Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Prenatal Yoga Series

I actually wrote this many weeks ago and have been meaning to have Ami take some better photos to go with it so that there would be a corresponding photo for each asana...but that still hasn't happened, so I've decided to just post as is.  Let's all enjoy this hilarious series of yoga self-portraits.

(I'm about 28 weeks in these pics.  The shirts I'm wearing here would be only go about half way down my belly by now, tee hee hee).

The original post...

I was fiddling around with the timer feature on my camera (yes, I'm that novice of a photographer if you haven't already noticed the evidence all over this blog) and got inspired to take some pics of my yoga series to share, along with the information and background I have about each of the asanas.  I did a huge project for midwifery school last year about emotional health and movement (or as most people would say, exercise) in pregnancy and in preparation for childbirth.  A lot of it was yoga based, with some other exercises from various sources thrown in, which is pretty much what my daily series is like.  I've thrown in some of these hilarious images for fun, then had Ami take some better pics for practical purposes (including adding them to my MW school project in place of the Google images from all over the web that I used for the original presentation so I can publish that via the Matrona).

Some preliminary rambling about the history of my yoga practice: I've been practicing yoga since I was about 18, so that means I've been at it for, 8 years now (yikes, that was really 8 years ago?).  I took a class at community college and learned more from books and a few classes here and there.  My practice was pretty off and on until I was pregnant for the first time.  I had been in an on phase for about three months already and it was January so I was all new years resolution inspired to really get into the ashtanga groove (as a former gymnast turned gymnastics coach who teaches from a body mechanics perspective I was pretty comfortable with self teaching from the book I have Ashtanga Yoga for Women, which teaches a progressive relatively (compared with other Ashtanga series) easy series).  That only lasted for a couple weeks in January before I realized that I was pregnant and the caffeine withdrawl and subsequent fatigue and anemia set in.  So I settled for a 1-2 times per week practice of Jeannine Parvati Baker's series from Prenatal Yoga and Natural Childbirth.  That series was really perfect for me, being relatively out of shape (for me) and with my body under a lot of stress in later pregnancy (for a variety of reasons which I may or may not post more about at some later point, I was not in radiant health in my first pregnancy).  

After Chobe was born I was really ready to get back into my body in the way where I was active and capable of my normal physical abilities and range of motion (which, again because of my history as a gymnast dance kind of type is probably beyond what I would consider as a healthy baseline).  So I started yoga as soon as I could after the birth and have actually been more consistent with it than ever before in my yoga career.  Last June I decided that I was ready to get back into Ashtanga through the self-teaching discussed above.  By the time I was pregnant again in January I had progressed pretty well with my practice and was able to do a lot of the body weight bearing asanas.  So that was kind of the baseline where I started this practice.

The Series
Modified Pregnancy Sun Salutation I
Starting in Tadasana (standing up straight, feet hip width apart hands in namaste or prayer)
Forward bend, maintaining a concave position for the back
Step feet back one at a time into a push-up position and lower to the floor in plank with elbows in
Push up in half plank with knees on the ground for extra support
Push back to downward dog
Step feet back up to forward bend
Sweep arms around to reach up, squat position
Return to Uttadasana
Repeat four more times
 

Modified Pregnancy Sun Salutation II
Starting in Uttadasana (standing up straight, feet hip width apart hands in namaste or prayer)
Forward bend, maintaining a concave position for the back
Step feet back one at a time into a push-up position and lower to the floor in plank with elbows in
Push up in half plank with knees on the ground for extra support
Push back to downward dog
Step right foot forward to outside of right hand into lunge arms reaching up
exhale release arms to ground and step back into plank and lower body to floor
inhale push up in half plank with kness on the ground for extra support
exhale Push back into downward dog
inhale Step left leg forward to outside of left hand, reaching arm ups and lunging
exhale release arms to ground and step back into plank and lower body to floor
inhale push up in half plank with kness on the ground for extra support
exhale Push back into downward dog
Step feet back up to forward bend one at a time
Sweep arms around to reach up, squat position
Return to Uttadasana
Repeat four more times
 

Benefits: energizing, warming, toning, opening

Triangle
Utthita Trikonasana

 
Benefits: energizing pose, opens the chest and tones the legs, benefits circulation and respiration, stretches the spine, relieves back ache


Half Moon Pose
Ardha Chandrasana
 

Benefits: energizing, reduces anxiety, stabilizes mood, can help with certain kinds of bleeding during pregnancy, relieves feelings of heaviness in the breasts, strengthens and tones the chest, spine, and pelvis, tones the placenta, can reduce itchiness, opens the torso to make more room for baby, reduces nausea, gently tones legs and abdominals

Standing Wide Angle Forward Bend
benefits: energizing, improves leg circulation, relaxes and opens pelvic floor mucles


Goddess Pose
benefits: tones legs and glutes

 

Heel Stretch
Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana
 

Benefits: balance, toning

Standing Hip Stretch
 
Benefit: opens the hips, balance

Balancing Stick and Pose of the Dancer

Semi-Squat
Benefits: tones pelvic floor, thighs and glutes

Transition to Floor Poses
Forward bend, step feet back to plank, lower with elbows in, push up to plank, push back to downward dog, strep forward into lunge

Warrior I

Warrior II

Exaulted Warrior
Benefits: tones legs, eases morning sickness (although not to be used as a relief position), stimulates liver and spleen thus benefiting digestion, tones the pelvic region

Downward Dog
 Benefits: lifts uterus, tones pelvic floor, gently tones abdominals

Straight leg posterior leg lifts
five on each side

Centaur Pose
benefits: Opens hip flexors, energizes ovaries, tones back muscles

Seated Backward Bend
benefits: tones reproductive system

Cat Cow Series with Variations
benefits: tones core muscles, facilitates optimal fetal positioning.

Opposite Arm/Leg Lift

Pushups in Semi-Plank
12-15 times

Seated Arm Stretches
Cow Face Arms and Reverse Namaste


Squatting for 10 breaths with Kegels
benefits: tones pelvic floor and complimentary muscles in glutes and lower back facilitating optimal pelvic floor function

note: There is some really interesting info out there about how kegels are not actually helpful for pelvic floor health, for example this blog post discusses some problems with kegels.  After doing some more research, I made the personal decision to do kegels and squats since they work complimentary muscles which seems to make the most senese for whole body wellness to me.  Just as it's important to build muscle on both your biceps and triceps to keep your body in balance, it seems smart to tone glutes and PCs in balance too.
Squatting to Standing
Up and down from standing to squat 12 times

Seated Wide Angle Pose
benefits: opens and tones pelvis, stregnthens spine
Seated Bound Angle Pose
benefits: opens pelvis


Neck Rolls
Benefits: Loosens and streches neck, which reflexively relates to the cervix.

Crunches with Rectus Abdominus Support
Hands hold the two sides of the abdominal muscles together while crunching.  Lower abdominals and PC muscles enganged.

Oblique Crunches

Ankle Flexion and Extension
Flexing and poiting toes.

Benefits: reduces edema in the feet and lower legs



Namaste, happy yoga and happy pregnancy and happy babies!











2 comments:

  1. you're my favorite! I'm also incorporating a weekly yoga pose into my maternity photos because yoga is so important during pregnancy!!

    p.s. I didn't forget about sending you diapers. I just haven't had the energy to go to a shipping facility. I'll get them to you before baby gets here though! promise.

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  2. Maybe you should hold on to them...I've decided to use my old covers after all. I did a bunch of research on the Mothering forums and saw a bunch of people who used different covers with the composting g-diaper inserts. Unless you're trying to get rid of them.

    And I've also been really into your pregnancy pics with the yoga poses! It's so cool that you're starting them so early and doing them regularly. Wish I had the discipline for that!

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