Prenatal Pilates Series : Stretching & Stress Relief

Prenatal Pilates Series : Stretching & Stress Relief

Hi guys! It’s Robin from The Balanced Life. Welcome back to your prenatal Pilates series. I put together a series of five workouts to help you take care of your body in little bits every day. So we’re touching on all body parts and now this routine is going to be about stretching, relaxation, and breathing, which is really, really important during pregnancy. It’s important all the time, but especially when you’re carrying another life. You’re dealing with a lot of change and you may have some anxiety and nerves surrounding the whole process. So for today’s routine, all you need is a mat and potentially something to prop yourself up with. So I’m just going to use this box, but you can easily use a stack of blankets or a few pillows or an exercise ball if you have one of those. So let’s get started. Just sit comfortably, legs crossed if that works for you. If this is too hard for you right now, prop yourself up. Have a seat on some folded blankets or towels and get up off those hips a little bit, that should help. Just rest your hands on your knees, close your eyes, and take a big breath. So nice inhale…and a nice big exhale… Good, just taking a minute to transition… Take another breath… and whatever is bothering you or stressing you out, whatever is on your mind, go ahead and just leave it behind… so come to your practice, come to your mat, focus on your body, your baby and what you need right now… Good, as you sit here with your eyes closed, breathing steadily and breathing deeply, feel your spine grow longer ceiling, feel your shoulders relax on your back, feel your head resting just on top of your shoulders – not pushing forward, no strain in the neck, just a nice, steady head position. Jaw relaxed. Start to feel your abdominals supporting your belly. Relax your inner thighs, relax your hips, relax your hands…good, and take two more breaths… As you breathe feel your lungs expand, your ribs expand, your belly expand…as you exhale, force all the stale air back out of your body, finding more relaxation in the shoulders and the jaw. Another inhale, fresh air filling your lungs, filling your ribcage expanding your body…exhale, tension melting down off of your shoulders, down your arms, and out of your fingertips… Good, keeping your eyes closed or opening them if that’s more comfortable for you, take your right hand to the mat, take your left arm straight up, inhale…exhale, lift up and over, thinking more of the “up” then the “over,” just to create space and room to breathe along the top side of the ribcage. Hold here and breathe, inhale… and exhale…good, inhale…and exhale… Helping yourself up to the other side, inhale, we reach up and elongate the spine… exhale, curving over just to create space from the ribcage open, breathe into that side of the body…inhale…and exhale…good, one more breath…and exhale… Passing back through center, we’re going to add a little movement. So we’re going to round it over. Feel your shoulder blades separate, your belly draw back. Now sitting forward, open your arms, flex your wrists, open your chest. So there’s a nerve that runs all the way across, so this gets that nice nerve connection to open the chest. Now round it over again, really exaggerate… Good, inhale open, flex the hands backward…exhale, like you’re diving over a big beach ball, or your big giant belly, round it up. Good, inhale open, heart opens, chest opens, fingers reach back…exhale, round it over… Listen to your body, just go the point that feels good. Let’s do one more, open and reach…exhale and round. Good, sitting nice and tall, find that stacked spine. Take your left leg out to the side, keeping your right knee bent. Again have it however you need to. If this is uncomfortable for you, try propping a pillow or two up underneath your knee for support. We’re going to start first by angling towards your opposite, whatever shin is in front of you, just angle your torso that way. We’re going to lift up and over that straight leg, again feeling the stretch all the way inside the body. It should feel pretty good. Inhale here…and exhale… Good, now lifting up, stretch up and away, so we go up and back. Again just move in a way that feels right to you… feels good. And one more time, coming up and over…and up and back…good. Coming back up, we’re going to square our selves off as much as we can. Your belly’s likely going to go on the inside of your thigh, not right on top of it. With a flat back, keep your foot flexed and hinge forward. So this is about as far as I can go, right? Unless I round over. So you want to feel like your tailbone is sticking out behind you, crown of the head is long. Getting this nice stretch down through your hamstring, hold and breathe… And if you need to come a little bit more forward, it’s totally fine. Do what works for your body right now. Good, hold for two more breaths… Good and walk it back up. Let’s go ahead and do the other side. Straighten the leg, sit nice and tall. And already this is a stretch for me on the side, my right side has been really tight. So we’ll go right into it, take an inhale…as you exhale, stretching up and over the leg, keep your chest squared off toward me. Go as far as you feel comfortable…good, and then stretch up and back, opening inhale…and exhale, again up over that leg. Trying to keep both sit bones down onto the mat, knowing that might be a challenge for many of you. It’s fine. Just do what you can, listen to your body. Here we go again, last time, opening up and back, and stretching up and over. It feels so good, feels good just to move, right? So make it your own. Move in a way that just feels right to you. Okay, come back up through center. Here we’re going to twist the torso. With that flat back we’re going to hinge forward. Flexed foot, hinging forward…whoo, I feel that down my hamstring, hopefully you guys do too. If you don’t, play with it and really make sure that you’re keeping that flat back. So if you go into the round back, you might lose it. So hold there, breathe… relax the shoulders… good. One more breath… and sit up nice and tall. Okay now is a good time to grab either your pillows, your blankets, or your ball. If you’re in the first trimester you can just lay on your back. So this is just another way to kind of prop ourselves up so that we’re not flat on our spine, which is something we want to avoid for long periods of time. So I’m going to lean against my box, you can lean against whatever you have. Cross the left ankle over the right thigh, and then bringing the right thigh in as close as possible to get this deep stretch through your hip. So just hold and breathe here…this is really, really good for you to prevent sciatica or help with sciatica if you’re dealing with that, which is really uncomfortable but very, very common during pregnancy. So just hold this stretch as long as you need to feel it…release through your hips, hold and breathe… The bigger your belly, the further out your bottom foot. No big deal, just make it work for you right now. Hold and breathe… Good, let’s take one more breath… and then just switch sides. So you may notice during your pregnancy that you have one side that feels different than the other. For me I had mentioned already that my right side is significantly tighter this time around. I’m not sure why but I’m just working with it, giving it a little bit of extra love, stretching it for a little bit longer, making sure to keep things balanced during my workouts. Hold and breathe, feel those hips open up… relax into it…good, one more breath… Okay and then uncross those legs. Have a seat, soles of your feet together, your knees open, and begin with a flat back. Just hinge forward. Another great way to just open the hips. Long spine, picture your tailbone reaching back behind you. Head is long in line with your spine, not drooping forward. Good…and then sit up nice and tall. You guys, we’re done for the day. Feel free to repeat this video whenever you feel like your body just needs to move. Maybe before bed is a great time to do it, or first thing in the morning. Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel. And I’ll see you you back on your mat very soon!

7 Replies to “Prenatal Pilates Series : Stretching & Stress Relief”

  1. Loved all of your workouts in this series! I am 22 weeks tomorrow with my seventh child and loved the workout it gave me without killing me! I did all of them in this series while my youngest was napping and she woke up during this workout and she sat on my lap when she could or laid on me during the end! I would love some yoga that is also a good cardio wokout.

    I love Yoga that gets my heart rate up, energizes, strengthens, stretches, balances, and relaxes me! Also having a good full body workout in 30 min. as a homeschooling mama I am super busy and I love the workout I did today which I think was an over or a little bit more, can be a lot of time most days. I would love some good cardio workouts, as well as strength training with some weights.

    I love your personality as you had a beautiful smile, spoke in a kind way, and did great explaining things and encouraging me. I also didn't mind that there was no music as you did a good job of keeping my mind off of it!

    Thank-you for this Pilates series, I really did enjoy it and am thankful for your hard work!

  2. nice work Robin! my wife loves your workouts! and we do pilates coaching institute in Toronto, Canada as well, hope to see more stuff from your site! and if you got chance to come to Canada, we definitely would like to meet you!

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