Wide leg child’s pose – kneel down on a stable surface with the feet together and knees apart. As the pregnancy progresses, the knees will be placed wider apart to accommodate the growing baby. Walk the hands forward and rest the head down on the floor, or on a block or pillow. Stay for at least 5 breaths, up to 3 or 4 minutes if it feels really good.
Cat/cow – kneel on all fours. Knees hip width apart or slightly wider, wrists under the shoulders. Start with a neutral spine and keep hands and knees on the floor at all times. On an exhalation, round the back by drawing the pubic bone towards the navel, pressing the back away from the floor and chin to chest (like a cat stretching). On an inhalation, arch the back by lifting the hips/tailbone away from the knees, drawing the heart forwards as though through the arms, and lifting the chin up towards the sky or as far as feels comfortable. Through both movements/breaths, imagine grounding/rooting down through the fingers and knees to create a stable base. Take at least 5 breaths, up to 20 breaths.
Pelvic rotations – standing or kneeling on all fours, move the pelvis around in a circle. If standing, bend the knees slightly and rest hands on the thighs. If on all fours, come into the same start position as cat/cow. Start by drawing/lifting the right hip towards the shoulder, then draw the pubic bone up towards the navel, then the left hip towards the left shoulder and finally drawing the pubic bone away from the navel to complete the circle. Perform a few circles in one direction, then move in the opposite direction.
These 3 poses/movements help to loosen and mobilise the muscles surrounding the hips and lower back. For all poses, one should try their best to maintain connection to the breath. The breath should be soft, gentle and slow. At no time during pregnancy should the breath be held.
Another fantastic pose is Legs up the Wall. Simply sit down next to a wall or closed (locked) door, lie down on the back and place the feet up the wall. Lift the hips up off the floor by pressing the heels into the wall, and slide a pillow under the hips. This can be absolute bliss, particularly if a woman suffers from oedema (swelling), varicose veins, exhaustion or is on her feet a lot. This pose helps with veinous return (deoxygenated blood returning to the heart), thus giving the heart a break. Also helpful in lymph drainage. The legs feel lighter after a few minutes. If the legs become numb, or tingling is experienced, bend the legs and roll over onto the left side before coming up to seated.