Online Personal Trainer - Squats And Prenatal Yoga
So to prepare the body better to come into this position? Here are a few tips: For us westerners our bodies are not too accustomed to squatting. I would recommend doing calf and hamstring stretches to help open and release the backs of the legs. In yoga we do Downward-Facing Dog for this purpose. It is also important to build some leg strength, and you can cultivate this strength by practicing some standing yoga poses. I would also recommend wall squats; leaning your back against the wall and sliding down while trying to keep your heels on the floor. Allowing for the wall to bear your weight, just get your joints used to folding. You can also practice squats with a partner. If you are practicing away from the wall and without a partner and your heels pop up, grab yourself a rolled blanket or towel under your heels.
- Modifications: Try sitting on a thick book or folded blanket to feel the stretch without using strength to hold yourself up. This is an especially good option towards the end of your pregnancy when the weight of your uterus may be harder to support. Keep the position of your elbows against your inner thighs in order to help your back remain straight and deepen the stretch.
- If you try squatting and find it is really difficult for you, but you’d like to explore squatting as you’re birthing? Well, you can labor on a toilet or bedpan. This allows for similar opening of the pelvis but offers support under the legs. You can do a partner squat or hold onto a railing or squatting bar (many hospitals now have these available to use), both which will help support your weight. Or you can use a birth ball (more for laboring than pushing). If your hospital or birthing center has a large tub or if you are doing a home birth and you have a rented tub, you can squat in the water. This has the additional benefit of buoyancy, making your body feel lighter and thereby making it easier to stay in this position for a length of time
- Release: There are several ways to come out of the pose so use the one that feels right for you (or create your own!). The simplest and safest way to release is to place your hands on the ground (either at your sides or behind you) and use them for support as your unbend your legs and come to sit. If you felt really comfortable in the pose, you may also try rocking back onto your seat and then taking a few spinal rocks to lightly massage your spine (hold your body in a ball shape and rock back and forth a few times on your back). Some women may even enjoy using their leg strength to come up to stand, while others may find that this rapid movement from squatting to standing can leave you feeling a little lightheaded.
Benefits and Uses
Use this hip-opening squat during your pregnancy to release tension throughout the hips, lower back, and ankles. The pose can be an intense opener, or also more of a passive one, supported by props underneath your seat.