The Hips and keeping them open

Yoga has so many benefits to offer a pregnant mother. One of these a new found flexibility from the hormone relaxin that is released early in the pregnancy. This hormone helps to loosen the joints for the birth process, but can also be taken to far and cause harm if the mother is not aware of her flexibility limits. So, consider yourself warned about over stretching or going beyond your comfort level.

Just as the joints are able to move freely, they are also able to stiffen up easily. Remember that long car ride mentioned several post back, or maybe its the 8 hours at your desk that is causing the joints to stiffen, either way you will find this next exercise very helpful.

1. Sit as straight in the car as you possibly can, maybe think about lifting through the crown of the head. It will help to move your tush closer to front edge of the chair.

2. Take a few deep, cleansing breaths through the nose if possible.

3. Cross the right leg over the left knee, flex the right foot to engage the muscle of the leg, it helps to protect the joints

4. Mindfully hinge from the hips, maintain the straight back, again thinking about the head reaching forward instead of down

5. Take at least 4 breaths, on the exhale think about the joint in the hip and see if the exhale can release any tightness, inhale long and deep (being pregnant, you can’t inhale to deep)

6. Switch sides and only go only as deep into the fold as YOU feel comfortable.


Stretches for the long haul

In the last post I mentioned the stretches for the car ride to the family visits – you know the ones – when retired people request that you take time off from your job, ride in a car for 5 or more hours pregnant to visit for three days, ride 5 more hours still pregnant only to have to wake up the next morning at 6 am to go to your job and make up for lost time at your job. Yes, this really does happen all the time so I teach in my Prenatal Yoga classes stretches to in the car on the road. Your husband will look at you funny while you do these stretches but remind him just who’s family is torturing you, while pregnant with his child, by insisting on the visit. Just explain to him that you need to stretch to keep from getting tension, tightness or cramps from sitting for long periods.

  1. While sitting in a chair, bend the arm at the elbow, extend the bent arm straight out to the side from the shoulder, now place the bent elbow on to the car window, take a long inhale and long exhale. Try to move the bent elbow further towards the seat belt area near the door frame of the car (behind). You are opening the right side of the shoulder and chest area so remember to take long inhales and exhales to relax those muscles. Keep moving the elbow back, pausing to take a breath with each move but keep it safe.
  2. The left arm can be stretched the same or you can extend it behind the drivers seat and relax. Be sure to do both sides of the body creating a balance.

I hope that this helps with those long rides. I use this technique all the time at my desk and it helps keep the chest area open. You can also reach behind with both hands and grab the chair back with both hands, bend or straighten the elbows and lift the chest to create a stretch in the front body. Ahhhh, it feels good. Just do not recommend that you use the reach behind method in the car. Happy Trails untill next time!

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