Hi everyone. I’m Dr. Aliya. and I’m here today at the beautiful Toronto Yoga Mama Studio in Toronto to share with all of you lovely mamas-to-be out there my top five favourite yoga poses to do in pregnancy. Doing yoga in pregnancy does more than just help keep you active and healthy. It also helps prepare your body for labour and delivery. A lot of women experience a whole host of aches and pains through pregnancy. Things like back pain, leg pain, groin pain. Yoga helps to encourage flexibility in the spine but also helps to strengthen weakened muscles and keep muscles from getting tight. Also, yoga helps to encourage a lot of breathing techniques. and so focusing on those slow deep breaths in and out help to encourage those breathing techniques while working through crazy contractions. Trust me on that one. If you’re practicing these yoga poses at home, feel free to use anything around your house. Remember to mindfully listen to your body. Feel free to stay in a posture if it feels really comfortable or come out of a posture when you feel it’s needed. One of my favourite all-time yoga poses is the Cat/Cow Pose. Especially great in pregnancy, it allows the lower back to be stretched and mobilized gently. It helps to alleviate mid back and lower back pain and keep the shoulders from migrating forward. Begin this post on all fours. This position is one of the most important positions in pregnancy and birth. Feel free to use a blanked under the knees for support. As you exhale, slowly round your back. Tailbone rounds up to the ceiling, chin comes to the chest. Inhale and move back to a flat spine. Try to keep the shoulders away from the ears. Continue to cycle through this pose several times. Avoid extending the neck too much and instead keep the neck lengthened by gazing forward. This pose is so great before bed it comes to unwind and relax the lower back and pelvis and shifts the baby away from Mama’s spine, giving her some much-needed relief. Child’s Pose is another awesome pose to perform in pregnancy. On all fours again, bring your big toes to touch, taking your knees as wide as they need to be. Press your hips back. You may want to rest your head on your arms. Take a full deep breath and feel your body relax. Relax your face and breath deeply into your lower back. This is another great pose to use during labour. The next yoga post is the Reclined Cobbler’s Pose Take a moment to set up your bolster for this pose. If you don’t have a bolster, several firm pillows will also work. Sit at the end of the pillows so your bum is snug against them. Have a couple of blocks ready on either side of you. Gently come to a reclined position with the pillow supporting the length of your spine. Separate your knees to either side, keeping the soles of your feet together. Lie your arms freely and comfortably on either side of you. To make this pose more comfortable, place a block under your knees for support. This pose is a great hip opener and helps relieve tightness int he lower abdomen and groin. It’s especially helpful if you’re suffering from round ligament tightness and symptoms of pubic bone pain or dysfunction. Like the last pose, the Deep Squat Pose is a great way to release tension throughout the hips, lower back, as well as ankles. This pose can be passive, using blocks or more challenging without the blocks. Remember to always listen to your body. It’s important to do a few poses before going into the Deep Squat Pose to help warm up the muscles, the ligaments surrounding the pelvis. Begin this pose by taking a wide stance. Exhale as you hinge from your hips, folding your body forward. Using a block, rest your hands and take a few deep breaths. It may feel good to move from side to side here again, warming up the hips and lower back. Slowly walk your feet together a little bit. Keep your feet facing out and then begin to squat down using the block as support. Bring your elbows to rest inside of your knees. Keep your chest lifted, your heart open. Feel the juicy stretch throughout your hips, pelvis and your lower back. To come out of the pose, gently bring your hands to the block, raise your hips up to the ceiling and then come back to an upright position. My very last favourite yoga pose for expecting mamas is the Legs Up the Wall Pose. This pose is a great meditation, relaxation pose, letting you connect with your baby and your breath. If you’re one of those lucky moms-to-be with swollen feet and legs that feel tired and heavy due to the extra weight, you will love, love, LOVE this pose. Come to a lying down position by sliding down your side and rolling onto your back. Place your bum on a blanket near the wall. This may not be the most graceful position to get into but trust me, this pose works wonders. Extend your legs up the wall, keeping them about hip distance apart or wider. Scoot your bum a little bit closer to the wall as you feel comfortable. Bring your arms to rest beside you with palms up, shoulders soft. Take a couple of breaths in. Keep your chin slightly tucked. While in this pose, pay close attention to your breathing to note any distractions as you attempt to reach a sense of inner calmness. So those are my five favourite yoga poses to do in pregnancy, and of course, there are tons of other yoga poses that are also awesome throughout the first, second and third trimesters. For more information on prenatal yoga s well as all things health and wellness, be sure to go to my website at draliya.ca and don’t forget to like this video and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Until next time, live healthy, live happy, Mama!