go to sleep!

3
Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Folding forward in Child’s Pose works a little differently. It still opens the lungs (from the upper back), but it requires you to turn inwards. You could bring your hands by your sides for a more restorative version of the shape, and resting your head to one side or the other is often more comfortable. Alternatively, try resting your forehead on a block or the floor, and use that surface to massage the space between your eyebrows. This triggers an acupressure point between your eyebrows that stimulates the pineal gland to encourage a melatonin response. Melatonin is the hormone our bodies produce when it gets dark that tells us to go to sleep!

Reclined Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Use a couple pillows for this one! Pop one under your knees, one under your head or upper back, along your spine, and under your hands.Then, get ready to  fall asleep there. Let everything get heavy and drippy and start to think about that weighted sensation in your feet, slowly bring your attention up your body making each body part heavier and heavier as you go. This is a version of Yoga Nidra Meditation and it is extremely relaxing—but you must go slowly. 


So, there you have it! A few ideas from yoga, science, and acupressure to help you get some much-deserved ZZZ’s. 
 

4
Reclined Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Use a couple pillows for this one! Pop one under your knees, one under your head or upper back, along your spine, and under your hands.Then, get ready to  fall asleep there. Let everything get heavy and drippy and start to think about that weighted sensation in your feet, slowly bring your attention up your body making each body part heavier and heavier as you go. This is a version of Yoga Nidra Meditation and it is extremely relaxing—but you must go slowly. 


So, there you have it! A few ideas from yoga, science, and acupressure to help you get some much-deserved ZZZ’s. 
 

Amber Scriven Acupuncturist
Written by
Amber Scriven
Acupuncturist | Yoga Teacher
About the author
A busy acupuncturist, yoga teacher and trainer, Amber has actively worked in the wellness industry for over 10 years. For her, yoga is a form of health care that she uses alongside acupuncture in the form of retreats, injury rehabilitation, and pain relief. Amber is renowned for building emotional strength while cultivating physical health.