Growing a baby is such an incredible process and yet pregnancy can be a challenging time for our bodies. You may be someone who sails through effortlessly, or like Kate Middleton suffer from severe morning sickness with each pregnancy.
A myriad of aches and pains may appear as the body struggles to cope with all the extra demands it has to deal with.
Back pain, hip pain, sciatica, headaches, nausea, insomnia, heartburn and pelvic pain are among the common aches and complaints that often appear during pregnancy but you shouldn't suffer in silence as there are things you can do to reduce or get rid of these symptoms entirely.
Whether you've done any yoga before or not, this could be the perfect time to roll out your mat so that you can experience the miraculous effects yoga can bring you during pregnancy and help prepare you for the birth of your baby.
You can start these exercises after 14 weeks of your pregnancy.
If you have any complications or injuries please check with your doctor or physio that it is safe for you to do yoga.
Sit cross legged or kneel and use cushions if you want to for support. Rest one hand on your baby and the other hand in the centre of your chest. Take some deep breaths (in and out through the nose) with the eyes closed and sit as tall as possible.
Feel as though you can anchor down through your pelvis into the floor and feel more space as you lift and lengthen upward through your spine. Feel the rise and fall of the abdomen, with the breath. Feel a connection with your baby resting your hand there. Stay here for a few minutes, feeling the calming effects.
Stretch one leg forward, keeping the other leg bent and place one hand on the floor by the bent leg and stretch the other arm over to a diagonal (looking underneath the arm). Hold 3-5 breaths. Keep the legs as they are and change sides with the arms. Feel the space you are creating down the sides of your body.
Change legs and repeat.
On the hands and knees, sway the hips from side to side. Look back towards the hip as it moves to the side. After you have done this a few times, start to make circles with the hips. After a minute or so, change direction.
Feel the freedom you are creating in your hips and remember these movements can be useful during labour.
From all fours, open the knees a little wider and reach the hips back towards the heels. You can either make a pillow with the hands to rest the forehead on, or reach the arms forward, with the forehead on the floor. Enjoy the feeling of release and the stretch through your back. This may also be helpful during your labour when you need to rest.
Place your hands on a wall, shoulder width apart and walk back until you feel a comfortable stretch (making an L shape with your body). Bend your knees gently and allow the body to soften as you reach back through the hips and feel the stretch through your back and down your hamstrings. Stay for 5 -10 breaths.
This can be good to do after you have been sitting at a desk or sitting for a long period. Feel your back release tension.
When you are ready, keep the knees bent as you walk towards the wall slowly.
If you are under 28 weeks and still feel happy lying on your back, sit alongside a wall, coming to lie down, swinging your legs carefully up the wall lying on your back. Stay for a few minutes or for as long as feels comfortable. This can be helpful for swollen ankles or feet and tired legs. To lower back down, bend the knees, bring the knees wide to make space for your baby, and roll over to your side.
If you don't feel comfortable lying on your back, you can lie on your left side with a cushion or pillow between the knees. Stay here for as long as you like and relax your body and mind. Enjoy the feeling of letting go.
Tara Lee has been practicing yoga for over 20 years and has been teaching yoga for 12 years.
She began teaching pregnancy yoga while pregnant with her first child 12 years ago and developed her own dynamic fluid style. Tara has guided thousands of women through their pregnancies over the last decade.
Tara Lee's pre and post natal DVDs have been bestselling (over 70000 DVDs sold) and her new boxset is available from Amazon.
Tara currently teaches 'Pregnancy Yoga', 'Mother and Baby Yoga' and 'Vinyasa Flow Yoga' at The Life Centre, Notting Hill Gate in London. She is a trained doula and Shiatsu practitioner and has two children.