2020 has taught us many, many things, and one of those is that extended time at home and generally moving less throughout the day can really take its toll on the body. Not to mention the impacts of living in an elevated-stress state for 9 straight months… that doesn’t help either.
We don’t know about you but we’ve never experienced stiffer necks, tighter shoulders, or achier backs — and if you’re pregnant or postpartum all of those aches and pains can be further exacerbated by reduced movement. If you find yourself overly tense at the end of a long day we always recommend turning to movement and gentle stretching for relief and relaxation. Not only will it help work out muscle tightness that can add to feelings of stress and anxiety, doing a simple flow can help you get in a more meditative headspace and promote better sleep at night.
We always have stretching, mobility, and yoga flows in your Fitness Studio within the Baby2Body app but today we teamed up with our lovely yoga expert, Ellie Gill, to bring you her 5 go-to poses for promoting relaxation at the end of a busy day. She swears by these moves herself, and we’re now making it a Baby2Body team activity to do them at the end of every work day.
So without further ado, here are Ellie’s top 5 yoga poses for relaxation! We encourage you to bookmark this post and at the end of each day slip into these restorative positions and let the worries of the day drift away.
aka Standing Forward Fold
Doing this standing fold with bent knees and very floppy arms is a lovely way to decompress the spine and give it a break from carrying around the weight of our worries.
For pregnancy, take a wider stance with any forward folds and make sure to keep a gentle bend in the knee. Be mindful of the head being below the heart, and if you feel dizzy at all slowly raise yourself up and steady your breathing.
aka Child’s Pose
This familiar pose is often cued in yoga classes as a chance to reset and catch your breath. I personally love it, as your head and your heart are closer to the ground, and I feel this deepens our connection to the earth.
For pregnancy, we recommend a wide-legged child’s pose using pillows to support you where necessary.
Sukhasana with Forward Fold
Find yourself sitting cross-legged and then fold over your legs and extend the arms forward along the floor. The folding action increases the exhale, which in turn helps to encourage the body and the mind to find peace.
For pregnancy, we recommend using pillows under your hips to help prop you up so you can very gently lean forward, placing your hands on the wall or elevated surface, while keeping your back relaxed and straight.
Supta Baddha Konasana
aka Reclined Butterfly Pose
This is a restful hip-opening pose, which can assist in releasing the emotions and tension we carry in the hips (a common place to hold stress as women!). It can be made more restorative using bricks to prop up the knees and take some of the effort out.
For pregnancy, we recommend elevating your shoulders off the ground using pillows or by leaning against a soft couch, so you’re reclined at no more than a 45˚ angle. You’ll definitely want to use yoga blocks to support your knees as well.
aka Corpse Pose
An incredibly restful, restorative pose, but one we can find challenging to master, as the mind starts to wander away. I encourage my students to rest the hands on the belly to keep a connection to deepening the breath, which in turn helps to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, and put us in a state of ‘rest-and-digest’ rather than ‘fight-or-flight’.
For pregnancy, stay in your elevated reclined position and simply extend your legs and let your body settle into this restorative pose.