Pregnancy can be a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, especially during the first trimester when you might be feeling unwell and tired. Discover the physical and mental benefits of prenatal yoga from the founder of Barre Body, Emma Seibold.
Pregnancy can be an overwhelming journey. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to exercise too much, particularly during the first trimester when you really want to be cocooning the little baby growing inside you and you might be experiencing exhaustion and morning sickness.
Most women (not all, myself included), feel better and have more energy during the second trimester and that is when you can really enjoy exercise.
During the third trimester you may want to slow down again – I recommend 30 mins of exercise daily (barre, yoga, walking, swimming). It’s definitely worth it, but above all, be kind to yourself and listen to your body. If you’re tired, rest. If not, go for it.
This short, 10 minute sequence has been designed for those times when you are feeling tired or have morning sickness, but still want to stretch and move your body. Spend 2 minutes or 10-20 long, slow breaths in each posture.
1. Garland Pose
1. Stand with your feet a little wider than hip distance pointing your toes out to 10 and 2 on a clock.
2. Bring your hands to prayer position in front of your heart.
3. Bend your knees over your toes to come into the yogic squat. You may need to step your feet wider to get your heels down.
4. You might like to sit on a block while you do this pose.
5. Breathe deeply in the posture for 10-20 breaths.
During pregnancy, and particularly in the third trimester, this posture helps to mobilise the hips and pelvis and prepare for labour and delivery. This is a wonderful pose for active labour.
2. Pigeon Pose
1. From a seated, cross leg position, swing one leg back behind you, stretching your toes towards the back of your mat.
2. Find a comfortable angle for your front leg – the further forward (closer to a right angle as per the image), the stronger this pose is. To make it more gentle, point the toes and bring them further back towards your opposite hip.
3. Make plenty of space for the baby.
4. Press the back thigh down towards the mat.
5. For a stronger stretch, come down onto the elbows or perhaps even the forehead if your belly permits.
6. Breathe deeply in the posture for 10-20 breaths on each side.
This is a beautiful front and back hip-opening posture.
3. Butterfly Pose
1. Sitting, bring your feet together in front of you and open the souls of the feet like a book.
2. Sit tall and straighten your arms.
3. Breathe deeply for 5-10 breaths.
4. Keeping the spine long and flat, bend forward gently to wherever you are comfortable and achieving a nice stretch.
5. Breathe deeply for 5-10 breaths.
This is a nurturing and opening pose, making space in the pelvis for the baby. It is also beneficial during the earlier months as it can ease nausea.
4. Seated Twist
1. Swing both legs to one side.
2. Bring your hand onto your knee without crossing your body (right hand to right knee or left hand to left knee).
3. Sit up tall and elongate your spine.
4. Twist around away from your hand.
5. Breathe deeply for 5-10 breaths on each side.
This is a gentle open twist that is perfect for pregnancy as it makes plenty of space for your belly and baby. Avoid any other twisting action that compresses the belly (called a closed twist).
5. Child’s Pose
1. Take your knees wide to make space for your bubba.
2. Stretch your arms forward and create length in your spine and along the sides of your waist.
3. Allow yourself to completely relax and your energy to restore in this pose.
4. You may like to place a cushion or bolster under your belly and a block or folded blanket under your forehead for extra support.
This is the perfect posture to finish with. This should be your “go-to” pose throughout the day (particularly during exercise) when you need to take a break or feel unwell.
Enjoy this short sequence and luxuriate in growing that gorgeous baby inside you.
For more prenatal videos and tips, visit barrebody.com.au/online-studio
Emma Seibold is mumma (soon to be a mumma of two), a yoga, pilates & barre teacher, health coach, and founder of Barre Body (studios in Sydney & Melbourne).