Got tight hips from running, biking, or sitting at a desk all day? Who doesn't? Give this relaxing hip-opener sequence a try, moving through on the right side and then repeating on the left.
Yoga is the perfect exercise for expectant mommas, not only to increase strength and flexibility, but it can also ease common pregnancy woes such as a sore lower back and heartburn. It can also help you hone your sense of balance, which is ever changing as your belly expands.
Here's a yoga sequence that incorporates standing poses to strengthen your lower body while increasing the flexibility in your hips and hamstrings. Complete the entire 12-pose sequence on one side and repeat again on the other. Be sure to ease into the poses since the hormone relaxin softens your joints and gives your muscles more elasticity. This makes it easier for you to stretch deeper than you ever could, increasing your risk for tearing a muscle.
*Remember to talk to your doc before starting any exercise program when pregnant.
You can't go to a yoga class and NOT do this pose. It's called Warrior 2 and it's great for opening tight hips and shoulders and strengthening quads, calves, and shins. It also works your core muscles, because when you're in this pose, you really have to concentrate on elongating your spine and drawing your belly in.
- You can get into this pose from Downward Facing Dog. Step your right foot forward between your palms, and come into Warrior 1.
- After creating a strong base with your feet and lower body, open your hips, arms, and chest, coming into Warrior 2. Ideally you want your front thigh to be parallel to the ground, and your right knee directly over your right ankle.
- Press into the outside edge of your left foot to prevent from collapsing into the arch of your foot. Make sure your shoulders are stacked directly above your pelvis.
- Once you've checked yourself for correct alignment, you can gaze passed your right fingertips. Hold for 5 or more breaths, return to Downward Facing Dog before stepping your left foot forward for the other side.
Fit's Tips: Just so you know, when I first learned this pose, I couldn't stand it because it was so hard to hold. My thigh muscles burned after 2 breaths. As you practice it more, you'll build strength in your legs, and you'll really feel your hips beginning to open. Now I can't get enough!