Fitness Friday: Yoga Poses for Expecting Moms

by Diana Zotos
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Pregnancy is a very transformative time in a woman’s life, both mentally and physically.  It’s a busy time – filled with doctor’s appointments, anxiety, excitement, fatigue, new aches and pains, and a rapidly growing belly and shifting center of mass.  It’s a period when balance, both mentally and physically, becomes difficult. I found that keeping a regular yoga practice helped me maintain that balance.  The following 6 poses will help you during your pregnancy to:

  1. Breathe – find a calming and centering breath that will soothe and energize you and your baby.
  2. Strengthen the abdominal wall, back, and leg muscles, which is important for protecting your stretching ligaments, strained back, and preparing for delivery.
  3. Stretch, in a controlled way, the low back, side waist, and legs, which get tight as your body adapts to its new shape.

Please note that all pregnant women should consult with their physician before beginning an exercise program.

Cat/Cow Pose
In cat position, the muscles in your back and neck will stretch. In cow position, you will feel a stretch in your chest and abdominal wall. This is a great way to loosen up your lower back and get your spine moving.

Goddess Pose with Eagle Wrap
This is a great way to strengthen your leg and hip muscles in preparation for labor. Eagle wrap is a wonderful tactic to elongate the muscles of your shoulders and open up your upper back.

High Lunge
This is a good method to challenge your balance and to strengthen the muscles of your legs, hips and core, while getting a wonderful stretch of your hip flexor muscles.

Gate Pose
A wonderful stretch for the hips, groin, and leg muscles. This stretch also targets the side body, which gets very tight during pregnancy.

Seated Pigeon Pose
This is a great stretch for the deep muscles of the hip and can help relieve pressure in the low back.

Warrior III Pose
This is a good way to work your balance on one leg and strengthen the muscles of the standing leg. It’s also a great core workout.

Diana Zotos is a physical therapist and certified yoga instructor at Hospital for Special Surgery’s Rehabilitation Department.

Topics: Featured, Rehabilitation and Fitness
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The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.

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Hospital for Special Surgery
April 19, 2014 at 12:00 pm

The NHL playoffs are underway, and having a strong abdominal and core muscle strength is important for keeping players in top form. Gregory Reinhardt, HSS Physical Therapist, says: "While skating, the activation of a hockey player's oblique muscles is crucial for their ability to constantly push off from their skates." To read more about core strength for hockey players, visit http://hss.edu/onthemove/core-strength-for-hockey-players/.

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