10 Best Yoga Poses For Pregnant

Yoga Poses For Pregnant

Pregnant women need to find ways to work out so they can stay in shape and need a safe way to do it. One of the best ways for them to get and stay in shape is by practicing yoga. Yoga has health benefits for pregnant women without causing harm to their babies. Here are the 10 best yoga poses for pregnant women to do.

Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)

The extended triangle pose is a standing pose similar to its name because it stretches your body in the form of triangles. It’s one of the first poses students learn when practicing yoga.

Extended Triangle Pose - Utthita Trikonasana

Steps For Extended Triangle Pose:

  1. Start this pose by standing in tadasana (the start of all standing poses). Place your feet 3 ½ to 4 feet apart. 
  2. Lift your arms up parallel to the floor and put them out to the sides. Your shoulder blades should be wide and your palms should be faced down.
  3. Turn your left foot slightly to the right and keep your right foot at a 90-degree angle and align your heels. Tighten your thighs and turn your right thigh outward so the center of your right knee is lined up with the right ankle.
  4. While exhaling, move your body over to the right bending from the hip and not the waist. Support this movement by straightening your left leg and placing your left heel to the floor. 
  5. Switch your body to the left while keeping the two sides equally long. Put your left hip slightly forward and lengthen your tailbone toward the back of your heel.
  6. Put your right hand on your shin, ankle, or the floor outside of your foot without disturbing the pose. 
  7. Lift your left arm toward the ceiling making sure it is in line with the tops of your shoulders. Keep your head in a neutral position while looking at your left thumb.
  8. Hold this pose for about 30 seconds to one minute. Inhale as you lift up pressing the back of your heel into the floor, and reach your hand toward the ceiling. 
  9. Switch your feet and repeat the steps for the same amount of time on the left side.

Advantages of Extended Triangle Pose:

  • This pose will increase your flexibility and strengthens your knees, ankles, legs, and hips.
  • It’s a great stretch for your groin, hips, hamstrings, and calves.
  • It opens your shoulder and chest muscles and extends your spine.
  • It improves your digestion.
  • It relieves neck and back pain.

Precautions For Extended Triangle Pose:

  • This exercise shouldn’t be done if you suffer from knee and neck pain.
  • It shouldn’t be performed if you have high or low blood pressure.
  • Pregnant women shouldn’t perform this exercise if they suffer from heart conditions.

Yoga Squat Pose (Malasana)

Yoga squat is a squatting pose that is perfect for pregnant women because it stretches your groin area, opens your hips, and makes room for the baby to come out.

Yoga Squat - Malasana

Steps For Yoga Squat Pose:

  1. Start with your feet a little wider than your hips with your toes pointed out. If you’re on your yoga mat, your toes should be pointing towards the corners of your mat.
  2. Take a deep breath when you exhale, bend your knees in the same direction as your toes and squat.
  3. Place your hands in a prayer position and put your elbows inside your legs. Lift up your chest making sure your collarbones are broad. 
  4. Press into your knees/thighs with your elbows so your knees can go wider apart and towards the wall behind you.

Advantages For Yoga Squat Pose:

  • Yoga squat helps pregnant women with giving birth.
  • It strengthens your hips, glutes, core, and pelvic muscles.
  • It improves your posture.
  • It helps with your digestive system by easing constipation in pregnant women.

Precautions For Yoga Squat Pose:

  • Pregnant women shouldn’t perform this exercise with hemorrhoids.
  • It shouldn’t be performed if you have varicose veins.
  • If you have heaviness in your pelvic muscle, you shouldn’t do this move.
  • If you have low lying placenta and umbilical cord vessels, you shouldn’t perform this move.
  • Don’t perform this move if your baby is laying breach after 30 weeks.
  • Don’t do this exercise if you’re at risk for preterm labor.
  • You shouldn’t do this if you have knee or back pain.

Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend (Upavistha Konasana)

The wide-angle seated forward bend is performed in the seated position. It requires you to sit up with your legs wide apart as you grab your toes and lean forward.

Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend - Upavistha konasana

Steps For Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend:

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs together and in front of you. Lean your body back slightly on your hands. 
  2. Lift and open your legs at a 90-degree angle. Press your hands on the floor, and slide your butt forward widening your legs to another 10 to 20 degrees.
  3. Move your thighs out so your knees can point to the ceiling. Reach out for your heels and stretch towards the balls of your feet.
  4. While your thighs are pressed into the floor and your knees are pointing towards the ceiling, put your hands forward between your legs. Keep your arms stretched.
  5. Continue to lean forward as you exhale until you feel a comfortable stretch in the back of your legs. Hold this position for at least one minute and then inhale as you come up.

Advantages Of Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend:

  • It calms the nervous system.
  • It stretches your abductor’s muscles.
  • The exercise lengthens your hamstring muscles.
  • Relieves sciatic pain in pregnant women.
  • Relieves lower back pain.
  • It eases the pain in your stomach.

Precautions For Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend:

  • Pregnant women shouldn’t perform this exercise if they have lower back pain.
  • If you have a hamstring or groin pull, you shouldn’t do this move.
  • If you have a herniated disk, you shouldn’t do this exercise.

Goddess Pose Yoga (Utkata Konasana)

The goddess pose is designed to help you harness the forces of the universe while stretching and toning the lower half of your body. The pose helps people connect to their inner goddess as well as finding a common space with feminine energy.

Goddess pose - utkata konasana

Steps For Goddess pose:

  1. Start with your legs wide apart. Point your toes out and your heels in so your feet are at a 45-degree angle.
  2. Make sure to bend your knees in the same direction as your toes while lowering your hips towards the top of your knees.
  3. Raise your arms to shoulder height and bend your elbows so your fingers point toward the ceiling. Spread your fingers so you can feel this pose in your back.
  4. Tighten your core muscles and lower your tailbone towards the floor. You should keep your spine long while doing this step.
  5. Hold this position for 30 seconds to a minute and then release it.

Advantages For Goddess pose:

  • This pose stretches your chest, groin, and hip muscles.
  • It strengthens and tones your core muscles.
  • The pose makes your inner thighs and quadriceps stronger.
  • It gets your body heated and increases circulation throughout your body.

Precautions For Goddess pose:

  • Pregnant women shouldn’t do this pose if they have chronic injuries to the legs, hips, or shoulders.

Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

This pose is a standing forward bend, which calms the mind while stretching and rejuvenating your body. It’s an intense stretch for the hamstrings and back. It helps you prepare your body for deeper forward bends.

Standing Forward Bend - Uttanasana

Steps For Standing Forward Bend:

  1. Begin in a standing position with your feet wide apart.
  2. To give yourself more support for the bend, use blocks to support your hands and arms.
  3. Set up the blocks in a way that makes you feel comfortable depending on how far along you are with your pregnancy.
  4. Keep your knees bent with your forearms on your thighs to support yourself. 
  5. This position is excellent if you’re in your last trimester of pregnancy, have tight hamstrings, or want a more supportive bend.

Advantages For Standing Forward Bend:

  • This gets rid of stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and headaches.
  • It also helps relieve tension in your neck and shoulders.

Precautions For Standing Forward Bend:

  • This pose requires a lot of patience and practice to be done correctly. It may take a while to master this pose.
  • Don’t perform this pose if you suffer from bad knees.

Seated Side Bend (Parsva Sukhasana)

The seated side bend is a relaxing pose, which stretches your neck, back, shoulders, and obliques. The focus of this pose is to make you feel relaxed and get rid of your stress and anxiety.

Seated Side Bend - Parsva Sukhasana

Steps For Seated Side Bend:

  1. Sit on a mat with your legs crossed. Sit up straight keeping your spine as straight as possible.
  2. Lift your right hand to the ceiling and slowly tilt your arm to the left. Make sure you’re keeping your arm aligned with your body and that it isn’t moving in front or behind your head.
  3. If you are performing this correctly, you should feel the stretch in your obliques. If you want a deeper stretch, tilt more to the left.
  4. When you are finished stretching the right side, switch to the left side, and repeat the steps.

Advantages For Seated Side Bend:

  • Pregnant women deal with back pain so this pose is great for getting rid of back pain.
  • It’s excellent for getting rid of stress, tension, and anxiety especially for pregnant women.

Precautions For Seated Side Bend:

  • While the move isn’t harmful to the baby, it could lead to swelling in the ankles.
  • You shouldn’t perform this pose if you have hip, back, or shoulder injuries.

Ankle-to-Knee Pose (Agnistambhasana)

It’s a seated stretch that opens your hips and the name describes the alignment of the pose. Your shins are stacked together with each knee sitting on the opposite ankle.

Ankle-to-Knee Pose - Agnistambhasana

Steps For Ankle-to Knee Pose:

  1. Start by sitting on your mat. Put your hands behind your back with your palms down and your fingers pointed forward.
  2. Put your right ankle on your left knee.
  3. Lift up your chest and take deep breaths.
  4. Bring your right leg down and rest a little before switching legs.
  5. Sit in a seated crossed-legged position. Place your right ankle on your left knee. Lean your torso forward and walk your fingers in front of you.
  6. Walk your hands back toward your body and switch legs. Don’t forget to breathe while performing this pose.

Advantages For Ankle-to-Knee Pose:

  • This is an excellent pose for back pain.
  • This pose is great for stretching the hip and thigh muscles.
  • It relieves tension throughout your lower body.

Precautions For Ankle-to Knee Pose:

  • If you have high blood pressure, this move can raise it temporarily.
  • If you have bad posture, your muscles will have to work harder to perform the move or it could lead to pain and stiffness.
  • You should avoid this pose if you have knee or back problems.

Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Koṇasana)

The bound angle pose is a classic prenatal yoga pose that helps open up your hips and stretches your groin muscles, which are two areas that become tight during your pregnancy. It’s a pose that can help you if you are feeling out of sorts. 

Bound Angle Pose - Baddha Koṇasana
Image Source: Freedom Genesis

Steps For Bound Angle Pose:

  1. Start by sitting on a blanket and stretching your legs out in front of you. While exhaling, bend your knees and pull your heels towards your pelvis. Lower your knees to the sides and press the soles of your feet together.
  2. Bring your heels as close as possible to your pelvis. Grab your big toes with your first and second fingers and thumbs. Keep the outer side of your feet firmly on the floor. If you can’t touch your toes, grab your ankles or shins.
  3. Sit up straight with your spine elongated.
  4. Look straight ahead.
  5. Hold this pose for about five minutes.
  6. To get out of this position, let go of your toes, lift your knees and straighten your legs along the floor.

Advantages For Bound Angle Pose:

  • It improves circulation and blood flow throughout the body.
  • It aids pregnant women during childbirth.
  • The pose is good for your heart, abdomen, kidneys, and ovaries.
  • It helps with flat feet, high blood pressure, and asthma.
  • It reduces stress, anxiety, and depression.

Precautions For Bound Angle Pose:

  • This pose isn’t good for people who have groin or knee injuries.
  • This should be done with a blanket.
  • It may not be a good move for people with high blood pressure because it may raise it.
  • Women who suffer from back pain should consider passing on this pose.

Head-to-Knee Forward Bend (Janusirsasana)

This head-to-knee forward bend is a seated forward bending pose that involves twisting and stretches your hamstring and shoulder muscles. The pose will also strengthen your back muscles.

Head-to-Knee Forward Bend - Janusirsasana

Steps For Head-to-Knee Forward Bend:

  1. Sit on a mat with your legs stretched in front of you. Bend your right knee and grab your right ankle or shin. 
  2. Pull it as close as you can to your perineum. The rest of your right leg will remain on the right side of the floor. If this move is uncomfortable, place a yoga blanket underneath your leg.
  3. Position your right foot in order to make sure that your right big toe touches the inside of your left inner thigh. The angle between your right leg and your left leg should be 90-degrees. 
  4. Reach both arms forward and grab the toes on your left foot. If you can’t reach your left foot, grab your shin. 
  5. Look up to the ceiling and twist your body to face your left foot as you straighten your spine to come forward.
  6. Tighten your left thigh muscle and press your left leg down into the mat. The back of your knee should be touching the mat. When you inhale, twist your body to the left. 
  7. When you exhale, reach your body forward. When you have reached as far as you could, touch your left leg. Keep your leg straight and your toes pointed up to the ceiling. Pregnant women can do this move up to the second trimester.
  8. Lift your sternum to keep your back from hunching over as you keep your entire body bent slightly forward. 
  9. Your chest should be on your left leg. Press your butt into the floor. Try to lengthen your spine to see if you can touch your knee with your nose and chin. 
  10. If you can’t do this move, put a blanket on top of your knee and rest your head on it.
  11. Do this pose for 30 seconds when you first try it. When you have more practice, hold the pose for several minutes. Repeat these steps on the other side.

Advantages For Head-to-Knee Forward Bend:

  • It aids pregnant women by relieving back pain and opening up the hips.
  • It improves digestion.
  • It helps get rid of a fever.
  • The pose stabilizes your blood pressure.

Precautions For Head-to-Knee Forward Bend:

  • You shouldn’t do this move if you suffer from excessive bowel movements.
  • You should moderate the exercise if you suffer from knee injuries. Use a blanket to support your knees while doing the exercise. 
  • Don’t force your knee to bend if it causes you pain. Bend your knee as far as you can.

Lotus Pose Yoga (Padmasana)

This pose is done in a seated position and your legs will be crossed with each foot on the opposite thigh. It will stretch your knees and ankles. It’s a great pose for meditation.

Lotus Pose - Padmasana

Steps For Lotus Pose:

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you. Bend your right knee and bring the lower leg into a cradle with your right foot in the crook of your left elbow and the left foot in the crook of your right elbow.
  2. Put your hand under your shin and hold this position to stretch your hip and ankles.
  3. Don’t round your back and shoulders.
  4. Repeat the steps on the other side.
  5. Start again on the right side of your body bringing your ankle to the left hip.
  6. Let the bottom of your right foot face the ceiling. Your hips should be open and your knee relaxed downward below hip level.
  7. Once you finish this step, repeat it on the opposite leg.

Advantages For Lotus Pose:

  • If you continue to do this pose until late into your pregnancy, it will help you with your childbirth.
  • It relaxes the brain.
  • It stimulates your abdomen, spine, bladder, and pelvis.
  • The pose stretches your knees and ankles.

Precautions For Lotus Pose:

  • This position shouldn’t be performed unless you are advanced. You need the experience to do this pose unless someone with experience is helping you.
  • You shouldn’t perform this if you suffer from knee and ankle injury

Yoga is a great exercise that can be done even during pregnancy. It has many benefits including helping you relax as well as aiding during childbirth. It’s not too strenuous so the poses are basically safe for you to perform.

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