Friday, October 11, 2013

Stretching/ Prenatal Yoga on Modified Bed Rest

After being on bed rest for 10 days I got the midwifes approval to do some light prenatal yoga and I am now on "modified" bed rest. Yippie!! I was so excited to start moving my 34 week pregnant body again.

Here is a gentle sequence I have been doing. My hips feel tight and misalignment from all the side lying I have been doing, my legs feel super tight from like of movement and stretching, and I feel like my circulation is no good. My intention this practice is to wake up my body, open my hips (in preparation for birth), re establish alignment in my hips, tone and lengthen the muscles of my legs and increase circulation.

Table- gentle cat/cow very gentle I don't want to compress the belly with to much core work but I do want to puff into the kidneys during cat. For cow this big belly already causes a back bend so inside I focus on length.
Table shalabasana wrist and ankle circles to help reduce swelling and increase circulation.
Parsvotonasana [2 blocks]  inside of front leg to avoid compressing my belly. Focus on drawing back thigh in and toward the back of the room which shift my hips more over the front leg and then add contacting spiral pulling front hip down and under to avoid binding in the hip flexors.
Low lunge quad stretch again i am focusing on inner spiral on back leg shifting the hips over the front leg + contracting spiral on front leg pulling glute down, under and pressing into heal. This is a back bend and like I mentioned above pregnancy already gives me the tendency to collapse into a back bend so I have to use gentle strength to pull the floating ribs in a puff into the kidneys without to much abdominal work. Then full extension rooting down from the hips into the floor and from the hips up through the arm pits and crown of head.
Deep low lunge quad stretch same alignment as above.
Pigeon quad I love how repetitive Anusara yoga can be. Its practicing the same alignment ques in different poses that help me better understand the incredible depth that these principles offer. That being said. Same work here. Tone the leg muscles, draw back leg thigh in, back and wide shifting hips over the front leg. This will create a deeper crease in the front hip (a collapse) so I scope my front hip under moving my front sit bone closer to my tail bone then extending into the floor. This will create space around the hip flexors. This again is a back bend. So i draw the floating ribs in, expand into the kidneys, and lengthen up through the side bodies to give me baby lots of space.
Deep pigeon One thing that makes me cringe as a yoga teacher is watching students move into a deeper pigeon. Often a student will sit off on there front hip side grab their foot and swing it forward trying to get the foot in line with the knee. They do this with no muscle energy in the front leg. This is a NO NO NO NO!!! With no muscle energy in the front leg all the flexibility they are getting is in their knee and pigeon is about opening the HIPS not the knees. We do not want more flexible knees. The way I get in this pose is starting in a narrowed version of pigeon I curl my toe nails into my mat this will engage my front leg and ankle. Keeping this engagement I slowly lift up my front knee (my front foot is still anchored to the floor) and move it back a little, then i move my back knee back and I either stay there or repeat until I get the angle in the front knee I want. When the front knee is narrow the front foot should be flointed (pointed with the toes pulled back) and when the knee gets to 90 degrees the front foot should be flexed pinkie toe spreading into the mat. Okay there is my little rant. I just love knees and don't like hearing stories of people blowing out their knees from yoga.
Malasana Squat depending on how long I want to hold this pose for I find it nice to sit on a block on the second level so i am more supported. Very nice prenatal treat.
Baddha konasana [block]5x this is currently my favorite sequence ever!! It opens my hips so much which will come in handy for labor. I start in baddha konasana soles of the feet together engage the muscles of the legs especially the outer hips. Keeping the muscles drawing up toward the hips I extend from my upper inner thighs out through my knees pressing the knees to the floor (with muscles alone no help from my hands). Next I grab my block and put the narrowest version of the block between my feet and repeat the alignment. Then I turn the block to the medium width put that between my feet and repeat the same alignment. Then, you probably guessed it, I turn the block to the widest aspect and put it between my feet and repeat the alignment actions. Lastly I remove the block bring the soles of my feet together and repeat the alignment yet again. I try to catch my jaw as it falls to the floor in shock at how much more open I am. Depending on how much time I have depends on how long I do this for. I will hold each version of baddha konasana for 2 mins, 3 mins, or 4 mins (i use a yoga timer app which is awesome for this). This is something I will do all by itself to. Its a nice way to spend 20 mins and get into the hips.
Double pigeon
pre pregnancy my knees would touch in this pose. Now my hips are much wider so there is about a fist space between my knees. I want my knees to line up with my hip sockets. More knee alignment stuff includes lining up the second toe with the middle of the ankle, I like to spread my toes with the help of my hands and squeeze my heels toward the mid line.  I also make sure my inner thighs are rotating in toward the floor creating a healthy lumbar curve in my back. Lastly organically extend from hips into floor and lift chest toward sky. I will do gomukasana arms during this pose to sometimes for a shoulder stretch.  
Ardha hanumanasana - hanumanasana tone the muscle of the legs, rotate back leg in back and wide shifting hips over front leg, scope front hip under pressing out through the ball of the foot. That will help square up your pelvis. I really like playing with muscle and organic energy in this pose. Drawing from the feet into the hips SO much that it feels like my leg bones get shorter because they get so plugged into the hip sockets. Keeping that engagement I extend from the hips out through the feet. This entertains me so much I forget what a killer stretch this is (especially after bed rest!)
Supta pada A- B [strap] With my leg perpendicular to the floor or foot slightly forward of the hip i use a strap and ground my whole femur bone into the hip socket as I extend from my hip back into the strap to create some space around the joint. I make sure my bottom leg is tones, second toe in line with ankle, knee and hip and inner thigh strongly rooting toward earth. Next I loop my strap together and put the strap behind my head, right at the base of my hair line below that boney bump. I practice skull loop as my leg gets pulled closer to my face. If you dont have the flexibility to do this or it doesnt feel good just hold the strap one in each hand. I have been doing this for years and love it. I dont need a strap. Then i grap the outer edge of my top foot and open my leg for pada B. Strong bottom inner thigh work, and strong hip scoping work on top leg.
Femur rooting/psoas release


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