Today I’ve got my Yoga Teacher’s hat on because as promised I hope to share a pose or Asana – yoga movement, each week with you so that you will feel enabled to join in the practice of yoga in your own time & space.
If you are at any stage of pregnancy or Life for that matter, male or female – this is a pose or ‘asana’ with deep benefits for your pelvis, spine & wellbeing.
Best of all you can enter & be in this pose for as little time as a few breaths or for as long as it takes the kettle to boil in your kitchen at home or staff room at work! IDEA: why not ask someone to read the following instructions to you while you enter the pose so that you can experience it completely without having to pop back up every few secs to check what’s next!
ENTERING THE POSE – in standing yoga poses think about entering a pose from the ground or feet up & that is how I will always explain them for you. And ideally in a standing Yoga pose or asana such as this, you would have bare feet, but at the very least, your feet are not slipping and you feel safe with your grip on the floor.
- Take the legs about 1 metre or a yard apart, with the feet parallel – if you want to use a chair for support, stand about 2-3 feet away from the seat of the chair, you can always adjust this distance later if you like.
- Press big toes & outside edges of feet into floor (feel the support of your feet grounding to floor)
- Hands to hips, Knees are soft (slightly bent), Chest is open & Back or spine is long
- Begin to Inhale & begin to bend forwards from the hips leading with heart, not the head (remember spine is long all the way to the back of the head)
- When you feel your weight tipping forwards at this moment, ground your heels into the floor, press through the big toes & remember the knees can be soft. Then take the hands from the hips, fold the arms over the seat of the chair & bring your forehead to rest on your hands.
Now broaden your shoulders & deepen the blades into your back so you feel the space you are creating around your neck. Continue to BE in this pose for at least 6 long breaths – inhaling & exhaling through the nostrils – draw the breath to the belly if you can – belly rounds & rises on your inhale, draws back towards your body on the exhale.
- As all the tight muscles in your back & legs begin to release & lengthen you will feel a little more space in your body being created, use this space to go deeper into the pose – maybe taking your hands to a cushion on the floor.
- If you do go deeper & take hands lower, to a cushion or lower table, let the head hang loose from the neck. OR just like the nearby image: bring hands to the floor & rest head on a support.Try not to hold the head up. You are looking for release all along the spine to the head.
COMING OUT OF THE POSE – This aspect of Yoga practice is often overlooked & sometimes even ignored by Yoga text books & teachers, but I feel that to be a responsible Yoga Practitioner & Teacher, respect should be shown to the body to help it realign & stabilise effectively after a Yoga Asana.
- When you are ready to leave the pose, bring attention again to the feet – press big toes, outside edges & heels into the floor & slowly bring hands back to hips.
- Keep grounding through feet & with knees soft or bent a little deeper at this point, engage lower abdominals across the lower belly to support you lifting the upper body into upright again.
- Keep the spine long & chest open as you exit the pose.
- Stand for a couple of moments, eyes open or closed & breathe to the belly. Then slowly heel / toe the feet back together. Give the legs a shake out & smile 🙂 You’ve done the body good.
BENEFITS & EFFECTS: Releases the hamstrings and spinal muscles * Gentle inversion – brings fresh circulation to the head & takes pressure from the heart * Cools the busy mind *Calms emotions.
What did you feel in the body while in the pose? How did you feel in general after leaving the pose? Try it a few times over the next couple of days & report back to me. If you have questions about it do ask them – i’d love for you to share your experience of the asana, Wide leg Forward Bend. (or in Sanskrit it is written as ‘Prasaritta Padottanasana’ – a great sounding name if you ask me ! )
Want to do more yoga? If you can get to my sessions, I run classes in North Co Kerry , West Co Limerick. Check out my updates on facebook and you can message me there or here too.
If you don’t live near me, more’s the pity ;( But do find a Yoga teacher suitable to your needs and make that special time in the week to attend a session. Your body & mind will thank you for it. x
photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/universalpops/10966185834/”>Universal Pops (David)</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>
These subjects are foremost in my life right now. My Passions – intellectual & physical. Pregnancy. And as always, Yoga.
And linked to these are time, energy, motivation & space (physical & mental space – clear the floor of toys & debris, clear the mind of chatter for a few moments)
Last week I wrote about my relation to Balance during this pregnancy . These days the above things all meet in perfect harmonious balance when I finally move myself into a yoga pose that feels OH so right. As though my body needs to move in certain ways to make space, stretch, release – sometimes my hips feel so stuck & hard that I feel like I’m carrying 2 bags of pebbles on either side of my hips! And that’s when I start to circle my hips – small circles at first, spiralling into bigger & deeper circles. The softening & releasing begins. Blood flows easily & I start to feel good. Sometimes a catchy tune is playing at that moment that might have inspired the hip circling & swaying. My 3 yr old daughter gets involved shaking & swirling her own little bendy body 🙂
This is my current Yoga practice – of the moment, pure & impulsive – not assigned to a sacred time & space of silence & stillness. (Although I still need those sacred times too!)
This little baba in my belly always reacts to the new movements, to the shift in gravity – swirling & spinning & kicking. I know it feels good. Baba knows. And the science has figured it out too.I thought I should share the ‘sciencey bit’ with you as a reassurance that the beauty of yoga movements during pregnancy ( and at any time in life) are not to be feared – ‘Am I doing it right?’- or guilt ridden -‘Will this hurt my baby?’. They are there for you to explore, enjoy & return to again & again for the goodness they offer your body & mind.
So here they are – the Major Benefits of Prenatal Yoga – as experience currently by me & many other Yoga Mamas.
- Enjoying Yoga during Pregnancy helps promote good stress management & relaxation.
- The above benefit leads easily to No 2. – The journey of Pregnancy is enhanced through the promotion of Emotional Wellbeing by a regular yoga practice, particularly in a group setting.
- General Fitness (stamina) & health is enhanced and maintained. The cardiovascular, nervous & circulatory systems are all nourished during a Yoga session. This leads to the assertion that blood pressure, hormone regulation & energy levels are improved or strengthened as a result of a regular yoga session.
- Improved Balance, Flexibility & Tone – a mother can move with grace & ease as she maintains muscle tone, prevents or eases back & hip complaints & posture is aligned as a result of a Yoga practice.
- A heightened awareness of her body & baby during a Yoga session means Mothers are more Empowered as they prepare for Labour & Birth. She has a deeper awareness of her body and through the yoga practice she has developed the tools she needs through breath, relaxation & yoga movement to have her needs met. In this sense a mother is not a passive participant of her pregnancy & labour, but she is active, is flexible in her perspective & grounded in her body.
Over the coming weeks I will share a Yoga movement with you once or twice a week that you can bring into your daily life and pregnant or not you will feel good. Explore them. Be Curious. And let me know what you feel about them. What works? What feels stuck?
How do you find out more? Check me out on facebook to keep up with my current sessions – for pregnancy & general Yoga or feel free to drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. And you are welcome to follow my blog journey here too :). x
Being in my second pregnancy (30wks) with a 3yr old little girl along for the ride in this one, has brought a real awareness of balance into my daily life.
Yes I’m talking about the physical sense of balance – when I’m in a rush I will probably bump into something or my baby belly will ! When balancing food on a fork or biting a biscuit, inevitably some of that lands on the protruding belly which keeps me an extra foot away from the table compared to everyone else. Then there is the lack of visibility to ground level. As my daughter has come to learn, if she is standing somewhere below my sphere of vision, when I go to walk or suddenly change direction, she goes flying!
And finally, yes, when I drop my pen or coins – they stay where they land. It’s sometimes too much of an ordeal to get into a wide leg supported forward bend (yoga talk for ‘bend over’) to just pick up a pen.
However, that’s when my 3yr old ‘gofor’ comes in really handy! Bless her !
But I’m also talking about the emotional balancing act of pregnancy & I guess being a Mum already now for 3 yrs. Hormones surge & recede with a real mind of their own. I can’t control it. That’s the job of my pituitary gland in my brain. But I can become very involved in how I react to these fluctuating emotions. Feelings of helplessness, anxieties about my labour & birth, loss of ‘control’ of my life, plagued by insecurities about the future and sheer physical fatigue can have me crying, or pacing erratically around the kitchen. Yes I can do something about that. I can be a lot kinder to myself. I’m simply experiencing a common symptom of pregnancy that no GP or OB/GYN will ask you about when they are checking your blood pressure or weight – the letting go or loss of control that you thought you had.
The journey of pregnancy & birth is the most carnal or primal life event of all. Nature is in charge. It’s a process and it has its own way. The sooner I surrender to that & learn to flow with it the better. My baby has to do it. I will too.
Anyway, once the biscuits are nearby and the steaming cup of tea is brewing, I will be fine. I know I will.