Throughout pregnancy we want to honour how much the body is already doing, we want to be even more mindful of how we are feeling to support the growth of our baby. The aim of this sequence is to find steadiness and ease within each pose and is particularly nice in the second and third trimesters. Cultivating acceptance of the changes we are going through can also mean significant modifications to our normal practice. This will help us to adapt to the bigger changes we will face when the little one arrives. Don’t be afraid to use props for support to nourish yourself and your baby. Take between five and ten breaths in each pose unless otherwise stated.
Finding a comfortable seat is something that we rarely take time to consider.
For Sukhasana, cross the shins with the ankles under the knees. For Siddhasana place one heel in front of the other nestled into the groins.
Maintain an upright spine and ensure that your knees are lower than your hips, sitting up on rm cushions, blocks or a bolster. As your belly grows sit higher, creating more space between thighs and bump. Take a moment to place your hands on your belly and breathe with your baby. Set an intention to cultivate acceptance with each breath.
Set your knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders, spreading your fingers wide and rooting your knuckles into the ground. Keep the toes tucked under heels lifted. As you inhale bring the chest forward and gently lift the hips and head up towards the ceiling. Your belly is already being stretched as your baby grows so be gentle with yourself. On the exhale round the mid back up to the ceiling and look towards your navel. Continue moving with your breath for five to ten cycles, then lift the hips coming into Downward Facing Dog.
Stepping into warrior II in pregnancy is a personal matter depending on your size and levels of comfort. From Downward Dog lift the left leg and step forward on an exhale. Step to the side more than normal and then inhale into a High Lunge first. If you have your hands raised on blocks you will have more room to step through.
From a High Lunge keeping the front shin steady with the knee over the ankle, turn down the back heel and extend the arms from the bottom of the heart reaching into the fingertips. An alternative option would be to start from Tadasana and step back with the right leg. Remember that the joints are already quite loose in pregnancy so take a shorter than normal stance.
Take the front forearm down to the thigh. Remember this time is not about pushing your edges, it’s about supporting yourself and your baby with a nourishing practice.
Go to a place where you feel steady and grounded in the legs, collarbones broad, shoulders on the back, extend through the crown of the head and lift the chin. Extend from the outside edge of the back foot into the right fingertips.
From Parsvokonasana, press down through the legs and rise up to Warrior II. Now turn the left foot parallel. Inhale lengthening through the crown of the head, hands on hips and shoulders back. As you exhale lead with the chest hinging forward from the hips. Think of the forward fold more as a lengthening of the torso making space down the side body. A block can be used to support the forehead. From here bend the knees and heel toe the feet to hip width walking the hands into Downward Facing Dog. Repeat the sequence on the second side ending in a second Prasarita Padottanasana.
On an inhale rise up with hands on hips from Prasarita Padottanasana. Bring the feet just wider than hip width apart. Squatting into Malasana make sure the knees, ankles and feet are turned out in the same direction. Using a brick to sit on take the right shin and top of the foot to the floor. Take the right hand to the belly and press the left arm into the inner thigh and shin. To turn the volume down on our overactive analytical brain as we prepare for birth and encourage our primal brain to connect us more deeply with our intuition, take Jnana mudra. Touch the tip of the index finger to the tip of the thumb and extend all other fingers. After your cycle of breaths swap sides.
Widen your legs without locking the knees. Feet are active, toes spread and pointing to the sky. Sit up on a block or bolster to avoid rounding in the lumbar spine. Stay humble with your forward fold, you may just want to stay upright and breathe into the crown of your head. What is nourishing will be the lengthening of the spine and connecting to your breath. If you can maintain the length in the spine walk the hands forward. A chair, stool or bolster placed between the legs can also be used to lean on for support. Rise up on an inhale supporting yourself.
Kneel down sitting on a prop between your heels, make room for your belly. The tops of the feet press into the floor, toes are spread. Setting a timer can be helpful if you are newer to meditation. Starting with five minutes and increasing as your practice develops.
With your hands resting in your lap or on your belly, close your eyes or soften your gaze. Turn your attention to your breath, notice the rise and fall of the body, then begin to count the breaths, one on the inhale, two on the exhale, all the way up to 10 and then begin again at one. Giving the mind something to focus on as we breathe will prepare us for coping with contractions in the first stage of labour. Staying with our breath through these contractions will help us to maintain a calm mind and body through the intensity allowing the process to unfold as nature intended.