There may be times during your pregnancy when you feel you’ve lost all of the old you, your wild side now tamed by the responsibilities of pregnancy: the strict diet, the parenting classes, the baby-proofing your home. Make sure yoga does not end up being just another obligation on your pregnancy to-do list by adding these fun spinal stretches to your exercise routine. Don’t the names “cat-cow stretch” and “camel pose” just sound intriguing and a little bit wild? Just what you need! Not only is some fun good for you and the baby, but spinal stretches like these will strengthen and align your spine, warding off many back troubles. By improving your postures, the cat-cow and camel pose will let you be yourself before that sciatica pain. Have fun with them, and let your wild side out!
The Cat-Cow Stretch
The cat and the cow. Not exactly two animals you’d think to put together: the comfortable, laid back cat and the sturdy cow. But mimicking both their movements in this animal stretch will make you think differently about combining these two animals.
What it Will Stretch: (1) the spine, and (2) the lower back.
- To begin, get down on all fours (hands and knees, please!).
- Make sure your knees and hips as well as your hands and shoulders are lined up.
- No curved back! Keep it flat! At this point, you should start to feel pressure being lifted off your lower back. Feels good, don’t it?
- Inhale, and round that back to get into the cat pose. You can do so by bringing your pelvis forward.
- As you exhale, move your body so that now your stomach almost touches the ground. Again, use that pelvis, but this time move it back to easily transition into this pose. Cow pose complete!
- Repeat 3 times or more. Listen to your body, and let it be the judge of how many more you should do.
The pelvis part of this stretch is important: working that area of your body is what will give you that sciatica relief. It’s about time!
Bend that back with the camel pose! Especially if you are a working woman, this pose is for you, as it helps relieve that sciatica back pain that can worsen from slouching at a desk all day long. This pose is also good for your entire body, helping not only improve your spine flexibility and therefore posture but also your heart, breathing, and kidneys! Now that’s a worthwhile stretch to learn!
What it Will Stretch: (1) the spine and (2) the front of the body.
A word of caution before we begin. Never stretch beyond your limits, especially when you are pregnant. The camel pose can be very demanding, so if it start to feel uncomfortable, take a step back.
- Get into an upright kneeling position (i.e. no sitting on the heels of your feet; instead, make sure those heels face upward!). You can kneel on a yoga mat or something with a little bit of padding to make yourself more comfortable.
- Hands on your hips and arc that back, breathing deeply as you go along
- Move your hands from your hips to your heels. With your fingers pointed downward, make sure you firmly hold on to the balls of your feet, as it will give you a lot of balance.
- Continue arching your back until your arms are straight.
- You can put your head back if it more comfortable. The key is not to strain your neck or even throat. Always listen to when your body wants you to stop. Overdoing it will do more harm than good.
Hold this position for about 30 seconds. Repeat as necessary. Try resting your body in child’s pose after for extra sciatica relief!
And now you know how to do animals sciatica pregnancy stretches! Go on, take a walk on the wild side!