International Day of Yoga: Best poses for pregnant women

As compared to other modes of workout, yoga is often considered the best exercise regime for expecting women as it is gentle and low-impact. Photo: iStock/NataliaDeriabina

Women today are aware of the importance of fitness and the need to remain active during their pregnancy unless their doctor advises otherwise. As compared to other modes of workout, yoga is often considered the best exercise regime for expecting women as it is gentle and low impact, focuses on relaxation and breath, supports pelvic floor health and even improves their balance and flexibility. Not all yoga poses might suit every woman but if they practise the discipline following the advice of a guide, they can prepare well to ease through the nine months, have a relatively easier delivery and even remain fit after it. Here are a few gentle, safe poses that can be added to a pregnancy period regimen.

Warrior pose
Also known as virabhadrasana, this pose can improve a pregnant woman's balance, strengthen their legs and core, stretch and open their hips and promote mental focus. Stand straight with your legs wide apart. Make sure the stance is comfortable and try to have the feet around three to four feet apart. Turn one foot outward and bend the knee of the same foot. Extend your arm on the same side out,  parallel to the floor. Look straight at the extended hand while the other hand is also straightened on the same line.

Bound angle pose
Baddha konasana or bound angle pose can relieve lower back discomfort, stimulate blood circulation, open hips and groin and prepare pregnant women well for a seated open-hip position for childbirth. To practise it, sit comfortably on the floor with your spine straight. Let the soles of your feet touch and your knees drop on either side towards the floor. Hold the feet with your palms if comfortable. You can start by holding for about 30 seconds and gradually increase to even a minute or longer if you are comfortable. 

Modified triangle pose
Are you looking for a pose that promotes digestion? Practitioners say this 'twisty' pose, also known as trikonasana can stimulate digestion and relieve constipation, which is a usual issue during pregnancy for many women. Moreover, it can also strengthen the muscles of the legs, hips and sides. To practise it, stand comfortably with your legs wide apart. Bend to one side and keep the arm on the same side as your shin. Extend the other arm upward and let your eyes look straight at its tip. If this is uncomfortable, let this armrest on your hip.  

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