Pregnant, and hot! When the ‘glow’ gets you down, do yoga!
Ugh, stifling heat… You’re pregnant, so, in effect, have a mini oven in your belly… Usually you glow, and it shows, in your unique loveliness as a mama-to-be goddess. But right now you feel like a mini volcano! You can’t do anything, go anywhere without feeling uncomfortable. So take a few minutes to honour it, and do nothing… go nowhere. Wherever you are!
First, run your inner wrists under the cold tap for a while. It’s very refreshing! Pop your feet in a bowl of cool water. A rolled up muslin cloth, or facecloth, soaked in cold water and squeezed out, placed on the back of your neck or over the forehead will also help to cool you down… Keep hydrated… nothing hydrates better than plain old water, but put something in it to make it a bit special, such as cut strawberries, cucumber chunks or lemon slices.. or all three! All vitamins welcome, no?
But what about mental relief? Calming you down and cooling at the same time? Restful and rejuvenating yoga practise can be a godsend in this heat. Five minutes to relief starts here!
Pose: Viparita Karani. Place your mat and a few cushions near to a free wall space at right angles to the wall, and sit down on the floor, sideways on to the wall, about 12 inches away. Lean back into your hands, and begin to walk your feet up the wall as you swivel your body round. Carefully lower onto your elbows as the feet go higher and eventually lowering onto your back as the legs go vertically up the wall. Place your arms wherever is good for you, on your belly to connect with baby, at your sides, or over your head along the floor if it’s comfortable. The more weeks’ pregnant you are, the more cushions you will need to prop up your head, shoulders and back. Take note of how your body feels here, as any discomfort or strange feelings will direct you to roll onto your side and slowly come to all fours before rising. Close your eyes and direct your mind to your breath while you are in this pose, and invite your body to release the breath so there is no pulling in of the inhalation, no pushing of the exhalation. Free breath, in synchronisation with the movement of your naval. Allow five minutes here.
“Hang on,” you say. “I don’t have wall space or want to get down on the floor. Besides, I am at work…” Ok, so, let’s do this instead…
Pose: Pawanmuktasana. Actually, a series of movements to release and lubricate the joints of the body, but in pregnancy we start with the feet, and miss out any compressing postures. All movements are done as you naturally breathe, not altering the breath at all. Repeat each movement three times, and begin clenching then spreading the toes, followed by extending and flexing both feet. Next, rotate the ankles inwards, then outwards. Bend one knee up if you’re sat on the floor before raising your shin to parallel, then lower it, three times, and repeat with the other leg. With both feet flat on the floor and knees bent if you’re sat on the floor), feet wider apart depending on the belly, allow both knees to move away from each other as you inhale, holding them with your hands, and bring them back with the hands as you exhale again three times. Sit in a comfortable position as we move to the arms. with both hands on their respective shoulders, rotate the elbows back behind you. (Make sure the shoulders are soft and away from the ears here). Rotate the elbows forward now. Next, bend and flex the elbows slowly with palms open, retouching your shoulders softly on each exhalation. The next time your arms extend, bend and flex the hands at the wrist joints only, in time with the breath. Now rotate the wrists towards each other three times, and then away from each other. Finishing by gently closing the hands into a fist on an exhale, and spreading the fingers wide as you inhale. On the next exhalation relax your arms and hands comfortably in your lap as we move onto the neck. Keep your spine softly vertical at all times. As you inhale turn the chin towards the right shoulder, exhale back to centre then inhale to the left shoulder. Repeat twice more. Now with the head back in central position and chin neutral, shoulders relaxed, take the right ear towards the right shoulder. NO forcing. Exhale to centre then inhale left ear to left shoulder. Repeat twice more. Finally, with head central again drop the chin to chest as you exhale, and raise it towards the ceiling as you inhale. Don’t allow the head to tip back here, keep the neck long and spine straight. After three rounds, exhale head to centre and spend a few moments just focussing on your calm relaxed body and mind. Yawn a little and either return to your day or pop off for a nice nap!
“I’m too hot to move!” you say. Ok, you have to try this cooling breath. But it looks a bit weird so try not to look at anyone while you’re in active participation 🙂
Spend a few minutes releasing the breath, whilst seated comfortably. Create some saliva in your mouth and roll your tongue around it. Breathe naturally through your mouth so that the breath takes in some of the moisture from the saliva and cools you down. Exhale through the nose if possible. Keep your shoulders relaxed and, if you like, close your eyes. (This also assumes you can roll your tongue, so if you are missing that gene, try it flat tongued but keep your mouth in an ‘O’ shape.) You can do five or six rounds of breath here, Repeat as often as you like…
By now you should be feeling a little more connected to yourself, cooler, calmer and more collected. If you’d like more, join us on Thursday evenings at the Maxwell Park Community Centre, Borehamwood, from 7.15-8.45pm. Call me on 07876 254306 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. Click here to book your yoga classes. Total relaxation guaranteed!