Yoga is one of the oldest and most widely known ways to get fit around the world. It is my favorite ways to relax and my exercise of choice when I am stuck at home or cannot make it to the gym. From eliminating stress to relieving back pain, anyone can benefit from yoga! There are many levels to yoga; therefore, it is always a good idea to start off slowly, listen to your body, and to consult with your doctor before beginning any type of exercise routine, as always.
I did yoga throughout my entire pregnancy, as I am pictured below at 16 weeks along, and my flexibility stuck with me!
Here are ten of my favorite yoga poses to start with!
#1: Warrior Pose
Stand with feet 4 feet apart and turn towards left foot with the whole torso. Deeply bend your the front knee (I had a knee injury so I can only go so far) as much as you can. Hold pose. Lift both arms up towards the sky, lifting the chest. Lock both hands and balance. Switch sides.
#2: Warrior 2 Pose
Place feet 4 feet apart, and extend both arms. Turn right foot inward slightly to the right and your left foot out to the left 90 degrees. Align your heels and deeply bend the left knee over left ankle. Keep pelvis and chest opening sideways. Stretch arms away from each other.Place hand on right back leg for support. Reach and extend upwards and back with left arm for a side stretch.
#3: Warrior 3 Pose
This is an advanced pose. Balance on one leg with other leg straight back and both sides of the hips level with each other. Hands can hammock the belly or float along. Further into pregnancy, it may feel safer to press hands into a wall and stretch the back leg away. Extend as far as comfortable. Alternate sides.
#4: Triangle Pose
Turn left foot in slightly to the right and your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Alight the right heel with left heel. Raise arms parallel to the floor and reach out to the sides, palm down. Bending at the hips touch the ground. Rotate torso and head around as you lift other arm straight up. Press hips forward. Alternate.
#5: Half Moon Pose
Place legs hip width apart with feet forward. Engage your glutes in order not to overstretch and protect lower back. Reach up with both arms and connect palms. Keep arms straight, side bending at the waist while keeping the feet firmly planted into ground. Hold for one minute before alternating.
#6: Tree Pose
Balance on left leg while bringing the sole of right foot as high up to the inner left leg as possible. Push foot and thigh firmly together, engaging thigh muscles. Join hands in front of heart, strongly lifting the chest. Alternate.
#7: Bound Angle Pose
Sit on your bottom with soles of feet together, holding onto your ankles or feet with hands. The knees should be lower than the hips if possible. Let go, moving hands up to knees in a relaxing pose. Meditate.
#8 Cat/Cow Pose
Begin on floor with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Arch like a cat on exhalation as you contract the abdominal muscles, pulling belly up toward the spine.
With each inhalation tilt tailbone up towards the sky and looking up as the back muscles contract and the abdomen stretched.
#9: Pigeon Pose
Start on your hands and knees. Gently slide the right knee forward between the hands and rest your right hip. Straight left leg behind you as much as you can. Bring right foot forward towards left hip, then square both hips to the ground.
#10: Wall Pose
Sit sideways against a wall on blanket and slowly spin torso down to the floor as the legs are brought up to the wall. Have a folded towel under your lower back for support if needed. Stay for 5 minutes and practice slow breathing.