Top 5 Yoga Poses to Help You Start Your Day - Lexi Elven

Top 5 Yoga Poses To Start Your Day

I’ve been practising yoga since 2003. As you can see from the picture below on the right, I'm currently rather pregnant so my practice (and teaching!) has had to evolve and adapt with my changing body.

Top 5 Yoga Poses to Start Your Day - Lexi Elven

The above picture is a comparison to show what a difference a year makes. Women throughout pregnancy go through a miraculous and rapid body evolution. On average women gain 12.5kg, organs shift, spines change shape and a whole new organ, the placenta is grown. And let’s not forget the baby! Along with this can come discomforts and feelings of frustration. “why am I feeling like this?”, “why can’t I do this anymore?”

I’ve found yoga practice to be invaluable during this time to support these changes in my body and mind. So here’s my list of top 5 yoga poses to start my day whilst also being beneficial to pregnancy. These yoga poses can be enjoyed and should be practiced by people who aren't pregnant as well. They build mental and physical health. The modified version of "wild thing" serves as a stepping stone for those not yet ready for the full pose.

My top 5 yoga poses to start the day

1. Pranayama in half lotus - Ardha Padmasana

Top 5 Yoga Poses to Start Your Day - Pranayama

I like to either start or end my day with some pranayama or meditation. The power of the breath is so underestimated and will certainly be used to help with my focus and pain management during labour.

I’ve found that doing deep relaxation when in your bedroom setting helps condition the mind to translate these exercises into “Relax Mode”. I sit in half lotus nowadays and not full because I’m trying to work with my joints at 80% to prevent injuries. Pregnant women need to be aware of all that extra relaxin hormone in our bodies.​

2. Warrior II – Virabhadrasana II

Top 5 Yoga Poses to Start Your Day - Warrior II

Warrior II is a good all-body strengthener. It opens up the hips and is great for stronger legs and alleviates backaches. It is definitely a win-win with the extra weight of carrying a baby bump.

Your stance may need to adapt into a wider settle to help with balance. But the strength building benefits are still there.

3. Reverse Warrior - Viparita Virabhadrasana

Top 5 Yoga Poses to Start Your Day - Reverse Warrior

You can move into this pose from Warrior II by raising the front arm up and over. Reversing the warrior is a chest opener and wonderful backbend.

This pose feels fantastic and helps wake me up. Find a comfortable place to place the backhand for support, either on the hip or thigh. Then send your gaze to the reversed hand. After I’ve held the above two poses for 5 breaths each I like to flow between the two to create a warming fluid movement.

It’s nice to feel that graceful flow when stairs have you huffing and puffing like you’ve run a marathon!

4. Extended Side-Angle – Utthita Parsvakonasana

Top 5 Yoga Poses to Start Your Day - Extended Side-Angle Pose

This is another all-body strengthening pose. The poses which focus on building strong leg foundations help to reduce swelling in your ankles and feet. Common ailments as your baby grows and you gain weight.

Remember to make space for your bump, not to collapse your body weight into the forearm and leading thigh. Set your drishti or gaze to your top hand. Find the strength and stability in your back by extending into one long line from your toes to your fingers.

5. Mini-Wild Thing – Camatkarasana

Top 5 Yoga Poses to Start Your Day - Mini-Wild Thing

My personal practice has had to evolve. Pre-pregnancy I loved doing and teaching wild things! It’s such a gorgeous chest opener, backbend and strengthens your arms, legs and core. But all these things aren’t necessarily safe to do or teach whilst being pregnant.

So in this modified version, instead of weight bearing on your feet/toes and one arm as per the original Wild Thing. You have the stability of inside leg spreading the weight and balance perpendicular to your extended body along your lower leg. You are also closer to the ground. This means the back bend is reduced and your centre of gravity is safer to control. Should you wish to come out of the pose, exhale and gently lower your pelvis to the mat.

It still feels great to do these yoga poses. You can still get the energising benefits of more advanced poses with a little modification and consideration.

This is a guest blog post from Lexi Elven at Blithe Yoga. If you want to do a Yoga class with Lexi, book her using the button below

About the Author Julie Freeman

Marketing @ OffPeaks. A Swiss expat to London, passionate about the mountains - hiking them, running them or biking on them. Also passionate about helping sports instructors grow their business.

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