Yoga can be a great tool to support the physical, mental and emotional changes during pregnancy and the postpartum period. As a doula, I encourage my clients to practice yoga because it helps to draw attention to the sensations of our body without judgment. Yoga encourages a deep connection to the breath, physical and emotional strength, and flexibility. Trust me, practicing these things will come in handy for the big day! I teamed up with Patti Quintero, founder of Uma Mother, to talk about the benefits of prenatal and postpartum yoga and show you some quick and easy postures that you can practice at home.
About Patti: Patti Quintero MA, E-RYT 500, RPYT, is the founder of Uma Mother and has been a leading expert in Pre + Postnatal Yoga and Mindfulness in the Los Angeles area for two decades. Her company, Uma Mother, is dedicated to guiding, inspiring and connecting mothers during pregnancy, postpartum and the different stages of motherhood through the mindful practices of yoga, meditation and a supportive community. Patti is one of the senior teachers and teacher trainers at Yoga Works in Santa Monica since 2001. Her specialization in women’s wellness includes her work as a birth doula, and her philanthropic efforts supporting maternal health care. She is a mother of two and teaches classes workshops and trainings in both English and Spanish.
SEE THE POSES
You can also check out Uma Mother on Instagram, by clicking here.
“One of my favorite poses is garland pose (with side stretch), and in sanskrit is called Malasana. It’s when you go into a deep squat with your feet about hip distance apart. I often times have women put their hands on the ground or hold their hands sealed together by the heart and just take a few breaths, as if almost drinking life force from the earth and into their bodies.”
“This is called bidalasana in sanskrit, also known as cat cow, and you are essentially moving in a sagittal plane. You are going from extension, which is a little bit a backbend into flexion, and you round into your upper back. It’s a really great way to slow down the monkey mind, and you can really feel what you are experiencing at the moment.”
“Triangle pose is one of my favorite poses of all time for any stage because it has very distinct lines of energy. Its an excellent pose to create length in the spine, and to actually strength your obliques and your core. Because your spine is horizontal to the ground and one straight line it creates symmetry and open up your hamstrings and it just feels very open and spacious.”
“Another one of the poses that I think is wonderful are hip circles. You are face down so you are bringing more of baby’s weight to your belly inviting baby away from the boney wall of their home, and just moving in a circular fashion to create lubrication through all of joints through your knees, your wrists, and these especially more then any of the postures are postures you can actually bring into labor and birth because what we are looking for is rhythm, repetition and some what of a ritual.”
RECLINED BOUND ANGLE POSE
“Reclined bound angle pose – This pose is one of my favorite restorative poses for prenatal and postpartum, and just in general for women. When you support yourself with a bolster so that the spine is nice and long, you’re able to open up the heart space you support the knees so you are able to make space in the inner thighs and the groin. The pose is just a place of deep, deep surrender of openness, and place of open heart and receptivity which is great for labor and birth preparation.”
“Chair pose, which is utkatasana in sans skirt, is an excellent pose to help reconnect to your pelvic floor and core muscles. I especially like to do it with feet hip-width-distance apart, and using the yoga blocks as a prop for engagement. I will put one block in my thighs and take another block in my hands and every time I am using the breath to move through these postures, I am engaging my adductors and drawing that block up for pelvic work. I am also engaging my transverse abdominis, which is the core.”
“Child’s pose is really lovely because it not only stretches your back muscles, but it helps you come inside its almost like you are going into a little shell. It’s really lovely to put a bolster or blankets or pillows underneath your belly so that not only do you get that back stretch, but you also let you belly rest down on the bolster, and it helps to soothe the organs and create a sense of relaxation.”
“Dynamic bridges are great. In sans skrit, it’s setu bandha sarvangasana, and if you move up and down with these you actually are strengthening your glutes, you’re strengthening your hamstrings, and the back muscles – especially the lower back muscles which are weak, often times, after carrying a baby for that many months. When you do these dynamically, you can actually incorporate a little bit of pelvic floor work with a block and some core work as well to help with diastasis.”
LEGS UP THE WALL
“Viparita Karani – an excellent pose. It’s a very, very restorative pose its legs up the wall pose. It’s lovely to do during pregnancy, or even after when you have had a very long day and you need to calm your nervous system. Just putting your legs up the wall with the bolster underneath the back body not only will help to relieve the back muscles, but will help bring swelling out of the ankles, knees, pelvic joints, and help you sleep so much better.”
“Dynamic postures are great to do during the postnatal stage because they help to move energy. A pose like Warrior II – I call these dynamic warriors – not only are they going to help open up your hips, but they are going to help build your heart rate and move energy through you. As you move forward and back from reverse warrior stretching the one side of the waist, and as you move into the other pose which is side angle pose (Parsvakonasana), then you’re lengthening the other side of your waist. Not only are you stretching those muscles that feel tense in the shoulders, in the neck and the side body, but every time you are moving back and forth, you’re engaging your core because you’re lifting from those muscles. ”
About Carson Meyer: Carson Meyer is a DONA certified Doula, Actress and founder of C & The Moon Skin Care. She attended New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study where she studied early child development, art therapy and alternative medicine. In 2016 Carson returned home to Malibu and has been working as a doula ever since. Carson is passionate about supporting parents through a healthy and peaceful pregnancy, birth and post-partum period in an environment that best suits their needs. In between births, she continues to work as an actress in film and television. In Summer 2018 she will launch the first product for her C & The Moon skincare line, a company that reflects her love for holistic, environmentally friendly beauty. Follow Carson on Instagram: @ccmeyer