After class last night at the wonderful PregnancyYogaBirmingham, I was asked to share again the postures we spoke about in connection with core strength. These exercises can be done now while you are pregnant but are also super useful for a gentle start to regaining strength once baby is here.
When carrying a baby we are not so concearned with your six pack muscles but what is often reffered to as the Core4; Diaphragm, Transverse Abdominus (TA) Multifidus Muscle (a series of muscles attached to the spinal column) and the Pelvic Floor. A weakness within the core4 may be one of the things that contributes to the chance of developing PGP but also lower back pain in your 4th trimester.
Please note - if you have just had your baby it is important to be aware of the symptoms of Diastasis Recti (Seperation of the abdominal muscles of more than 2 fingers width) These exercises will help reduce these symptoms but it may be worth checking with a medical professional first.
Cat/ Cow Sanskrit name - Marjariasana
Great for mobilisation of the spine, relief from lower back pain & strengthens the Diaphragm & Pelvic Floor.
Ok so this is a sequence you will be familiar with. Remeber to keep your hands planted underneath your shoulders & knees underneath your hips to make sure you are well supported. The Cow (letting baby hang down to the mat while lifting the chest/ tailbone) should not be done if you have Diastasis Recti - instead just come to table top and then the high arch of cat.
The key to Cat/Cow is multiple repetitions - move slowly and with awareness using your deep breath out to reach up into the spine as you make that haloween cat shape. For lower back pain you can really play with this pose to send the breath in to any areas of discomfort or tightness, so you may find you are arching into the lower back/ sacral joints rather than how we usual ask you to move into the middle of the spine.
Great for counteracting stiffness from sitting at a desk and ensuring your Core is working not your lower back.
Honestly feels like a waste of time but is SO good for strengthening the Pelvic Floor and the deeper TA. While your pregnant get sat on your ball (Paula has some for you to buy if you havent already got one) as this helps you keep your spine lengthened - get your socks off and make sure your feet are planted firmly on the ground. Once baby is here you can do Pelvic Tilts in lots of places! Lying on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, or with your back against a wall, knees bent (as if you were about to sit)
Moified Tree Pose
If your suffering from PGP, this is a balance that you can do and it feels really active whilst keeping your pelvis stabilised.
Having spent some time stood in Tandasana (Mountain Pose) you will have made sure your feet are firmly grounded. Either keeping your hands on your hips or letting your arms drift upwards as your rise, simply raise the heels & move steadily with the breath. Doing the exericse while you are pregnant is hard enough as your weight center has been shifted, once baby is here the added arms will add an extra effort to not wobble.
There you go lovelies, let me know how you get on or if you have any questions... x