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In time for the weekend and inspired by some of the fabulous Prenatal Yoga classes I have been taking recently, here are my 5 Favorite Pregnancy Stretches. 

As I push through my 3rd trimester I have been noticing increased aches and pains in my hips and lower back. As your bump steadily grows and hips are pushed into more of an anterior pelvic tilt it is normal to feel tightness in the hip flexors and compression in the lumbar spine and back of the ribcage. I have personally found these 5 stretches really useful in helping me find space in these particular areas. 

 

{ 1 }  C H I L D S   P O S E

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1.  A L I G N

Bring your big toes together and open your knees to the edges of the mat, go as wide as you need to accommodate your bump. Reach your hips back towards your heels and lengthen your spine forward over your thighs. Reach your arms forwards and press down through your hands pushing the floor away to create more length in your lower back. Your forehead can rest on the mat keeping length through all 4 sides of your neck and your chin off your chest. 

2.  M O V E

Start to crawl your hands forward towards the front edge of your mat to help create more space between your ribcage. Continue to reach your hips towards your heels without collapsing onto your bump. Focus on your breath.

Hold for 8 - 10 breaths. 

 

{ 2 }  L I Z A R D  L U N G E  W /  O P E N  R O T A T I O N

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1.  A L I G N

Step into a deep lunge with the front knee & ankle stacking. Extend the back leg behind your hip and curl your toes under to energize the hip forward. 

2.  M O V E

Bring hands down to the mat inside of the front leg. Step the front foot out slightly wider than your hip to accommodate your bump and turn your knees & toes slightly out to create space in the hips. Lift the same arm as back leg towards the ceiling and rotate towards the back leg side. Gently hug your bump towards your spine to stay stable and supported. Focus on your breath to help release your hip flexors. The back knee can be lifted or rested on the mat. Repeat on the second side. 

Hold for 5 breaths. 

 

{ 3 }  P U P P Y  P O S E

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1.  A L I G N

Bring your knees hip distance apart or wider to accommodate your bump and curl your toes under. Stack your hips over your knees and lengthen your spine down towards the floor. Press your forehead to the mat and melt your heart towards the floor. Arms reach forward with palms down and elbows elevated to help deepen the stretch in the shoulders. 

2.  M O V E

Similar to Childs Pose creep your hands forward and continue to press back in opposition through the balls of your feet. As you deepen your breath melt your heart closer to the floor. 

Hold for 6 - 8 breaths.

 

{ 4 }  D E E P  S Q U A T

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1.  A L I G N

Step your feet out to the edges of your mat and turn your toes to 11 & 1 o'clock. Bring your hands to prayer and maintain a neutral spine as you lower your hips down to the floor. Let your hips drop lower than your knees to help release your pelvic floor. Keep reaching your sitting bones to the mat and your heart to your thumbs.

2.  M O V E

Use your elbows to gently press against your inner thighs and press your legs into your elbows to deepen the hip release. Don't worry if your heels don't quite touch the floor you can keep your heels hovering. 

Hold for 8 - 10 breaths.

 

{ 5 }  S T R A D D L E  S T R E T C H  W /  S I D E  B E N D

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1.  A L I G N

Sit on your mat and spread your legs as wide as you can. Bring your hands behind your hips and try lifting your hips slightly to help you widen your sitting bones before resettling onto the mat. Keep your knees and toes pointing up towards the ceiling and press energy out through your heels.

2.  M O V E

Lift up and out of your hips as you inhale and side bend towards one leg. One hand can rest on the floor and the other arm will reach overhead towards your foot. Lean your shoulders back and breathe length into the sides of your waist. Repeat on the second side. 

Hold for 8 - 10 breaths. 

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