During pregnancy, a woman’s focus turns to many different things. She pays close attention to what she puts into her body, makes decisions around career and family, and begins to prepare herself to embrace what may be the most important role in her life: mother of a child.
With so many changes going on physically and emotionally, the temptation to shut down can be strong. However, pregnancy is the most important time for a woman to be open with her emotions, and especially with her body.
The yogic belief that emotions are held in the hips suggests hip tension may be partially a result of repressed feelings. Releasing emotions can help diminish stress, which affects many women during pregnancy. Stress reduction benefits both mother and unborn child, and yoga—particularly hip openers—can prove beneficial.
Whether or not a woman is holding emotions in her hips, hip openers can provide a lot of relief during pregnancy. As the body prepares for birth, opening up the body is essential, particularly the hips and pelvic region. Various yoga hip openers are safe to practice during pregnancy, but go slow and avoid any positions that cause discomfort.
- Baddha Konasana, or Bound Angle pose, gently opens the hips from a seated or reclined (supta) position. From a cross-legged seated position, separate the knees so that the soles of your feet come to touch. Draw the feet in toward your pelvis, and press the feet together as your knees drop toward the earth. Reach the crown of your head up toward the sky, sitting tall as you lengthen your spine. Roll your shoulders back and downward. Placing your fingertips just behind your back can help you sit tall and open up your chest.
Stay in this position for one to five minutes, or add some motion to further caress the hips open. One option is to hinge forward from the hips, coming only as far as is comfortable for your body. You can also clasp your hands in front of you with loosely bent elbows. Lean forward by hinging from the hips, and guide your torso in a circle, moving your arms and hips as if you were “stirring soup”. Move in both directions.