Prenatal Yoga to Reduce Lower Back Pain
Pregnancy is a beautiful, yet delicate journey in the life of a woman. It completes her and gives her a new meaning live. However, there are times when lower back pain can spoil the lovely moments, restricting her movements and traveling. Her growing tummy exerts pressure on the back muscles, straining them and triggering the pain. In addition, being overweight, shifting of the gravity center, separation of muscles, and hormonal changes could also contribute to back pain during pregnancy
Prenatal yoga can help to significantly reduce lower back pain. These gentle stretches massage your back, open up your hips, and promote blood circulation, thus easing your pain! While these yoga postures are perfectly safe to be practiced at home, it is advisable to take prior permission from your doctor to rule out undesirable situations.
Five Yoga Poses for Back Pain during Pregnancy
Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana)
It opens up your hip and groin area while strengthening your back and lower body. This, in turn, helps in easing the back pain during pregnancy.
- Stand straight with your feet together. Separate your legs wider than your hips.
- Turn your feet outward so that your heels face your body and your toes are away from you. Let your feet make a 45-degree angle with the ankles.
- Inhale and as you exhale, slowly squat halfway, bending the knees out.
- The ideal posture is where your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Join your palms at your heart center, elbows facing away from you.
- Hold the posture for 7 deep breaths.
- To exit the pose, inhale and slowly straighten your knees, relax your arms, and join the feet.
Feel free to rest your palms on your knees if you are not able to join your hands at your heart level.
Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
This is a staunch back strengthener that works towards easing the pain induced due to gravitational shift.
- Stand straight with your feet together, arms resting on either side.
- Inhale and move your right leg backward, and turn your right foot out 90 degrees.
- Exhale, and turn your hips to the right and bend your left knee so that left knee cap is stacked over the left ankle.
- Inhale and stretch out your hands at shoulder level, palms facing down.
- Roll your shoulder blades back and away from your ears.
- Exhale and lower your hips down and gaze at the front.
- Press the outer right heel into the floor as you lengthen your tailbone and get deeper into the posture.
- Hold the posture for 5 deep breaths.
- Inhale, straighten the bent knee and join the legs.
- Repeat on the other side.
Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
This posture can be considered as a variation of Goddess Pose, but here you are seated and have the flexibility to rest your back against a wall. It works to stretch and massage your back, opening up the hips, thereby helping you to relax, feel better, and enjoy your pregnancy.
- Sit down on the mat, stretching out your legs.
- Bend your knees and join the soles of your feet.
- Feel free to use cushions to prop up your sitting bones and support your knees.
- Inhale and lengthen your spine.
- Exhale and hold your feet using your palms and interlace your fingers beneath your feet.
- Inhale and lengthen your spine, keeping your shoulders relaxed.
- Hold the posture as long as you want.
- To come out, slowly stretch out your legs, and shake them out.
Downward Face Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
While it is recommended to stay away from inversions and forward bends during pregnancy, there are women who still practice inversions as part of their prenatal yoga for lower back pain. This posture is a variation of the classical Downward Facing Dog pose and can be done against a wall. It massages and relaxes your back muscles and improves the circulation, doing away with the stiff back. It also helps in releasing the stored up stress, thus calming you.
- Stand straight with your legs separated at hip distance, palms placed firmly on a wall.
- Pushing your palms firmly into the wall, slowly walk your feet backwards till your arms are completely straight.
- Exhale and slide your palms down slowly so that your torso comes almost parallel to the floor, pushing your hips as backward as possible.
- Do not try to round or straighten your spine; make sure your spine is still having its natural curve.
- Hold the posture for 7 deep breaths.
- Inhale and slowly come back to starting position by walking your legs closer to the wall and straightening your torso.
- Repeat 3 to 5 times.
Cat Cow Flow (Bitilasana – Marjariasana)
Give your spine and back good circulation with this gentle cat-cow Vinyasa. Support your knees with an additional cushion. It can be practiced until you are about 27 weeks pregnant and it keeps your spine and shoulders flexible and supple during the entire pregnancy.
- Come on all your fours, wrists under shoulders, and knees under the hips.
- Inhale, scoop your back, lift your head and chest up. Hold for 3 seconds.
- Exhale, round your back, tuck your chin to your chest and look down. Hold for 3 seconds.
Practice the flow very slowly and gently without exerting any pressure on your lower back or spine.
Poses such as Reclining Pigeon and its chair variant, One-legged King Pigeon, Wide-Legged Forward Bend, Standing Forward Fold, and Child’s Pose are often taught in prenatal yoga to significantly reduce lower back pain. But, it is advisable to learn and practice such poses strictly under professional guidance.
Just pick one from the five poses mentioned above and practice it for 4 to 6 minutes a day to see the feel the difference! But, listen to your body carefully and stop the practice if you experience discomfort. Take care!