Amanda McCarroll
Amanda McCarroll @yomanda4
February 28, 2020

Prenatal Yoga At Home: Five Poses for Back Pain

Pregnancy is a beautiful and special time in a woman’s life. However it doesn’t always look or feel like we imagined it would. It would be wonderful to be always traipsing through a meadow in a long, flowing dress with butterflies and fairies in our wake. But sometimes it’s just barfing and back pain. Here comes prenatal yoga at home to the rescue! Try these poses that are gentle and effective for your back pain during pregnancy. As with any prenatal exercises, please clear it with your doctor that yoga is okay for you.

Five Prenatal Yoga At Home Poses for Back Pain

Cat/Cow

Cat/cow can be described accurately in one word – glorious!  The movements are very simple and can be practiced safely throughout your pregnancy.

  • Start on all fours, aligning the knees over the hips and the shoulders over the wrists.
  • Inhale the tailbone and the gaze to the sky.  Expand the lungs and belly.
  • Exhale round the spine, drawing the tailbone down and the chin to the chest.  Draw in the belly and ribs.

Cow-Faced Pose, or Gomukhasana is Great for Prenatal Yoga at Home

Gomukhasana releases the glutes and outer thighs. Tightness here can strain the lower back.  The arm position opens the upper back, loosens up the shoulders, and opens the chest.

  • Start in an all fours position.
  • Cross one knee behind the other and spread the feet apart to create a place to sit back into.
  • Place the hips on the ground between the heels, stacking the knees.
  • If the right leg is on top, reach the left arm up and bend the elbow behind the head.  Hold the elbow with the opposite hand, or reach the opposite arm up the back to clasp the hands between the shoulder blades.
  • Take 10-15 deep breaths here.  Focus on relaxing the legs and hips.  The more you give in, the deeper you go.
  • Lift and open the heart, gently pressing the head into the top elbow.  Be very conscious about keeping the front rips drawn in.  It’s important to maintain length in the spine while opening the heart and shoulders.
  • This is a tough one!  To modify, sit on one or several blocks or blankets.  For the arms, use a strap or robe tie between the hands.

Modified Side Plank

It’s important to lengthen, stretch and strengthen the spine in all directions.  Side bending opens up the waist line and stretches the quadratus lumborum.  These are muscles that are located deep in the lower back and attach our pelvis to our ribcage and spine.  They have a tendency to get short and tight during pregnancy as the belly grows.

  • Start in an all fours position.
  • Stretch one leg back, placing the toes on the earth.
  • Reach one arm up, balancing on the opposite knee.
  • The top hip stacks over the bottom hip.
  • The top leg stays straight, and the sole of the foot (especially the outer edge) presses into the ground.
  • Reach the top arm up and/or over the ear.
  • Take several deep breaths into the side waist, moving around gently in your pose to find all the little tight spots.
  • Do this pose with your back a few inches from a wall to help with stability.  Option to press the back of the body right up against the wall as well.  This can feel amazing and helps you stay straight and long.

Downward Facing Dog

Downward facing dog, or adho mukha svanasana lengthens the entire back line of the body.  Stretch from the hips down to the heels as well as the whole spine.  It is very difficult to stretch the hamstrings as the belly swells.  Tightness in the back of the thighs can cause tension in the lower back.

  • Begin in an all fours position.
  • Curl the toes under, straighten the legs and press the heels toward the ground.
  • Spread the fingers and press evenly into the hands, emphasizing pressure in the base of the index finger.
  • Take several deep breaths in the pose.  Inhale lift the hips to the sky, exhale draw the ribs in to maintain length in the spine.
  • As the belly gets bigger, use the wall for this position.  Press the hands into the wall so that the body creates a 90 degree angle.  This is a more gentle variation and creates even more length in the spine.  It is just as important here to keep the ribs pulling in and the tailbone lengthening back. Don’t let the weight of the baby fall toward the ground.

Cobbler’s Pose is One of the Best for Prenatal Yoga at Home

Cobbler’s pose, or baddhakonasana, stretches the inner thighs and hips while lengthening the spine.

  • In a seated position, place the soles of the feet together.
  • Allow as much space as needed between the hips and the feet to sit tall and comfortably.
  • Wrap the hands gently around the feet or ankles.
  • Take several deep breaths here.
  • Inhale to lengthen the spine, exhale gently press the feet together.
  • As the belly grows, it gets more difficult to fold forward.  Rather than focusing on folding, focus more on creating length and space in the lower back.  Tip forward a little for a stretch, but no need to emphasize the fold.

We have a wonderful library of online prenatal yoga classes. Sign up today and get your first two weeks free!

 

Beautiful photo of Magdalena by Jaymie Harrison

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