Wellness Advice from a Yogi Mama of Twins
Mom of twins and certified Prenatal yoga teacher, Theresa Laham, shares her experience with yoga and provides key poses and tips for moms-to-be to incorporate prenatal yoga into their pregnancy journey:
Becoming pregnant was far from “it just happened” for me. There were a lot of hurdles while trying to conceive. When my husband and I became pregnant we soon found out we were having twins! As my pregnancy progressed, my body quickly seemed to escape me and the things that gave me so much comfort no longer worked. I had been practicing yoga for about 13 years until this point. Nothing fancy just a class here and there, always partaking in the modest poses, I never dared to do the fancy stuff. When I found out I was pregnant all my “normal” actives scared me, I didn’t want to hurt my babies or myself.
Walking into my first prenatal yoga class was a challenge. On the bright side, I knew what I was doing and was in no way looking for something that was going to be “easy”. Yet I wanted to feel like myself again, to move, and to be myself in my “new” body. My first prenatal yoga class surprised me in the best way possible. My body came back to me in a way that I could fully embrace and enjoy my pregnancy.
After my twins were born I became a yoga instructor, and soon after a prenatal yoga teacher. Here are a few tips I used while pregnant and advice I share with my mamas:
Long, deep breathing
Inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth is fabulous. This style of breathing is safest for pregnancy and clicked the best with me during mine.
While performing this breathing technique take the following steps:
In a comfortable seated position, close your eyes, feeling your natural inhale in through the nose. Notice the movement of the belly (no matter how subtle as you progress later in your pregnancy) feel the bellybutton rise then take note of your exhale, drawing your bellybutton to your spine to engage your core during breath. The wave of relaxation is wonderful, providing stress relief and stimulating endorphins. Perform this technique for 3-10 minutes.
Soft spinal movement
Soft spinal movements can help alleviate back pain during pregnancy. Moving into cat pose, back to a neutral spine, then to a child’s pose really helped my back and provided space in my hips.
To perform these movements, take the following steps:
Come on to hands and knees (tabletop pose), shoulders in line with wrists, hips in line with knees. Spread your fingers nice and wide and take an inhale. As you exhale, round the spine towards the sky, keeping head released but do not touch chin to chest to keep rhythmic breath. On an inhale come back to neutral spine, exhale press back to child’s pose.
For child’s pose:
separate your knees as wide as comfortable, big toes touching, and allow your belly and chest to lower towards your mat, sitting back on the heels and reaching fingers long towards the front of the mat. Breathe and come back to Tabletop. Repeat these movements 8-10 breaths.
Modified side plank
This pose provided me with strength and empowerment during my pregnancy. I would recommend placing your back against the wall to start if you are still adjusting your balance in your changing body, your center of gravity is constantly shifting during pregnancy!
Drop your right knee and palm to the floor and extend your left leg long down your mat. Lift your left arm straight up to the ceiling, gaze can be at the ceiling or your mat, whichever is most comfortable for you! Kickstand the right shin out to provide a solid base. Hold for 5-8 breaths, then come back to center and switch to the opposite side.
Tailor Sitting (Baddha Konasana)
This pose was a fabulous support for my hips. It is also excellent for relieving lower back pressure and pain during pregnancy. At times, I would do this with the support of yoga blocks and a bolster in a reclined position (Supta Baddha Konasana) to help me relax.
If taking pose from a seated position:
Sit up tall on your mat with your knees bent and soles of the feet together. With a straight back inhale lengthening the spine and on your exhale gently lean forward until you feel a mild stretch.
If taking pose in a reclined position:
You can use a bolster or pillow at the base of your spine to prop your head and heart up, leaning back onto this for support. Soles of the feet still together and knees splayed out on either side, place a block (or pillows) under each knee for support. Place your left hand over your heart, right hand on your belly and allow yourself to focus on your breath, deeply relaxing even more into your pose with each exhale. Stay here as long as you’d like!
Legs up the wall (Viparita Kirani: Deep Lake pose)
When I was pregnant sleep did not come easy. I found myself coming into this pose often for support and relief.
Find a wall and lie back on your mat placing legs up the wall. It’s important to use a bolster or pillow(s) here as well to support the spine and neck, placing the bolster at the base of the spine propping the head and chest up. Stay mindful of the pressure placed upon on your spine. Know at any time you can move to the side or use extra props to remain reclined and supported.
Lastly, take the time to relearn your body, it is forever changing in pregnancy and will again once you deliver. So be a little kind to yourself, love yourself and if and when you don’t feel like you, find your yoga mat!
Enjoy the day,
Feel free to email Theresa if you have any inquiries surrounding the prenatal yoga practice firstname.lastname@example.org
Mom of twins, Theresa Laham, found yoga in 2002. When her children were born in 2013, yoga provided Theresa a place for her physical body, but mostly her mind. In 2016, Theresa completed her 200-hour yoga certification. In 2017, Theresa became certified to teach Prenatal yoga, and completed her 500-hour yoga certification. Yoga has supported Theresa to trust her intuition and be in the moment. Theresa’s mission is to help her students be a bit kinder to themselves. Theresa teaches at Firefly Yoga Studios in Westwood and Foxboro, MA. Check out her classes if you live in the area!