Yoga is an excellent way to energize, relieve stress, and regain the flexibility and strength you had prebaby. Try this routine from prenatal and postpartum yoga instructor Jennifer Wolfe.
Start in a hands-and-knees position with your hands directly under your shoulders, and hands, knees and feet hip-width apart. Make sure your pelvis is in a neutral position (not tilted too far forward or arched back) and your chest and hips are at the same height. Then gradually lift up your knees until your torso is parallel to the floor. While you hold this position for as long as you can, pull your navel into your spine to engage the abdominal muscles. If you have a hard time holding this position on your toes, drop to your knees until you get stronger.
From plank, shift back on your heels as you lift your hips up and press your
chest toward your thighs, making an upside-down "V" with your body.
Gently press your heels toward the ground and take five long, deep breaths.
Bring It Home
Continue to move in smooth alternating motions from plank pose to downward dog, back to plank and so on, until you’re ready to finish. At that point, hold plank for a couple of breaths, then gently drop your knees, sit back on your heels and stretch your upper body forward along the floor into a child's pose, and rest for a few moments.
Feeling-Zen Workout. (Moms-to-be)
Sit with your left leg straight and right ankle crossed above your left knee (but not on your kneecap). Stretch and breathe. For a deeper stretch, bend your left knee and put your hands behind you. This pose helps with hip pain and preps you for delivery.
Pigeon-toed downward dog
To relieve leg cramps and restless legs, get on all fours, with your hands underneath your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips. Walk your hands forward two to four inches. Press back and up into an upside-down V shape. Reach your armpits toward your ankles. Drop your neck so your head can move freely. Hold for five breaths.
Sit with your right knee bent and left leg extended. Reach your right arm up and over to feel a side stretch. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths and then repeat on the other side. This helps with back and hip pain.
Straddle forward bend
Relieve aches and ready your hips for birth. Sit and straddle your legs far enough apart that it’s challenging -- but don’t overdo it. Flex your feet hard, stretching your calves. Walk your hands forward until you feel a deep stretch. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths. If your muscles are tight, prop yourself up with a pillow or blankets.
What’s your favorite yoga move?