A Simple Stretch To Prep for Labor
Practice this yoga pose for prenatal wellness.
Prenatal yoga delivers a variety of benefits, and Garland Pose is especially great for moms-to-be. “It’s a deep, wide-legged squat,” explains local mom Katrina Gustafson, owner of Karma Yoga Center in Denver. In addition to stretching the ankles, perineum, and back, Garland Pose also stimulates digestion—(buh-bye, heartburn!)—and helps open the hips for childbirth.
Stand with your feet on the edges of the yoga mat, toes pointed straight or at a 45-degree angle, then bend your knees while slowly sitting down as low as possible. Keep your back straight and the crown of your head lifted. If your heels start to lift as you squat, you can rest them on a folded blanket. If the squat is uncomfortable, use a block under your buttocks for support, which takes some of the tension and weight out of the stretch. Take five to 10 full breaths while in the squat, then come into a wide-legged forward fold for three to five more breaths. Rise to standing.
Skip Garland Pose if you’re experiencing low back pain or knee injuries, or if your doctor advises against squatting. Pregnant moms should always check with their obstetrician before beginning any exercise practice, including yoga.