Pregnancy & Mums n Bubs Yoga
I completed my Bliss Baby Yoga Teacher Training online course back in 2011 and loved every minute of it. Learning how yoga can compliment you from the very start of your pregnancy journey right into the wonderful joy that is motherhood was just amazing and beyond interesting as a newly qualified yoga teacher.
My assignment after the course material was to design specific yoga sequences for particular pre-natal and post-natal circumstances and I thought I would share them with you, ENJOY!!! And if you are thinking of learning a little more about pregnancy yoga, I could not recommend a more in depth, wonderfully put together course.
The following yoga sequence has been designed for a pregnant lady of 37 weeks, who is suffering from aching hips, with the baby currently in a breech position.
The intention of this sequence is to work on releasing the aching pain and tightness around the hips and pelvic region, with some soft, lengthening stretches; to help encourage the baby out of a breech position into the correct position for birth (the baby’s head to engage in the pelvic brim), with some yoga positions to work against gravity a little, in the “slowing down” postures to help give the baby some space to hopefully turn naturally.
Particularly important at this stage of the pregnancy, nearing towards the end of trimester 3 is a gentle yoga practise that can help manage mum’s stress/anxiety levels, help ease her uncomfortable-ness, tiredness and ‘squashed-up’ feeling of the now large, heavy belly, allow her to really get in touch with breathing techniques, relaxation and calming visualisations; all the little small things that can perhaps be called upon during the birth to help make it as truly a wonderful experience as possible.
Encouraging deep Ujjayi, softly sounding breath throughout the entire practise, a great grounding, centring and also warming breath; that can also be used during breaks from contractions
– Sukasana (perhaps sat on a bolster or kneeling with a blanket under calf muscles for comfort) for Bhramari, humming bee breath, a calming/de-stressing, meditative breath to focus the mind to begin the class
– Side to side lateral stretches, placing one hand on the floor, flowing from side to side, focusing on the breath, creating space in the now compressed intercostals and generally facilitate easier breathing
– Shoulder rotations, with hands on the shoulders, to open up the whole upper back and shoulders, that tighten in late pregnancy and slowly start to get the energy and breath flowing into the body to warm up and open
– Onto all fours for slow hip circles in both directions, slowly warming and easing pressure to the pelvic, lower back and hip region, wonderful birthing preparation position taking the strain of the lower back and hopefully in this case help to ease the downward pressure of the breech position of baby to encourage rotation
– Cat stretches on all fours, incorporating pelvic floor activation, drawing calming movement into the belly, easing now exaggerated lordotic arch in the lower back, helping to move baby in the womb, avoid arching the belly completely.
– Supported Balasana, childs pose, with a bolster under the forehead and continuing with this ‘slowing down’ position to rest for a few breaths.
– Easy lunge transition, using hand to knee support to standing
– Coming up against the wall or a chair to use for supported right angle/Adho Mukha Savasana, again reversing the effects of gravity to encourage the baby out of breech and opening up the whole spine and torso region of the body.
– Can transition into supported forward fold, Prasarita Padottanasana with the legs, still using the wall or a chair for support and knee bends with the breath in this posture will bring some movement to the body and help warm and release the hips, hands can be placed in knees or stay on the wall – but encourage mum to stay at right angle with her torso so this movement does not become a squat, and still helps reverse the downward pressure of the breech baby
– Sitting on the chair, facing the wall for ‘thru-the-hole’ hip stretch, relieving the achy pains in the hips, mum can use the wall as support with the hands, when slowly if comfortable leaning forward to stretch the outer hips
– Easy transition down to the ground again through knee supported lunge staying close to the wall for the next few postures
– Gomukhasana on both sides to release the outer hips and encourage internal, stabilising rotation, mum can sit on a bolster if hips are particularly sore or tight and either uses the chair to support the arms in leaning forward or if happy to come a little lower can use a block infront for support. If mum is feeling energised enough can come into Garuda arms here to release the upper back and shoulder blades
– Setu Bandha Savangasana, restorative bridge pose, either raising and lowering with breath or placing a block under the sacrum to support the lower back and take the strain off the legs, this position is wonderful in again reversing the downward force pressure for the breech baby and mum can place hands of the belly to connect or over the head to elongate the torso
– Side knee drops in supine position to release achy hips and massage sacrum, ensuring not to over-twist the belly
– Guided falling out/sighing breaths in supported Viparita Karani up against the wall and a bolster under the sacrum, great restorative, calming, rejuvenating posture, helping take the pressure off the hips, pelvis and lower back; ensuring mum happy on her back, to roll to her left side if feels uncomfortable at any time
– Savasana on left side, supported with blankets under the head and top knee, ensure mum is comfortable to remain in this position for a guided relaxation, mediation/visualisation, calming for both mum and bub. Speaking about the benefits of yoga, breath, visualising baby, energy flows within the body, calming music on in the background
– Seated for closing chant of the mantra Om – wonderful calming manta, that helps energise and also lengthen the exhalation, whilst also developing sound awareness, great for use during the birth as a calming release
The following yoga sequence has been designed for a mum who gave birth 2 months ago, has sacro-illiac pain and a tight neck and shoulders.
The intention of this sequence is to gently introduce mum back in to yoga after the birthing experience, to strengthen weakened areas, energise, relax and give mum a yoga practise of time dedicated to herself. In this case to gradually strengthen the muscles around the pelvic region, abdominals and lower back to ease and support the sacro illiac pain the new mum is experiencing and in all new mum cases ease tight neck and shoulders, as a result of breast feeding, tension, tiredness and holding their new bub.
Where we can we can incorporate bub in the yoga poses, during the class, unless they are happy to be left sleeping or watching. Encouraging mums that a mums n bubs yoga class may be quite different from any class they may have previously attended and to go with the flow, doing only what they are happy to do. If the bubs become disturbed, its a great time to involve the babies in some yoga poses, singing/chanting and baby massage, a happy baby, a happy mum!!
Encouraging deep Ujjayi, softly sounding breath throughout the entire practise, a great grounding, centring, stress releasing but also energising and warming breath.
– Sukasana (perhaps sat on a bolster or kneeling with a blanket under calf muscles for comfort) or laying down in corpse pose for Viloma Pranayama, a calming/de-stressing, releasing breath to focus the mind to begin the class
– Side to side lateral stretches, placing one hand on the floor, flowing from side to side, focusing on the breath, warming up the shoulders, opening the chest and generally facilitate easier breathing
– Slow neck stretches to both sides, extending the opposite hand to stretch the neck gently, chin into armpit to stretch the back of the neck also – can use the hand to apply light pressure to deepen the stretch
– Pelvic floor raises and contractions, hands resting on the knees if sitting
– Table pose to release the shoulders and open the heart chakra, great feel good pose
– Gomukhasana, using Garaduasana arms if not too much and can also sit on a bolster if hips are tight or release the underneath leg long out infront – great stabilising posture for the hips and pelvis, whilst still stretching out the buttock that can pull on the lower back and pelvis worsening sacro iliac pain
– The next few postures can be done over the top of baby, to interact with bub
– On to all fours for Bidalasana, with particular attention on neutral spine, starting to engage and discovering the core again. Also wonderful for opening up the upper back and shoulder region.
– Staying on all fours for opposite leg and arm extend, ensuring mum is parallel with the hips and holding neutral spine as much as possible – strengthening the core and pelvic region – giving the option to rest in Childs pose if it becomes painful or too much
– Balasana – stretching out the spine and shoulder/chest girdle
– Modified Camel using the hands, knees in parallel to support the pelvis, preventing external rotation of the hips and pressure on the sacro illiac joints. This is a great counter-breast feeding pose again opening up tight fronts of the chest and deltoids
– Downward Facing Dog, option to flow in and out from Balasana to prevent fatigue whilst holding and to warm the body and stretch out and strengthen the torso and legs
– Moving to the wall
– Right angle at the wall, to open the shoulders
– Pelvic tilts at the wall, in parallel, knees bent, to stabilize the pelvic region and strengthen legs
– Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, knees parallel at hip distance apart, block can be used in between the knees also and baby can be laying on mums torso, great thoracic opener and strengthening for the pelvic region
– Supine twist to both sides, knees together, stretching out the spine, shoulders, neck and cleansing for the internal organs – baby can be used in the twist, hugging to each raised hip to deepen the twist
– Savasana in Viparita Korani against the wall, baby can stay on mums torso and once older sit up against mums thighs, falling out breaths done here and relaxation, wonderful restorative posture for mums tired body and lengthens the spine, and lordotic curve in the lower back, also balances the pelvis and hip region
– Seated for closing chant of the mantra Om – wonderful calming manta, that helps energise and also lengthen the exhalation, nice to have baby against belly and chest as the Om’s are calming for bub and remind them of being in the womb
Please see my class timetable for class times and locations.
Tags: Mums n Bubs yoga, Pregnancy yoga, prenatal yoga, Thame, Yoga for new mums
Categorised in: Pregnancy Yoga
This post was written by Laura Avery