Practicing yoga during pregnancy is an amazing way to help you prepare for labor, birth and caring for your new baby. *Always consult with your doctor or midwife before beginning any exercise program while pregnant. Squatting is recommended to relax and tone the pelvic floor muscles, improve circulation to the entire pelvic area and bring openness to the hips and pelvis. But, this pose can be difficult for a ‘western body’ – many of us do not have the openness in the hips or the range of motion at the ankle joints to do this pose without strain. That’s why it is great to practice squatting with a partner! By counter balancing and using the support of a partner, we can get into a deep squat without straining the ankle joints and Achilles tendons. It is also less strain on the knees to squat with the support of another person. So partner up and practice this natural birthing position!
Prenatal Partner Squat – Stand face to face with your partner, feet positioned flat on the floor and hip width apart. Reach forward to grip your partners forearms firmly and let your elbows and arms be relaxed and loose. On an inhale, both partners lengthen through the spine and create space for baby between the ribs and pelvis. On an exhale, both partners lean back with a long body and spine to counter balance – arms will straighten out (keep holding each others forearms firmly). Make sure neither of you bends at the hips to hinge forward or backward. Once you both feel grounded and balanced, one of you can lower into a squat with the help and support of the other. The squatter should keep feet flat on the floor (especially heels) and keep spine long (maintaining space between ribs and pelvis for baby). Spend up to ten breaths in the squat and then return to standing with the support of your partner and switch rolls.
It is important to note that deep squatting is not recommended for those who are experiencing symphysis pubis discomfort (pain at the front of the pelvis where the two pubis bones come together), sacroiliac joint pain (pain in the low back where the two iliac bones join the spine) or bothersome hemorrhoids. If a Prenatal Partner Squat feels uncomfortable or you don’t have a partner, try this supported squat instead and reap the same benefits!
Supported Squat – Sit down on a bolster(s), cushion(s) or stack of blankets. Bring feet flat on the floor and turn knees out to the sides. You can place elbows along inner thighs to gently open the groins and bring hands to prayer in front of your heart. Stay here for ten breaths and gradually increase up to two minutes.
For more information on Balanced Life Yoga’s Award Winning Pre and Post Natal Yoga Programs, please visit our Pre and Post Natal Yoga Offerings page on our website.
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Krista Bromfield is a senior teacher at Balanced Life Yoga, a RYT, Can-Fit-Pro PRO Trainer, Mom and Auntie. She has an Honors Degree in Kinesiology and Education, and is the lead Anatomy Instructor for the Balanced Life Yoga Teacher Training Programs. Krista teaches a variety of classes including Power Yoga, Partner Yoga, Kids Yoga, Yog-ahhh, Prenatal Yoga, Stroller Fitness and Mom and Baby Yoga Bootcamp.