Finally, the 2nd Trimester! By now many of your friends and family are wise to your ‘good news’, and you can sigh a breath of relief knowing that your coworkers are no longer speculating on your frequent bathroom breaks (or constant snacking). Although your body continues to stretch and grow as Baby develops, many women experience a renewed sense of energy in their 2nd trimester–Hooray! Time to harness that chutzpah and roll out your mat.
Today we’re sharing six yoga poses, which are ideal for women in your 2nd trimester. You can also check out our post featuring poses for your 1st trimester.
Seated Crescent Moon
As Baby grows, the muscles and ligaments around your uterus stretch, sometimes causing tenderness and discomfort through the midsection. While it may seem counter intuitive, easing into these sensations regularly with a gentle side-body stretch can help. In a comfortable seated position, take a few cycles of breath to quiet the mind and bring your attention to your expanding belly. Inhale to sweep your arms overhead. Exhale, grounding your right hand on your mat as you lean to the right. Reach your left arm up and towards the right, forming a canopy over your head. To exit the pose, inhale, straightening your spine, touching palms overhead before you gently exhale arms down. Repeat on the left side.
Tip: During your side-stretch, think of opening your chest towards the ceiling to avoid collapsing through the upper body.
Seated Wide Legged Forward Fold
Seated forward folds calm the nervous system, while bringing length to the spine and hamstrings. And a nice wide position for the legs leaves lots of room for your Baby bump! Sitting on a cushion or blanket to ease the hips, open your legs wide along your mat, toes flexed towards the ceiling. Inhale to lengthen your spine and drop your shoulders away from your ears. On your next exhale, walk your hands forward, hinging at the hips. Keep your chest shining forward to focus the stretch within your hips and thighs. Enjoy 5-6 cycles of breath before walking your hands back towards your body and gently brining your legs together.
Tip: For more relaxation in the upper body during the forward fold, lower your head and arms onto a comfortable stack of pillows or blankets.
It comes as no surprise that labour is hard work; use Warrior II to build strength and endurance by firing-up your legs and arms! Standing at the top of your mat, step your left foot backwards into a wide stance. Your right toes point forward while your left toes point to the side of your mat. Bend deeply into your right knee and grow wide through your chest as you reach your arms towards either end of your mat. Direct your gaze over your right fingertips, breathing deeply for 5-6 cycles of breath. Repeat on the left side.
Tip: Invite some movement into Warrior II by straightening both legs and sweeping your arms overhead on your inhale. Then exhale as you re-bend the right leg and return your arms to shoulder height.
Chair Pose Variation
Now that you’ve warmed up your legs in Warrior II, keep the fire alive with this powerful Chair Pose Variation. Standing at the top of your mat, hold a block or book between your palms and separate your feet to hip distance apart. Inhale to feel energy and length run from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head. Exhale to sit back in space (as though there is a chair behind you), extending your arms in front of you. With each inhale, draw energy up from the ground towards the top of your head. With every exhale, squeeze your block and sit a little bit deeper. Enjoy 5-6 cycles of breath before straightening your legs and gently lowering your arms.
Tip: Notice if you are holding tension in your shoulders, neck, jaw or brow during this challenging pose. Using your breath, exhale tension from the areas of your body that do not serve you in this pose.
Including Tree Pose in your regular practice encourages stability and balance—especially important as Baby is changing your centre of gravity week by week! Standing at the top of your mat, bend your right knee and position the sole of your right foot along the inner seam of your supporting leg. Position your arms in a way that helps you feel most stable, whether reaching towards the ceiling or in a prayer. For an added challenge, experiment with closing you eyes for a moment or two. Enjoy 5-6 cycles of breath before repeating on the other side.
Tip: Add a simple meditation to your Tree Pose by contemplating the following mantra: “Mother Earth is wise and my roots run deep.” Know that just as nature is wise, so is your body Mama!
Pigeon is often found towards the end of practice, when your body is warm and your mind is ready to face the challenge of resting in this intense stretch. Sitting on a bolster or pillow, swing your left leg behind you, extending your toes towards the back of your mat. Your front leg should run roughly parallel with the top edge of your mat. Inhale, finding length through your spine before you exhale to bow your chest forward. Find complete relaxation in your upper body by resting your chest and forehead on several blocks or pillows, making sure to leave enough room for Baby. Enjoy 7-8 cycles of breath before repeating on the other side.
Tip: Many yogis believe negative energy can accumulate in the hips over time. Without judgment, notice how your thoughts and feelings are influenced by the deep stretch.
Time to wrap up your practice with your favorite resting pose. As your Baby bump grows you may feel more comfortable taking shavasana lying on your left side rather than on your back. Be sure to listen to the changing needs of your body with every pose as you yoga your way through your 2nd phase of pregnancy!
Find out which yoga poses are ideal for your 1st trimester.
Written by Michelle Tirmandi, Holistic Nutritionist At Yoga Mamas
Beyond giving yourself the peace of mind that you’re nourishing yourself and your baby, working with a Holistic Nutritionist will save you time and provide you with the support and confidence that you’ll need in order to make lasting changes in your dietary and lifestyle habits.
Working with a Holistic Nutritionist will help with:
1. Choosing Foods That Support Your Pregnancy Journey
A Holistic Nutritionist will use whole foods to naturally support fertility and hormonal health, pregnancy ailments (cravings, morning sickness, leg cramps, heartburn, constipation, swelling etc.), healthy labour and delivery (what to eat before, during, and after labour) and postpartum healing, recovery and lactation.
2. Eating For Specific Ailments/Chronic Illness
A Holistic Nutritionist will answer questions about how to eat for health concerns such as PCOS, Endometriosis, Ovulation, Egg Quality, Thyroid Function, Gestational Diabetes, Preeclampsia etc.
3. Knowing When and What To Feed Baby
Working with a Holistic Nutritionist will help educate you on when and what solid foods to introduce to baby, as well as the essential nutrients to include in their diets.
4. Adjust To Your New Normal Postpartum
Working with a Holistic Nutritionist will help you to re-establish wholesome eating patterns postpartum that will support you with energy, healthy weight loss and lactation.
5. Feel Your Best
A Holistic Nutritionist will help to ensure that you feel emotionally connected, supported and fully accountable to the process of changing your eating habits so that you will feel empowered to make your own decisions and in turn, feel your best!
Written By Dr. Aliya Visram, Chiropractor at Yoga Mamas
So many factors can play into fertility: Diet, exercise, genetics. But what about the alignment of your spine? Believe it or not, for some women -- it can.
The body is an intricate, interdependent system. If one bodily system goes awry, it can create a domino effect of symptoms and ailments. That's where chiropractic care comes into play.
Chiropractors are experts in reducing nervous system interference by keeping the spine properly aligned, and allowing clear messages to travel to and from the brain and throughout the body, including the reproductive system.
Recent research reinforces that the chiropractic approach to fertility is the same approach that has encouraged so many to adopt the chiropractic lifestyle: a safe and economical alternative to traditional medicine and a focus on whole body wellness. Recent chiropractic research into fertility offers hope and encouragement to those seeking a natural option for wellness.
Treatment seeks to gently restore any structural or biomechanical imbalances and spinal misalignments that may be causing dysfunction affecting reproductive health and fertility.
Chiropractic care can also be used in conjunction with other approaches to enhance fertility and resolve infertility challenges. Chiropractic can greatly improve the chances of successful medical procedures such as IUI and IVF.
So if you are looking for more ways to increase your fertility health, you might want to consider seeing a Chiropractor. Chiropractic care is a gentle, safe and effective approach for helping one to conceive as it helps to facilitate changes in the spine and nervous system that result in improved function and physiology of the reproductive system which in turn, can result in successful pregnancies and birth.
In honour of the launch of our Holistic Nutrition Program, we sat down with Yoga Mamas' Holistic Nutritionist, Michelle Tirmandi to discuss her health philosophies, life as a Mama and what she loves about her work.
Why did you become a Holistic Nutritionist?
My relationship to food was tumultuous for several years, however when I really began educating myself about holistic nutrition and when I healed my own relationship to food, my entire life changed for the better! I was so passionate about sharing what I learned with other women that I knew I needed to follow my heart and make a career change. At the time I had already completed my teaching degree as well as my psychology degree so it seemed like the perfect fit. Also, after the birth of my daughter Isla in 2016 and reflecting on the role nutrition played in my pre and post natal experience, I decided that I really wanted to focus on helping other mamas with their nutrition.
What do you love most about your job?
Every single day I feel so grateful that I get to work in my passion! I really love connecting to women and creating a plan with them so they can feel good about their nutrition. I also love that I get to be a creative entrepreneur, which is funny because I never thought of myself as a creative person, yet when I’m in the kitchen I feel like I can *make magic happen!*
What do you hope your clients will take away from their time with you?
My mission is to break down the barriers around nutrition. For so many women nutrition feels hard, overwhelming or like it needs to sacrifice, but I really want to show that it doesn’t need to be super complicated or that you need not take an all-or-nothing approach. I want women to feel empowered to make decisions that actually make them feel good, and I want for them to get to a place where they can trust their own bodies.
Watch Our Facebook Live With Yoga Mamas' Founder,
Jamie Kalynuik and Holistic Nutritionist, Michelle Tirmandi
What's your personal health philosophy?
I believe that every woman is unique and that there isn’t a one size all approach when it comes to nutrition.
I believe we all have a unique story when it comes to our relationship to food and that when we have a healthy relationship to food we can learn to use food as nourishment.
I believe in not being perfect (at all!) and that food is meant to be enjoyed.
I also believe that health goes far beyond our personal health to also include our emotional and spiritual wellness (ie. your thoughts are equally as important to your health as your green smoothie, if not more important!).
How has being a Mama changed your outlook on nutrition?
Now that I have Isla, my perspective on nutrition has shifted in some unexpected ways. I am more conscious of my own relationship to food and I think often about how I can help set the groundwork for her to have a positive body image and relationship to food.
On a more practical level, my perspective on nutrition has changed to be all about simplicity and ease. I now realize how much time children take up! Although I do love spending time in my kitchen, my time is much more limited than it used to be. My hope is to be able to support other busy mamas with simple ideas and inspiration on how they can nourish themselves in a way that provides abundant energy and nutrition.
What are you most excited about working at Yoga Mamas?
I am so excited to be a part of the community and to get to know all of the mamas on a personal level :)