Monthly Yoga Posture - Yoga for Birth
Yoga for Birth
Easy Cross-Legged Posture with Pelvic Rocking and pelvic Circles
This posture and movement is beneficial for women to practice both during pregnancy and the postnatal period (beginning about 4-6 weeks post partum). I find that pelvic rocking and pelvic circles in easy cross legged posture is great to practice first thing in the morning to wake up the body and mind, and can also be a good way to unwind at the end of the day. These movements are a valuable daily practice during pregnancy.
One of the key aspects of yoga is becoming more aware of and listening to our bodies, and connecting with our own inner knowing. Please remember when practicing the posture/movement, first and foremost to listen to your body and what feels right for you
in any given moment or day (knowing that things can shift greatly from day to day, or week to week). If at anytime you feel discomfort, make any adjustments you may need to, or gently come out of the posture. Most of all, enjoy this time you are taking to nurture yourself!
1. Come into an easy cross-legged pose seated on the floor with your hands resting lightly on your knees. You may find sitting on a folded blanket or the edge of a cushion more comfortable. This is recommended as you progress farther along in your pregnancy.
2. In this position, take a moment to create a solid foundation to the floor through the buttocks and the legs, allowing the weight of your body to settle on the floor. From this solid foundation, allow your spine to lengthen upwards. This allows for greater energy flow in the body, improves the posture and allows more freedom in the breath. Take a moment to notice the breath entering and leaving the body, slowly inviting the breath to lengthen and deepen.
3. Once you have created this connection to the breath, gently hold the knees with the hands. On the exhale, rock back on the pelvis, gently rounding through the back, gazing towards your belly. Notice a stretch through the upper back and shoulders.
4. On the inhale, rock the pelvis forward and arch the back, gazing upwards, gently stretching through the front of the body and opening up the upper chest. Be mindful not to over arch in the lower back (especially as your belly grows bigger and bigger). For a postnatal practice, be sure not to over stretch the front body (on the inhale movement) while regaining your core/abdominal strength.
5. Continue this movement, rocking back and rounding through the upper back and shoulders on the exhale and rocking forward and arching the back on the inhale. Allow the breath to initiate and sustain each movement. Continue this movement for 8-10 breaths (or more, as you become more comfortable with this movement ~ always tuning in to what feels right for your body). Then after an exhale, return to a neutral position.
6. Maintaining your cross-legged posture, begin now to move into pelvic circles. Inhale as you circle the upper body from the left knee towards the right knee, leaning forward slightly as you move. Rock backwards slightly as you exhale, continuing the circle back to the left knee.
7. Continue this circular movement, inhaling as you circle the upper body forward from left to right, and exhaling as you continue the circle back to the left side. After 8-10 breaths, pause slightly and begin circling in the opposite direction for a similar length of time.
8. Return to the neutral position and take a moment to notice your body, breath and mind. Then, un-cross the legs, stretch them out in front of you, and shake them out. Cross the legs again, this time with the opposite leg in front and repeat the pelvic rocking and pelvic circles on the other side.
9. Again, once you are complete with the movement, take a moment to notice the body, breath and mind. Gently stretch the legs out in front of you when you are done. (If sitting on the floor in cross-legged is uncomfortable for you, you can also try these movements sitting on a chair with your feet placed firmly on the floor.)
Pelvic rocking keeps the spine flexible, helps release the sacrum and lower back, releases tension in the upper back and shoulders, and helps release tension in the hip joints. This movement also helps to energize the body and mind in a gentle way. Pelvic circles support digestion and elimination, help open the hips and the pelvis and release tension in the lower and mid back. You may also find these movements helpful during early labor (either seated or standing) as you rock or circle the pelvis with the breath and the contractions.
Sadie Bartram is a pre and post natal yoga instructor at the Matraea Centre