Prenatal Yoga Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 3

Relief and Spaciousness in the Hips

35 min - Practice


This class will help ease tension and find space in the pelvis, hips, legs, and lower back, and is appropriate for all stages of pregnancy. We move mindfully through spinal warmups, lunges, and prone poses with the support of props and gently explore abdominal strength, before closing in a sweet restorative side-lying pose. You will feel a sense of spaciousness and relief.
What You'll Need: Mat, Square Bolster, Blanket, Block (2)

About This Video


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Welcome. I'm so happy to be here with you. This prenatal sequence is designed to hopefully offer some spaciousness and relief in the pelvis, the hips, the legs, and the low back. This practice is appropriate for all stages of pregnancy and together we'll explore and modify ways to make a bit more space for your growing body and your baby. For this practice it'll be helpful to have a bolster or a few cushions, a blanket, and two blocks. And we'll start seated, crossing the legs. So you might sit up on support. I'm sitting up on a pretty high bolster. Find what feels right for you and as you cross your legs just allow yourself to lean a little bit from side to side, feeling your sitting bones beneath you and taking a few moments to settle together, just arriving into our practice, into this space with our babies settling. Feel how you can maybe soften a bit through your face, through the shoulders, just taking a few moments to turn your awareness inward towards the breath. Just feeling the rise of the inhale and the fall and softening with the exhale. As you're ready we'll start to move bringing your hands onto your legs or shins and just begin to let your back round a little bit, coming into a cat stretch. And then with your inhale roll and tilt your pelvis forward as you arch the back and feel the length through the front of the body. And at your own pace exhale just let your back round a little bit, hug the baby in towards you and then roll the pelvis forward arching the back and lengthening a few more rounds at your own pace. Feeling your ability to roll towards the back edge of your sitting bones and the front. And then come into what feels like the center and we'll begin to circle the pelvis, the rib cage, the shoulders in one direction. It's like you have a hula hoop around you and you're circling or stirring a pot of soup. And you might keep your eyes open, you might keep your eyes just softly closed, turned inward. A few more rounds here. Good. And again come into what feels like the center, reach your right fingers down towards the floor, inhale your left arm up, softening the right shoulder down the back. And feel how you can find a bit more length and space through your left side body. You might stay here, you might walk the right fingers out and take a nice side stretch over to your right. Find some ease in your neck, you might look down here. A few more moments, breathing. With your inhale reach the arm up and exhale, release the arm. And then just switch the cross of your legs. We'll find that pattern again, bring the hands onto the legs, the shins. And as you exhale let your back round, roll towards the back edge of your sitting bones and then inhale rock your pelvis forward, arch the back, feel the length in the front body. And with your exhale rounding the spine. And with your inhale feel that length and space. A few more at your own pace with the breath. And warming and waking up the pelvis, the spine. And then circling in the opposite direction. So it's the direction that might feel a little counterintuitive for your body. Circling. And like you're stirring the pot of soup from the very bottom, from the pelvis, all the way up through your ribcage and your shoulders, up into your neck. Eyes might be open, softly focused. Just feeling into your body. A few more. And then come into what feels like the center. Reach your left fingers down, inhale the right arm up towards the sky. And then feel again how you can reach and lengthen and create some space here. Nice full breath into the right side body. You might walk the fingers out and stretch your top arm up out and over. Find that ease in your neck, maybe looking down, straight ahead or up. A few more moments here. Softening the left shoulder downward. And as you're ready with your inhale, reach your right arm up and exhale, let it release down. As you're ready, we'll transition into a tabletop position. So as you come off your bolster, you can bring it off to the side. It might feel nice to have a blanket under your knees as we begin to put some weight on the knees and the wrists and explore a lunge pattern. So you set up your blanket. Bring your two blocks with you at the front of your mat. You can kind of set them up. And then spread your fingers wide in tabletop position. Now if you have any tenderness or sensitivity in your wrists, and this is super common, especially as we move into second and third trimester to have some swelling and inflammation in the hands and wrists and tenderness, you might choose to come onto your forearms, which is a really awesome way to modify, to take pressure out of the wrists and hands. You might even choose to bring your hands up on the block for a bit more padding. So find what feels right for you and customize it as we explore this pattern. Again, moving into our cat cow here. So with your exhale, let your back round, release your head. And as you inhale, roll the pelvis forward, arch your back and really broaden through your sitting bones and your collarbones. And then as you exhale, let your back round and stretch. It might feel good to draw your hips back towards your heels, release the head. And then inhale, lengthening. A few more rounds at your own pace. You might keep your toes tucked under or release the top of your feet down. Again, any pressure or pain or sensitivity in your wrists or hands, you might explore coming onto your forearms or working with the block. If you're used to moving at like 100% in your yoga practice, you might play with an experiment moving around 70% or so. Just really listening inward and finding those appropriate kind of edges of sensation. Nice. And then come into what feels like neutral. And then as you come into what feels like neutral, draw your, feel like you can hug your baby towards you. And I'm neutralizing the spine, lengthening the low back. And we'll extend out through our right leg. Tuck the toes under and just rock forward and back.

So stretching out the back of your right leg, the toes, the hamstrings. Nice. And then from here again, feel the action of hugging the baby towards you. You might stay here. You might play with lifting your right leg with the toes facing downward towards the floor. Or maybe pulsing the right leg a few times. Waking up the glute muscles. If you're dropping into your low back, feel that action of again, drawing the baby in towards you. That kind of enable the spine action. If you feel stable here, you might experiment with stretching your left arm forward, coming into a bird dog shape. Inhale to lengthen, exhale to release. Nice. A few more rounds of cat-cal. Inhale to arch. Exhale to curl and round. Inhale to lengthen. And exhale, rounding. Moving towards the second side, find that neutral spine. Extend back for your left leg. Tuck the toes and just rock a little bit forward and back. Waking up the back of your leg, the toes. You might stay here. You might lift your left leg with the toes pointing downward. You might pulse the left leg a few times. Notice if you're dropping into your low back. And again, find that action of hugging baby in towards you. From here, option if you're feeling stable is to extend your right arm forward into a bird dog shape. Looking down so the neck can lengthen. Inhale, exhale, release. Let's try that one more time on each side. Extend back for your right leg. Keep the toes down or lift the leg. And you might extend out through your left arm. Inhale to reach. Exhale, release. Last side, extend out through your left leg. Tuck the toes.

Stay here or lift the leg and maybe lift that right arm. Hug the baby in towards you. Inhale. Exhale, release. Beautiful. From here, let your knees go nice and wide. And then soften your hips back towards your heels, finding a wide child's pose. And you might let your elbows go wide and let your forehead rest towards the hands. Nice and slow. Coming back up onto the hands, bring your blocks with you. I'm going to come into a nice toe stretch. So knees about hips width apart, tuck your toes under. And then begin to walk your blocks towards you, feeling a little or a lot of sensation through the soles of your feet. You might even bring your blocks up onto the high setting and maybe begin to sink your sitting bones towards the heels. Really waking up that plantar fascia, soles of the feet. And let's just flick the hands, releasing the wrist like you're flicking water and let the wrist go. And let the face soften, feeling all that sensation through the feet. Beautiful. Okay. As you're ready, go ahead and walk your blocks forward and bring one block to the left side of your mat and your second block to the center of the mat. When you bring your hands onto the block, we're going to extend back through our right leg, lift your right leg up, and then moving into a lunge, we're going to bend the right knee and bring that right foot forward to the outside of the right hand. Really customize it for you. You might help the foot along nice and wide. You might even draw that left knee back a little bit more. Nice. The blocks are on the inside of the right foot, so making lots of space and room for your belly. You might keep the blocks low. You want a bit more space for the belly. You might bring the blocks up on the highest setting, and this feels really nice for me today. And then together, inhale, curl the back toes under, draw your hips back, extend through your front leg, and feel that wonderful, intense hamstring stretch through that right leg. And then exhale, lunge. You can draw the heart forward. And then inhale, draw your hips back, extend through your left leg. Bend the knee and lunge forward.

Even more times at your own pace with the breath. Again, you might keep your eyes open or softly focused, inward, really feeling and sensing your body, finding that appropriate edge of sensation without strain or force. Eventually find your lunge. You might hang out here. You might choose to climb up onto that right leg. And then feel the action of hugging the baby in towards you as you lengthen down through the tailbone. You might stay here. If you're inspired, you might reach your arms up towards the sky, finding a low crescent lunge, feeling that lift and support up through the spine. Really spacious through the heart and the throat. Inhale and as you exhale, reach the hands down. Draw your hips back. Find that half hamstring stretch. And then mindfully just draw that right knee back to meet the left. Let's switch sides. So lower the blocks. Bring them towards the right side of your mat. Extend out through your left leg. Lift your left leg. Bend your left knee and then bring that foot forward. You can even bring your hand onto the ankle and kind of help it as you wiggle that right knee back. Feeling into the height of the blocks that feels right for you. Maybe low, maybe second side, or maybe the highest side to make room for your belly, for your baby. Or you're starting to feel the warmth in the body here. Again, back toes might be tucked under or releasing. And then together as you're ready, inhale. Draw your hips back. Extend through your left leg. Exhale, lunge. Drawing the hips forward, lifting the heart. Inhale, draw your hips back. Extend. Feeling into the back of the leg. Exhale, lunge. You're more at your own pace with the breath. Now hips draw back. Exhale, lunge. Eventually settling into your lunge. Customize it for your body. You might stay low, hands on the blocks, or forearms on the blocks. You might climb up onto your left leg. Each side is different. You might inhale, stretch your arms up towards the shape of low crescent. Again, feel the action of hugging baby in towards you, tailbone lengthens, lifting from the back of the heart, spacious in the face. Breathing. Inhale, exhale, release. Draw the hips back. Extend through the front leg. And then as you're ready, just draw that left leg back to meet the right. You might bring your blocks down again over to the left side of your mat. And we'll find that pattern one more time and add on. So with your hands on your blocks, extend back through your right leg. And as you're ready, lift the right leg and then draw that foot forward on the outside of your right hand. So nice and wide again. And then from here, tuck the back toes under. And you might bring your blocks up onto the second. I'm going to bring them up to the highest setting. Tuck the back toes, lift the back knee, and we're coming into a kind of a runner's lunge here. Again, blocks on the inside of the right foot to make space for baby. And then from here, begin to extend and straighten your right leg, coming into like a variation of pyramid. Feels really nice. You might release the head and then bend the knee, drop the hips, lift the heart.

Press through the ball of your right foot, straightening the right leg a little bit, wiggle the hips back, release the head, and then bend the knee, lift the heart. Let's do this two more times. Press through the ball of the foot, straighten the leg, release the head, left heel heavy, bend the right knee, drop the hips, lift the heart. Last one, moving into pyramid, extend through the right leg, maybe dropping that left heel. Beautiful. And then let's lower the back knee together. Toe heel your right foot just a little wider, spin the toes out for a variation of lizard. You might lower the blocks down again. I find I'm constantly climbing up and down with the blocks. Lean a little bit from side to side, kind of finding that feel-good stretch through the back of your left hip flexor, getting into the psoas muscle. You might stay with this if it feels good for your body. You might ground the left hand on the block and bring your right hand onto your right leg, maybe finding a gentle twist towards the right. Breathing. Beautiful. Ground both hands, draw your hips back, extend through that right leg. As you're ready, mindfully draw that right leg back to meet the left. One more time on the other side. So bring your blocks over towards the right, extend back through your left leg. Lift the left leg. Inhale and exhale, step that foot nice and wide. From here, tuck the toes, lift the back knee, come into your runner's lunge, maybe readjust your blocks the way you like them. And then as you're ready, press through the ball of that left foot, straightening the left leg, maybe let that right heel get heavy. Pyramid. Exhale, bend the front knee, lunge. Maybe drop the hips a little bit, lift through the heart. Press through the ball, lift the left foot, straighten the left leg. Pyramid. Exhale, runner's lunge. Let's do this about two or three more times at your own pace. Again, eyes open or softly closed, turning inward, healing into your body. Next time you come into the pyramid stretch, extend through your left leg and maybe that right heel gets heavy. Kind of wiggling that left hip back. And then slow, lower the back, right knee, toe heel your left foot a little wider, maybe spin the toes out for lizard. Readjust your blocks. Lean a little bit from side to side. Softening through the face and jaw. And notice the quality of your breath. You might stay with this. You might bring the left hand onto your leg and find a gentle twist in lizard. Again, jaw softening, eyes softening. You might feel the inner warmth and heat and stretch and that right hip flexor, psoas muscle, front of the leg. Take your time, carefully draw your hips back, extend through your left leg and then just draw that left leg back to meet the right. Let's bring the blocks off to the side for a moment. And from here, option to move towards a downward dog. If you're not moving towards downward dog or bearing weight on your wrist, a couple options. You might come into a dolphin dog, bringing your forearms down, measuring hands around the elbows, pressing the palms together rolling the shoulders up, back, and down, tucking the toes and lifting up. Feet nice and wide, bending the knees, and a wiggle and lift up through your sitting bones as you release the head. So this is a really nice strengthening variation to downward dog if you're not bearing weight on the wrists. Another nice option is a wide child's pose. She's nice and wide, making space for the belly, releasing the forehead down. Moving towards downward dog. Again, find what feels right for you. Feet nice and wide, bending the knees, wiggle and lift up through your sitting bones. A few moments wherever you are. Together we're going to find a way to walk our hands towards our feet, coming into a standing forward fold. Again, feet nice and wide to make space for the belly, bend the knees here. And from your forward fold, bend your knees and bring your forearms onto your thighs. So you're in like a squat here as the spine lengthens. And we're going to inhale and then exhale, press through your feet and just come up to stand for just a moment. If you feel a little lightheaded, spread your toes and just allow yourself to exhale and ground for a beat. When you're ready, we'll go ahead and fold that blanket up, bring it off to the side, and then bring your bolster in. So we're going to play here with bringing the bolster kind of towards the back of your mat. And then we're going to lower back down to the knees and explore a variation of sphinx and maybe seal. So from here we're going to walk forward, bring our thighs over the bolster and then come onto our forearms. And this is, I have found an awesome way to come into a prone position and stretch the belly without putting any pressure on the belly. So depending on the height of your bolster, if you need a bit more space for your belly, you might bring an extra blanket on top of your bolster or two blocks under your bolster, but really customize it for you. And you might experiment with tucking your toes under, which I prefer, or releasing the tops of your feet. So your elbows are just right underneath the shoulders. And then here in the sphinx position, just allow the weight of your head to release and feel that action of hogging the baby up and in towards you. And then again, we're going to drop the belly and find just a gentle arch. Moving into our cat cow here, exploring some subtle movement through the spine. Another thing you can play with is bringing your blocks under your forearms in this position. And exploring the cat cow here, really allowing the weight of the head to release. If you feel any strain on your lower back, any pressure, again drawing the navel, the baby towards you. See if you can relax some of the effort through the buttocks. I like to keep the toes and the legs engaged here. And really dropping the weight of the head. Releasing the weight of the head. Breathing. It's so nice to feel this extension in the spine, the stretch of the belly. Now at 28 weeks pregnant. You might stay on your forearms. You might, if appropriate, experiment with coming up onto the hands towards the shape of seal. In seal the palms are kind of spinning out. Again, right away if this feels like it's too much in the front of your belly, too much of a stretch, you might walk your hands forward. Or you might lower the forearms down onto your blocks. Beautiful. When you feel ready, again you're welcome to stay here a bit longer or return to this shape. We're going to find our way out. So how do we do that? You're going to carefully bring your hands underneath you and just press your hips back towards your heels. See how that transition went? Good. And then from here, you're going to tuck the toes underground on your feet and lift your hips up. We're going to release the back of the legs and the low back. You might even toe heel your feet wider than your mat. Hands on the bolster.

And then let the weight of the head drop. Nice. Coming into a wide forward fold here. And then moving into a little skandhasana. So with the toes out, just let your hips go side to side here. And then stretching through the inner leg lines, the back of the legs. You might even lower down onto your forearms and just feel the weight of your head releasing, breathing. Find what feels right for you. You more side to side bending the knees, shifting the hips over, grounding through the feet. So nice. Okay. And then as you're ready, just toe heel your feet somehow a little closer together. Bend the knees and we'll transition bringing the bolster off to the side. You can bring your blocks off to the side. We're going to come into a seated position. And as you come onto your sitting bones, bring your feet nice and wide. So we're going to explore a variation of boat pose or navasana. So your feet might be as wide as your mat. Bring your hands onto the back of your legs and just feel how you can lift the spine. As you lift the spine, lift the heart, soften the shoulders down, softening through the face. See if you can rest right on the center of your sitting bones. So hands might be on the back of the legs. You might prefer bringing hands onto the shins here and feeling the support of your abdominal muscles. Right. So just like spinal twists, kind of engaging or awakening the abdominals as you're pregnant, it's all about how we approach it. Right. So if you're doing crunches that, you know, not feel right for your body. We're just kind of gently finding those muscles here, strengthening those muscles. Nice. You might stay here. If you want an extra challenge, you might reach one arm forward and release it with the other arm forward and release it. If that feels good, you might experiment with reaching both arms forward, lifting up through the heart. And I feel a lot of work here in the legs, the hip flexors. Feel that lift from the back of the heart as you reach forward. If you want an extra challenge, you might even lean back a little bit, but keep that lift in the heart. Nice. And then slowly lift the heart. Come on forward, bring the soles of the feet together, feet wide, coming into a bada konasana, and the feet can be just slightly further away from your pelvis. Hands on the shins, might inhale to lengthen a bit. If it would feel good, exhale, you might begin to round a little bit. Releasing through the spine, the head, the neck, breathing.

Last few moments, letting the jaw soften, and still allowing your spine to drape. You might explore breathing into your pelvis, getting a sense of breathing into your lower back, into the kidneys. You might stay a bit longer. You might slowly begin to round your way up. And closing our practice with just a side lying shavasana. Be nice to have your blanket and bolster for this. So you can come onto whatever side feels best for you. I'm going to come onto my left side today, setting up your blanket. And the bolster will go, or a pillow will go, in between the legs. So you're going to scooch your hip right up against the blanket. And then just come onto your side. And you might have an extra pillow between your arm and your head for support. And then bringing that bolster between the legs or pillow. You might bring the top hand to rest on the belly. Just feeling and connecting with your baby. Finding a place where your neck and head feel comfortable. And just really allowing yourself to settle and rest here for a few moments. Just allowing the weight of your body, the weight of your bones to drop. You might even feel some inner movements. And as I become more quiet and still, the baby becomes a lot more active. Always notice what feels real and true for you. And if you have the time and space, you might stay here a bit longer. Giving yourself permission to rest. And when you feel ready to transition, slowly bring your hands underneath you. Keep the weight of your head heavy. And just gently pressing yourself up. You might even, if you're coming up, sit up on your bolster. It's like just a few moments to sit together. Allow for an inhale and exhale. You might even bring your hands onto your belly and resting within. You might bring your hands together at the heart. Thank you so much for joining me. May this support you.


Lillian M
1 person likes this.
I really liked this, I am not going to have a baby but I still loved this.
Alexandra H
1 person likes this.
I'm not pregnant but was looking for a gentle and supportive class. Thank you so much :)
Lillian M
1 person likes this.
I think that is awesome
Alana Mitnick
Hi Lillian M, Oh I'm so delighted to hear that you enjoyed this practice! Stay close and keep me posted on your experience. So happy you are here! Love, Alana 
Alana Mitnick
Hi Alexandra H, Wonderful to hear! I am so happy that you found this practice and made it your own. Enjoy! Love, Alana 
Jenny S
1 person likes this.
I loved the preceding meditation so much I decided to give this class a go as well…even though my pregnancy ship sailed 26 years ago. This felt perfect for my mind and body today. I did not have a yoga practice during my two pregnancies, so I today I closed my eyes and tapped into how this would have felt all those years ago. What a gift this was 🙏🏻❤️
Alana Mitnick
Dearest Jenny S, Somehow I am just seeing your message as I resurface from being in the thick of motherhood! I love that you got something out of this practice (of course YOU did!) and were able to tap into the energy of pregnancy from 26 years ago! You always amaze me with your graciousness, generosity and genuine curiosity. So happy and grateful that you are here, and that we are in this together. Love, Alana 

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