Prenatal Strengthening

sit and breathe

Baby Holding Preparation!

Back off! This is one continuous motion, pushing the air (and annoying people) away from you
Back off! pt 2
Back off! pt 3
Scarecrow- begin with shoulder blades relaxed down back
Scarecrow- drop hands, keeping shoulders relaxed and upper arms stationary
Windshield wiper- begin in the same position as Scarecrow
Thumbs up- also to stabilize the shoulder
Thumbs down or figure 8s from upward starting position
Thumbs both directions to work posterior and anterior muscles at one time
oblique work- begin in hands and knees
Hold block firmly between hands, pull shoulder blades back toward one another
keeping thigh internally rotated (knee facing down), extend one leg
on an exhale raise arms above head and squat while keeping natural curve of spine (no tucking!)
raise leg off ground, keep foot active and flexed, raise opposite arm straight forward or to the side
maintaining squat, raise and lower arms several times with breath

All of these exercises are from Jane Austin’s prenatal yoga classes at Yoga Tree Valencia in San Francisco.  We spend a good ten minutes working our “baby holding” muscles near the beginning of each class.  I have been taking her class at least once a week since the middle of my first trimester and attribute much of my strength and calm to her teachings.  You can purchase her DVD online!

To release the psoas muscles after standing poses or during a stressful day, try juicy hips.  Stand with feet wider than hip distance apart and knees slightly bent, then girate!  Circles, figure 8s or jiggling your booty all work great.

Always maintain the natural curve of the spine and avoid tucking the pelvis under.  The looser the hips and more spacious the pelvis, the easier it is to birth your baby (or so I’ve been told!).