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Pregnancy is the most amazing journey of a woman's life. However, the rapidly changing body shape can lead to many discomforts--Fortunately, yoga can help with many of these!
We need to remember that the body is changing day by day, even minute by minute. By remaining in alignment with these changes, we can enjoy a more amazing pregnancy. Parts of the body that weren’t previously considered important now take center stage and will benefit from nurturing and strengthening exercises to meet the extra demand placed on them.
Perhaps the most neglected part of the body (and not just during pregnancy) is the feet. They keep us upright every day, and often we walk several miles at a time, yet they receive little or no appreciation. They are our foundation, as well as being our connection to the ultimate Earth mother--our beautiful planet!
During pregnancy, the shifting change in body weight and our center of gravity creates a massive strain on our foundation. As the pregnancy progresses and the pressure on the feet is intensified, problems may become apparent. These are many and include; swollen ankles, varicose veins, sore knees, leg cramping, foot pain, lower back pain and even further down the line, serious problems in the knees and hips. By practicing our yogic foot exercises regularly--in a weekly class and at home--we can minimise these ailments and focus our energy instead on enjoying a wondrous, comfortable pregnancy!
Here are 3 yoga asanas (poses) which will strengthen our foundation:
1. Mountain pose (Tadasana)
By taking time to settle the toes and feet into the ground, we can strengthen the arches of the feet and assist them to support the growing weight. This is also a great pose to nurture our connection with the strength and calmness of Mother Earth as we take some nourishing deep breaths to rejuvenate ourselves and baby!
2. Hero pose (Virasana)
Everyone’s favorite and one of the most beneficial yoga poses during pregnancy! It stretches the feet and ankles and may be enjoyed as a mini self- reflexology treatment. On a deeper level, using the breath to exhale through any discomfort we may encounter is a great practice for the childbirth experience!
3. Warrior 1, 2 or 3 (Virabhadrasana I, II, or III)
As well as being fantastic for opening the hips and strengthening the legs, the Warrior poses bring a myriad of health benefits for the feet too! Working to press into your outer foot, without losing the pressure of your inner heel and the ball of your big toe into the floor will help to lift your arches. Keeping the arches of the feet healthy helps maintain alignment for the whole body. By grounding down with both feet we can work towards building a super strong foot support!
By practicing these poses with awareness and, in addition with ankle strengthening and rotating exercises, we can build and maintain a strong support system for our growing baby, as well as alleviating many of the discomforts associated with the pregnancy journey!