There are a few things to take into consideration if you’re going to practice yoga while you’re pregnant. Most of the modifications you need to make are quite obvious. I always tell my prenatal yoga students that Rule Number 1 is simply, Don’t squish the baby. That means things you’ll need to find an alternative to poses where you’d put all of your weight on your belly (duh!) And for poses where you’d normally twist so that your belly presses into a bent knee aren’t a great ides (twist away from the knee instead!) Common sense!
The other modification that you’ll see often in pregnancy yoga classes is that you’ll notice the teacher will never ask you lay flat on your back for an extended period of time. That’s because around half way through your pregnancy, there’s a possibility that the weight of your growing uterus could compress the vena cava vein, which returns blood from your lower body to your heart. Since it’s possible that this could cutting off blood to that sweet baby of yours, we always err on the side of caution here. If you’re a back sleeper like I am, that’s a big bummer (it’s hard enough to get comfortable when you’re pregnant as it is!). What if you love love LOVE Savasana (Final Resting Pose) or other supine restorative yoga poses? Well, you’ve got to modify that a bit, too. And it’s SO worth doing it—if there’s one thing that’s super important for pregnant mamas (and ALL mamas, to be honest) it’s giving your body time to rest fully.
So, what’s a tired mama-to-be to do?
Pregnancy Yoga: How to Use Yoga Props for Restorative Yoga Poses
For Savasana, you could lay on your left side and surround yourself with bolsters and blankets, which is a great option! But if you love the feeling and support of the floor under your back, you might like the option of propping your torso up at an angle a bit better. It works for Savasana, Supta Baddha Konasana (Goddess Pose, pictured), and Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose. As an added bonus, when your heart is lifted a bit and your arms are out to the side it’s also a sweet chest opener, undoing all the hunching many of us do all day long as we sit in front of a computer or driving our cars.
|My gorgeous, glowing student Jen all propped up for Goddess Pose.|
Best of all, you don’t have to be in a prenatal yoga class to do it (but if you’re in the Charleston, SC area, please come see me!)! You can get tons of benefits from just taking 10-15 minutes at the end of your day to rest. You’ll relieve stress. You’ll sleep better. You’ll have more energy throughout the following day. I could go on… but you’re here to get comfy, aren’t you?
So, let’s do this!
Scenario 1: You’re in a yoga studio and you have access to ample yoga props: several bolsters, blankets, blocks, and straps. That’s right! This is the holy grail for the prenatal yoga student—you have arrived!
What to do: Use two blocks to support your bolster. Put the blocks into a stair step configuration (see picture), place the bolster on top, and set yourself up just like you would in Scenario 1.
What to do: Get creative! You could use two firm couch cushions one on top of the other to get your torso at a good, comfy, safe angle. In lieu of blocks, you could use a stack of books (maybe phone books actually DO have a use in the age of smartphones, after all!). You’ve probably got lots of blankets and throw pillows of different sizes in your house that you can use to prop up legs in Supta Baddha Konasana, give you extra support under your bottom, or give you a little extra lift to your head. In the photos below, I used a stack of books and a large, firm, memory foam pillow (you’ll want something that’s firm enough that it won’t collapse under the weight of your head, especially).
Talk to me, mamas! What’s your favorite restorative yoga posture and how often do you practice it? Do you prop yourself up at home? If so, what creative props do you use?