Yoga for 2: Prenatal and Postnatal Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 10

Prenatal Foot Relief

30 min - Practice


Maria shares a practice designed to help relieve fatigue or cramps in the feet and legs during pregnancy. We also play with going upside down in a few variations of inversions. You will feel a sense of relief and release.
What You'll Need: Mat, Tennis Ball, Wall, Square Bolster, Blanket, Block (2)

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(waves whooshing) Welcome, today's practice is a nice one. As we move forward in pregnancy, and our pregnancy starts to progress, there's more weight on the feet, so we tend to get sore feet. I know I've had this problem. Sometimes we'll even get cramps in our calf muscles at night before you go to bed. It's just from extra weight, maybe some mineral deficiencies.

Various reasons why we get this, but it is a symptom of pregnancy. So, my practice today is to offer some relief for that. We're gonna start off with a foot massage, and I like to use a tennis ball, but don't get a really hard one. A brand new tennis ball is actually not the best, because it may be too intense. Get one that's been used a few times on the court, so it's a little bit softer, otherwise, it may be too intense for you.

We're just gonna take the ball, put it down onto the floor. We'll place the ball under the ball of your feet, and we're just gonna start to step onto it. We're gonna basically start with one spot, and then you might be tempted to move it around, but actually just stepping onto the ball, and breathing in that position where it's a little tender is gonna be the best for you. Just staying in that position, breathing with it. Then we'll just roll it down a little lower to like the middle of the foot.

This is where it can get kind of intense, so you know, keep one foot a little behind you, so that you can always back off of the stretch a bit. Otherwise, just put most of your weight into the right foot. As much of it as you can take without tensing up everywhere else. Try to relax the toes as well. That'll help make it a little more bearable.

Then a little further back. It's right in front of my heel now. For me, it's mostly been my heels that have gotten tired. I'm gonna go a little closer to my heel. Just put a bit of pressure on the heel.

This is something you could easily do before you go to bed at night, or first thing in the morning. Usually, it's more the evening that we get the tired feet. All right, and then we'll switch. We'll take the left toes. You wanna just put some weight into left foot on the ball.

Remembering to breath. Keep the breathing nice and relaxed. Then moving the ball back a little. When you find that spot that's tender, that's about where you wanna be putting the pressure, and then we'll move back a little further in front of the heel. Stepping onto the ball.

Relax the toes. Then I'm gonna take the ball right in front of the heel. Now we'll release that, and we're gonna come down to the floor to also do a calf massage. We'll come to seated. The calves can very often cramp up, so we're just gonna place the ball underneath the calf.

You'll take your hands behind you. Use your left foot for support. Just roll til you find the place that feels a little tender. Pause there. This may be enough for you.

You can use your hands for support to just relax into it. If you want a little bit more intensity, then you'll cross your opposite leg over top. That'll add some weight. If it shifts around, you just move around, so you find that spot again. For me, it's actually a little lower, right there.

I place my right heel down on the floor, so that it's not so wobbly with the ball under there. Ah (giggles). Then I'm gonna move to another spot. That one was getting comfortable. You're gonna move the ball up a little, and then I'll cross the opposite calf over top.

See if you can relax your ankles. Sometimes when it's a little tense, we'll start to like tense up our feet, but see if you can just get them to relax again. You can spend a lot of time with this, just finding all the little knots in the calves and the feet. We're gonna switch sides. So we'll take the ball underneath the left calf, and cross the right leg over top.

Move it around until you find that spot. We'll slide a little more forward to the next spot. Then again, spending as much time as you'd like with these stretches. It can be very helpful, the ball massage. I'm gonna place the ball to the side, and we're gonna do some feet stretches.

We'll come onto our knees, and we'll point the toes. Keep the ankles together as best you can. You might even need to strap the ankles together. For a lot of us, the ankles tend to splay out, but we'll just point the toes. If your feet are more like this, let's say you're a runner, or sometimes you've worn a lot of ice skates, figure skating, hockey, then you might need to put a blanket.

You can roll up a blanket or put some support there, so it's not so intense. Otherwise, we'll sit back onto the heels. If you're up here, you can use blocks underneath each hand, and we'll just find the place that you can go to, while still breathing. If you're really flexible on the tops of your feet, and you feel like you need a little more intensity, lean your hands back, and start to raise the knees up. That'll make it more intense.

I'm gonna take it easier today, and just bring my hands to my thighs. Close the eyes and just kind of drop into the feet, breath. Then we'll switch positions. Lean the hands forward, curl the toes under, and dorsiflexing the feet. You can either keep the hands out in front of you, and stayed leaned forward.

You can also place a blanket here between your calves and your thighs, so that you can start to sit the hips back onto the blanket. We all have different ranges of motion here. I actually like to keep my hands forward, and then I can push into my hands to press my heels back, and try to reach my toes towards my shins, and then it really stretches out the achilles. If you were to walk your hands back up over, so your shoulders are over your hips, then it takes it a little more into the feet. Depending on the day, the need, you may wanna change what you do.

Because the muscles and the hips, the legs, the backs of the legs all connect to the calves and feet, we're gonna spend some time opening up the hips and the hamstrings as well today, so we're getting good stretches through the whole lower half of the body. We'll come forward out of this, and we'll just point the toes again, roll out the ankles, and then we'll grab our blanket. We use the blanket just to support the heels. The first pose we're gonna do is Malasana. This doesn't have to be done on the blankets, but we'll curl the toes under, and just take the feet wide, wider then your hips.

Almost mat distance apart. For the beginning, don't even try to reach the heels down to the blanket, instead we're just gonna kind of shift back and forth with the hands there for support. As you shift over to the right, let the left knee press out to the left. Might get a nice stretch in your inner groin. We'll shift over to the other side.

Press the right knee out to the right, getting a nice stretch in the right groin. We'll do that a few times, just kind of flowing with the breath. Really sinking into your body, and looking for those openings. Then again shifting sides, and just going at your own pace here really. Taking your time moving with the breath, slowly with each shift, going a little deeper.

Only maybe starting to bring some weight into the heels. You can either stay with moving back and forth, from side to side, or you can settle in the middle. Just take the hands to prayer position, resting the elbows on the knees, and lifting the chest up. It could look like this right here. This might be where we're at.

Then from there, we're gonna relax. Bring the hands behind you. Sit on your blanket. Straighten your legs out for Janushirasana A. For Janu A, we'll just take the right leg back.

Keeps the hips more open than we usually would. Either do it with the foot flat against the left thigh. If your knee is high up, I want you to grab a block, and just place a block underneath your knee, so that you're not putting pressure in the knee. If it's not, if it's coming down lower, you have more open hip, then you're gonna take the knee out, and even point the toes. I'm gonna use my hand just to really help myself find this rotation.

Taking the fingers in between the calf and the thigh, and just starting to externally rotate the thigh bone out, and then lengthening. So if you see, I'm starting to press the low back forward, so I'm deepening the crease in the hips. Then I'll start to fold forward from there. You can also just stay upright here using the hands behind you to help you lift your low back. We just find the place to work that is appropriate for us today and now.

Then if you have your position, you can bring the hands forward, and start to fold forward. But as you fold forward, keep lengthening the front body, reaching the chest forward and breathing. Notice that we're folding in the middle, instead of over the left leg. That's mainly to just leave space for the baby. We'll walk up out of that, and we'll change sides.

Straighten the right leg out, and bend the left leg back. Either setting the foot to the inner right thigh, or pointing the toe, taking the knee out. Then we'll walk the hands out. Inhale, lengthen, exhale, fold. If you need the support to help you find that external rotation of your left thigh bone and your hip socket, then use you hand to rotate the thigh bone out, as you bring the hipbone forward.

Breathing as you move deeper. We'll walk the hands in, and we'll bring the left leg out, just so we can shake out the legs. We'll bring both feet in for Baddha Konasana. Baddha Konasana just like Janushirasana, if the knees are coming up around here, and you're gonna take a block, and place them underneath the knees. Otherwise, if they drop down to about hip height, you can let the feet open up.

If they're higher, then the feet are gonna stay together. If they start to drop down, you can let the big toes open up. Bring the heels in. You can stay with the hands behind you to help lift the low back. Supporting the low back, but also allowing the baby to come into a nice position here in the belly and pelvis, rather than being crunched if the pelvis is tucked under.

Lifting the chest up, reaching the knees out. You can either stay here, or you can bring the hands forward to walk you forward. Just finding a nice place where you get that opening in the groins and the hips, and breathing. We'll walk the hands in, and the last thing we're gonna do before Savasana, we'll just placed the hands to the outer knees, bring them in, is an inversion. If your weren't practicing inversions before pregnancy, definitely do not start them now.

You wanna be stable in an inversion before pregnancy, where you're not wobbly. It's not, I'm working on it, you actually have it. You can come into headstand and you could hold it. You can come into handstand and you can hold it. If you're not at that place, then I'm gonna offer a solution for an inversion for you now.

The benefits of inversion are just a lot of pregnant woman get swollen feet, swollen ankles. Inverting just takes some of the pressure, and allows the blood flow to drop in the opposite direction. That's why we're incorporating that into this foot relief sequence. You don't have to go upside down in order to achieve that. If you had orders from your doctor not to let your heart go above your head, then this is a way you can achieve that.

It's all the benefits of the inversion without any of the risk. I'll demonstrate that first. This is one of my favorite poses, because it feels so good. You're gonna take one block high. One block low.

We'll place the bolster over top, and then we'll take our low back to the bolster, and we'll lean back. Place the head on the bolster, and then we raise the legs up. As you can see, you still get the inversions in the legs. There's zero weight in your feet which feels amazing. They'll start to feel light, and you can stay here for as long as you'd like.

If you're moving on, and you had an inversion practice before, then now would be a good time to do either a headstand or a handstand. Just because you can do it, doesn't mean you have to do it. If you're not up for it, you need a gentler approach, take the gentler approach. Handstand, we can just bring the hands to the floor. I still recommend doing it to the wall, unless you're really, really confident, and know that you can hold it.

Having the wall for support, we'll just take one leg forward, and kick up into it. Find your placement and hold it. So there's one option for you. The other option is headstand. When I invert, I actually typically chose headstand.

Just because I can hold it for a much longer time than handstands, so I get more of the benefits of inversion, which is what my body really needs right now. Interlacing the fingers, pressing the outer wrists and elbows down to the floor, bringing the back of the head to the hands, finding that stable place on the top of the head. Curl the toes under, walk the feet in, and come on up. We'll stay here for two minutes. If you need to come down, however, come down, take child's pose.

Then you can set up for the other inversion or Savasana. Then bringing the legs down. Coming into a Child's Pose. Letting the hips sit back towards the heels. Bringing the hands to the floor, coming on up.

We'll set up for Savasana. We'll take our bolster and our blanket. The blanket for underneath the belly for some support. The bolster between the legs. I'm gonna keep my left leg a little straighter and a little bit more behind my right, so that I can let my hips kind of come forward, and then the belly can drop forward onto the blanket.

We'll raise the left arm. You can make a pillow with your left arm. Just shift around and find a comfortable position that you can rest in for a couple minutes. Then we'll place the hand down on the floor in front of the heart. If you'd like to stay longer in Savasana, feel free to.

Press yourself up to seated. We'll just come to a comfortable cross-legged position. Bring the hands to prayer position at the heart. Thank you for joining me today, and Namaste.


Karina V
Feels so good and had some good meditation moments in between. Thank you!

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