Yoga For Pregnancy: Back and Chest Routine

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Join Yoga Alliance certified teacher MJ Gordon for a simple, fun and effective routine that pregnant women can practice. It's Yoga for Pregnant Women: Back and Chest Routine.

Hello and welcome today we have a nice prenatal yoga routine that you can do through any stage of pregnancy

This is going to help just bring relaxation and ease into your body while also opening up some breathing spaces, relaxing that spine, relaxing the hips or any aches and pains that you might be experiencing

So to begin, we're going to start on a nice flat ground

We're going to use a chair for assistance and this chair should be solid

It should allow you to sit up straight and it shouldn't tip over or move

So I have mine on my exercise mat right here and you can modify this however you like

If you feel like sitting cross legged in bed or you're happy to sit on the floor, you're welcome to do so

We're going to sit here in a nice chair and we're going to sit upright in that chair

Go ahead and begin to align yourself

So bringing the ankles beneath the knees, make sure those feet are nice and straight

You might widen your hips if you need a little space for the belly

Just do what feels comfortable to you

And then when you get aligned, let's roll those shoulders up, inhale, exhale them down

Good, let's inhale again, exhale them down

Now go ahead and close your eyes and feel what your body might be feeling at the moment

You might shift your waist side to side, rolling the shoulders back and forth individually

Maybe you sit up and feel what it feels like to pull up through the crown of your head

But I want you to have your eyes closed so that you can be aware of the sensations in your body

Take note of any pain points you might have or any discomfort

And I want you to breathe in and send your breath to those areas

Just imagining that breath filling that area and exhaling and letting any stress or tension go

Feel free to blink your eyes open or keep them closed, we're going to bring the hands down to the side

We're going to inhale them up to 90 degree angles

Just like this, goal post arms, exhale, allow them to come back down to the side

Let's inhale, roll those shoulders up, exhale, roll them back down

Very nicely

Inhale those arms up to goal post again

Inhale them back down

Bringing our breath to our body, we're going to roll those shoulders up again, exhale

Every time we exhale, just relieving a little more stress and tension

Now we're going to go ahead and widen our stance if we feel like it's necessary

You can bring one hand to the top of your thigh, we're going to inhale the other hand up to goal post arm, but tilting ever so slightly that way, exhale, come back down

Now if it feels good to stretch all the way up, feel free to do so, but you don't need to if it provides a little more stretch than is necessary

Feel free to bend that arm and maybe reach up a little bit and then come back down

Everything should feel nice and comfortable and easy as you move through it


Nice side reaches

Next side reach, we're going to lift and we're going to hold

So if you want to bring your hand to your hip or move that leg out, maybe even rest your forearm on that thigh, feel free to do so

We just want to get a nice stretch in the side body

You might feel it down here at the hip, you might feel it here up at the rib, but whatever you do, just make sure you listen to your body and move in it with ease

Now go ahead and maintain that still breath

Inhale any tension or stress

And if it feels good, feel free to deepen by reaching more or tilting further, whatever it means for you right now to get more comfortable

So if more comfortable means backing off a bit, back off a bit

And then your next exhale, come back to center

Reset with one inhale by rolling your shoulders up

Exhale it back down

And then we're going to inhale to the other side

So go ahead and move yourself in a way that makes you comfortable enough to stretch to the side

You can bring your gaze down to the side or up, whatever feels best for your neck and shoulders

Inhale and make that stretch or that pose more comfortable for you


And with that next exhale, coming back up to center, resetting with a nice inhale, shoulder roll, exhale, relax those shoulders down

Hopefully by now you're feeling nice and light and like that breath is in tune with your body

So we're going to go ahead and place your feet wherever it's comfortable

So I just want you to situate yourself, but we're going to sit up in this chair

We're going to take one hand, the right hand is what I'm going to take, and I'm just going to place it on the left knee and I'm going to exhale gently and just give myself a nice gentle twist

I'm saying gentle twist because all we're doing is literally just turning our body to the side as much as it feels comfortable

I don't want you to push into this and if it's uncomfortable at all, just feel free to just place your hand here and even sit forward

So we're just trying to get as much stretch as we can in that back body and side body

Nice deep breaths and feel that lung expand the rib cage

We don't have a lot of room there, but what we're going to do is we're exercising our lungs by breathing in nice and deep

Feeling that compression where we feel it, exhale slowly through the mouth and come back to center

Go ahead and take a big inhale from me here, crossing the other way

We can use that back hand on the back of our chair to support ourselves, lift up through the crown of the head, exhale, nice gentle twist, whatever that means for you

Just making sure we're sitting nice and erect

Inhale, feel that expansion through the spine

Exhale, release


Now I'm going to shift my chair slightly to an angle so you can see this movement, but you can just stay exactly where you're at

We're going to sit upright just like this and I want you to try, if possible, to kick your foot up here

If this is too much, you can extend that bottom leg and kick it down here below the knee on the shin

We're opening that knee out and open just like this so the ankle is pointing up towards the ceiling and we're making this nice number four with our legs

However it means for you, it could be crossed at the ankles, you can move it up the shin or you can come up above the knee and if you want even deeper, you can prop your knee up bringing the foot flat on the ground

Whatever feels the most comfortable for you, get in that position and then either hold on to your thighs or that shin and gently lift yourself up nice and tall, nice big inhale

Release those shoulders, good, and then let's take another inhale and only if it feels comfortable just start to tilt forward slightly

The nice thing about this figure four is usually there's enough space or gap here in between the thighs to cradle the belly

If not, you can just do what feels most comfortable but you should feel that nice stretch either in the side of your thigh over here or in the glute of the leg that is bent up

We just want a nice gentle stretch

This is going to help with lower back pain, sciatica, even IT bands like the sides of our thighs here when they get really heavy or sore and you're laying on the side

This is going to help relieve some of those symptoms so make sure your chest is nice and upright, your gaze comes down a little bit forward and maintain that nice deep breath


One more deep breath for me here and then gently ease out coming back upright

If you've been leaning forward, you might bring your feet together and swish side to side and then we're going to go ahead and switch sides

Again, you can cross the ankles, bring it forward

If you are crossing the ankles, just make sure that knee stays open or you can come up to the knee, hold on to that shin or you can come up to the thigh and again for an even deeper stretch, bring that ankle down

Holding on to the shin or your thighs, lifting with an inhale, exhale if you can, tilt a little bit forward

It might be a small tilt like this, if I want to get deeper, I might modify it and just make myself just a little more comfortable so there's space

We want this to feel like we can feel the stretch but we also want to be able to relax and be comfortable in the stretch

So breathing in nice and deep

Send that breath to wherever you might feel any tightness, exhale and release, good

One more inhale and release, wonderful

With that next inhale, we just slowly bring ourselves up to center, bring the feet together, maybe march them out or sway those hips side to side and let's go ahead and inhale those shoulders up, exhale them back down

Nice little reset here and we're going to stand up in our chair and we're going to place the chair either or stand in front of our chair or behind our chair, depends on how much support you want

This is a higher support, using the front of the chair is going to give you deeper support but from here we're just going to stand feet shoulder width apart, maybe a little wider if we need a little bit more foundation

We're just going to inhale, lifting through the crown of our head, standing nice and tall, using that chair for support and as we exhale, soften the knees and just gently begin to bend at the waist with those soft knees

So if you feel like you feel better with the chair support here, you can use it that way or if you want a little deeper chair support at the front

Now walk your feet a little bit and we're just doing a nice little forward bend as far as it feels comfortable but we want to make sure our spine is straight, our knees are bent but our legs are straight and so we're just going to walk into this, maybe shift side to side, you might feel a little bit of tightness maybe in your back of your thighs, calves, maybe even in your back

Just work with it gently and do what's comfortable for you

Take a nice big inhale, when you inhale let's extend the arms, extend the legs and when you exhale slowly through your mouth, soften the knees and begin to fold forward

Just as far as it feels comfortable using this chair for support, again feel free to sway side to side, see what it feels like in those muscles, in the glutes, in your calves and then gently work your way up, inhaling, let's place our hands either on our thighs or our low back and gently help ourselves up

Very nice

Now we're going to take ourselves to the back of a chair, holding on, feet forward, slide one foot back, it's okay if it's not a perfect slide, we just want, you can go kind of corner to corner if you want, we just want some space here and then go ahead and bend that front leg forward, straightening this leg, hip is pushing forward towards the chair, using that chair for support, warrior one, inhale, exhale, good

Now bringing this foot, lift it and shift it to the side, bend that front leg again, opening the hips out to the side, you can even raise this back arm up, warrior two, wonderful

Get deeper into that warrior two, taking a nice strong stance, we're squeezing with our glutes and our core, just ever so gently and then we come back up to center and scooch that other leg back, hips facing forward towards the chair, bend that front knee gently, warrior one, we're opening these hip muscles here, a lot of times we have a lot of relax and that makes them really loose but then we're carrying so much weight that they're clenching really tight so it's a lot of stress and strain, a lot of confusion going on there for your muscles so just getting them aligned and just relaxed in these elongated positions can help with a lot of that discomfort, good

So you're only doing what feels comfortable, lift that back foot, shift it so the toes are facing the side or the back wall, my hips are now facing the back instead of the chair, bending that knee as far as it feels comfortable and only if it feels comfortable, warrior two, maybe lifting that arm up, palm up or down, whatever is most comfortable, breathing in nice and deep, good, pressing through the back, coming back to center, inhale up, exhale, move the legs where you need to, forward fold, you're also welcome to place your hand on your hands if you want a little more relief there, very nice, breathing in nice and deep, allow yourself to relax here for just a breath and then we're going to take our chair and if you're in the back let's move to the front because this will help, we're going to hold that chair kind of in that nice forward fold and then we're going to widen our stance and then just gently using this chair to help us into a lower squat so you might have to walk it, you might have to adjust it but we're going to get into this low squat and into as low as we feel most comfortable, now if you're not feeling like getting this low in a squat or maybe your heels can't come down, that's totally okay, you're welcome to also do this low squat right here on the chair, just like this, widen the feet, widen the stance almost like a supported goddess pose and then bring those hands to heart center, so this squat is a great squat to shorten that birth canal and keep the whole body fit, it is a great thing to practice during pregnancy, after pregnancy, so we're just going to breathe here in this low squat, couple deep breaths, very nice and then when we're done you can come back up, sit in your chair, sit wherever you want to sit and just get comfortable again, so find a place where you can sit nice and upright, you can do this if you are in your bed, if you are on the floor, you can do this in easy seat, if you're here on the chair, widen that stance, close your eyes, find yourself breathing and find yourself centered, just taking a moment to reset, good, now bringing those hands to the thighs or hips, we're going to widen our stance here, if you're in easy seat or like cross-legged position, you're fine just where you're at, just bring your hands to your thighs and give us some nice rolls, nice hip rolls to just lubricate the joints there, relax those hips a little bit more, good, breathing in nice and deep with these rolls, maybe you're going counter clockwise, if you are, switch it up, if you're going clockwise, now you're going to go counter clockwise, just go in the opposite direction now of which you've been rolling and let's go ahead and focus on our breath, so you might inhale as you bend forward, you might exhale as you bend back or vice versa, just keep those breaths in sync with the body, good, now I'm going to turn my chair again so you can see this posture but stay right where you're at, seated cat cows comes next, so bring those hips in a little bit closer, hands on thighs, we're going to inhale reaching our chest up, gaze kind of moves up slightly, we're arching our back as much as it feels comfortable and as we exhale, we're going to roll our shoulders, roll our back as much as feels comfortable and then inhale, so just as far as it feels comfortable, this is relaxing the central nervous system, flexing the spine, we're also getting a nice diaphragmatic massage, you're also moving the bowels, so this helps move things down, massaging the colon and intestines, helping aid in digestion and also triggering relaxation, so go with your breath, inhale, exhale as you round your back, tuck your chin, good, inhale again and then come back to a neutral position, from here we can take our hands, grab them on the back of the chair and just scooch forward and lift the chest giving ourselves a nice shoulder stretch, a lot of times all of this is pulling forward so just opening up the chest as much as it feels comfortable and bringing our gaze slightly up, again just opening this front body, allowing more space for your lungs and for your breathing, good, come back in a neutral position, we're going to sit in the most comfortable position you're even welcome to lay down for this portion, I'm going to cross my feet here because that's what's comfortable to me but I just want you to find an easy seated or resting posture for the next couple minutes of our routine, find yourself with your eyes closed once you get comfortable there and I want you to assess how your body feels now, we did a little bit of a body scan at the beginning of this flow and we were looking for what our body was telling us and what spaces we felt like might need more ease, so I want you to bring that breath back into your body, exhale, release, allow yourself to be supported wherever you're sitting or laying and let's focus on inhaling slowly through the nose, filling up our diaphragm, expanding the lungs, feeling that rib cage open and maybe just breathing in a little bit more, hold it at the top for just a second before slowly exhaling and as you exhale, allow that breath to sound as if you're fogging up a window, let's do this one more time, inhale through the nose, hold for a second, exhale, fog up that window and continue this breath, cycling as you breathe in, imagining that diaphragm fill up, imagining that rib cage expand, imagine your lungs strong and as you exhale, imagine your body circulating all that oxygen through your blood vessels to your heart, to your baby, good inhale, again and you may continue this breath or feel free to return to your normal pattern of breath and you're welcome to stay here in this state for as long as you wish, allowing yourself to thank your body for everything it's doing, it's doing miraculous things and you're working really hard even though you might feel like you're not, your internal system is working so hard

So thank yourself for giving yourself this moment to self care and love up on your body, to give it some ease and some space and also imagine good things that is coming and this beautiful journey you're on, I appreciate you joining me here for this wonderful twenty minute prenatal flow

My name is MJ and I'll see you next time

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