Practicing yoga during pregnancy can allow you to become more aware of your own inner life, as well as the new life growing inside of you. These two supported yoga poses use a foam yoga block and a bolster to help create openness and relaxation during the second trimester of pregnancy. If you don't have a block or a bolster, you can substitute a large book wrapped in a blanket and a large pillow.
Supported Malasana uses the bolster and can help you feel more safe and comfortable during your own labor by working to create space in the hips.
- Set the bolster in the middle of your mat. Sit on the end of it with your knees spread wider than your hips in a modified squatting position.
- Rest your elbows on the inside of your knees and touch the palms of your hands together in front of your heart.
- Breathe fully. Try to send your breath through your body all the way down to your pelvis to feel the pose work from the inside out.
- Keep the arches of your feet active in order to engage stable muscular energy in the legs.
- As you hold the pose, focus on creating space in your hips, relaxing your pelvis, and feeling strong and grounded through your legs.
- Since Malasana is a restorative pose, you can hold it for up to 10 to 15 minutes, if you like.
Supported bridge pose
Supported bridge pose is beneficial for relieving stress on the lower back. Though some people are nervous about lying on their backs during pregnancy, the stable, flat surface of the floor coupled with the relatively stationary nature of the pose allays any cause for concern.
- Begin by lying on the mat with knees bent, soles of the feet planted on the mat, and legs spread slightly wider than hips-width apart.
- Prepare for the pose by taking a few deep breaths.
- When you're ready to begin, inhale deeply, then exhale as you press your feet into the floor in order to raise your hips up about two or three inches.
- Slide the block under your hips for stabilization and support. You should feel your sacrum (bone just above the tailbone) making comfortable contact with the block.
- As you settle into the pose, challenge yourself to see how much you can relax into your support to let go of the weight you have been carrying.
- Concentrate on feeling grounded through every part of your body that's in contact with the floor, and notice how the support of the floor allows the body to relax.
- Instead of focusing on a point in front of you, try to put your focus into a point that you imagine beneath the floor or Earth.
- To exit the pose, push the soles of your feet firmly into the mat to lift your hips off the block.
- Remove the block, and slowly release your hips back down to their starting position on the mat.
- Roll gently onto one side, and then push into the floor with your hands in order to rise back up to a seated position.
The key to a safe yoga practice, whether you're pregnant or not, is to move in and out of each pose very slowly. If you feel pain while moving slowly, you're able to stop moving forward and return to a position where you feel comfortable and safe.