Hello, beautiful mama-to-be. This one is for you, and you only. It’s a practice dedicated to celebrating the little life wiggling around inside of you, preparing for his or her entrance into this organically beautiful mess of a world we live in.
Let’s dive in with a warming sequence for all levels, that will open your heart, show your hips some love and celebrate you, the wildly wonderful Goddess of LIFE!
Sitting in a comfortable position, take “sun breaths” – with straight arms, raise them up slowly overhead on an inhale and lower them down by your hips on the exhale. Do this three times.
Next, lift the arms straight overhead on an inhale, clasp the hands while releasing the index fingers, lengthen the waist, and side bend to the right. Do the left side and repeat twice more.
Place your left hand on your heart and you right hand behind your right hip, and gently twist to the right. Take 3 breaths. Switch hands and twist to the left, taking 3 breaths.
Still sitting, bring feet together, knees bent and open into butterfly position. Place the hands on the ground behind your hips and lift into a gentle backbend. Take 3 full breaths. If you want to take it a little further, do the same pose, but lift the hips slightly off the ground when in the backbend. Or, just repeat the first pose.
Move onto all fours with blocks (if needed) on the level that feels comfortable for you, and do Cat/Cow 4 times.
With blocks still under your hands (if needed), take your first downward facing dog. Peddle your feet until you settle down into steadiness for 3 breaths. Come back to all fours, and repeat down dog.
Lower back to your knees. Keeping your hips over your knees, move your hands on blocks as far as possible in front of you (shoulder-width apart) into puppy dog position allowing your chest to lower toward the mat with arms straight.
From hands and knees take a modified lunging sun salutation (no chaturanga, no up dog, just low lunges and down dogs). Do this three times.
From hands and knees, move into an upright pigeon pose (right leg bent with knee on the mat behind right hand.) Place a blanket roll under your hips. Keep your hands on blocks and keep your torso upright, angled slightly forward, chest up. Take 3 breaths. Repeat on other side.
Move near a wall with the long side of the mat facing the wall. Take tadasana (mountain pose) in the middle of the mat with your back toward the wall. Take a wide-legged stance and take warrior II on the right. Move into reverse warrior then back to warrior II. Repeat on the left side. Do 2 more times.
Come back to a wide legged stance and take extended side angle with right forearm on the right thigh. Repeat on the left side.
Take wide legged stance, feet parallel, hands on hips. Bend back into a gentle backbend, then fold forward with torso extended straight forward parallel to ground, bringing your hands onto blocks. Take 3 full breaths.
Turn the right foot out slightly and bend the right knee into a side lunge, moving the torso more upright. The right heel can be lifted or down. Keep hands on blocks if needed or lift hands into prayer position if you feel steady. Repeat on the left, then repeat the whole thing twice.
Come back to standing with legs straight and wide, feet in about a half step and legs turned out. Raise your arms into goal post arms and bend both knees into a squat, while keeping your shoulders over your hips, knees pointed in the same direction as feet, torso upright – Goddess pose. Do this two more times and hold the last Goddess for 5 full breaths. Straighten your legs and step your feet back together into tadasana. Take 2 full breaths.
Take a seat in cross legged position and take 3 breaths.
Sit with right leg extended and left leg bent and opened out with foot against right upper thigh (janu sirsasana legs). Place right hand on the heart and left hand on the mat behind your hip and twist to the left. Take 3 breaths and repeat on the other side.
Take a butterfly pose upright with hands on the mat behind your hips and take a gentle back bend. Compare how it feels now with how this felt during warm-up.
Instead of savasana, take a supported supta baddha konasana (butterfly legs while reclining on your back). Place a bolster or rolled up blanket lengthwise over two blocks placed in L-position (one at its lowest position and the 2nd at its highest level behind the first block), and lie over the bolster with your sacrum against the edge of the bolster. Wrap another blanket around your feet and shins to provide support for the legs.
Remember to move at your own pace, keeping time with your breath. And, as always, let your body guide you. If it doesn’t feel good, then move out of the position. The practice is meant to help you feel more comfortable, and most importantly, to celebrate your own current physicality!
May Louie first took yoga in college to fulfill a Phys-Ed requirement and immediately fell in love. She unfortunately did not continue with her practice but reconnected with it when she retired from her corporate job in 2002 and has since become a serious yoga enthusiast. After her second retirement last year, she completed her 200 hour RYT certification, studying with Dina Crosta, Ellen Mosko and Jamie Segal Hanley, with a focus on alignment based flow.[/box]
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