1. Releasing Circles on all 4s
- Start in stable all 4s with protection under knees for comfort
- Rotate in a circular movement. Imagine you are using your hands & knees as your pivot points.
- Take it in different directions & try different movements (e.g. figure of 8)
*Pregnancy modification* This may be uncomfortable in your wrists, particularly if you are suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndome. Try doing it on forearms (raised up with yoga blocks if you have them) or lye over an exercise ball and rotate your pelvis. This is an ace position to get comfortable doing in pregnancy for encouraging your baby into a good position in the later stages and it’s a great active labour position.
Top tip: Try to close your eyes, move naturally and freely. Release your jaw and facial muscles.
2. Cat Cow movements
- Start in stable all 4s with protection under knees for comfort. Push tops of feet and hands into mat with fingers spread (unless you want to go all out and do this with your toes tucked under)
- Inhale – look gently forward, opening the chest (without throwing your neck back). Let tailbone rise up
*Pregnancy modification* tailbone comes up very slightly so back remains pretty much neutral- be aware not to over-arch your lower back (this is what your back will naturally want to do with a bump pulling down- resist it!)
- Exhale – Let your tailbone tuck under, ripple through spine, push between shoulder blades and take chin to chest into your arching cat movement.
-When you’re ready to rest, push back into child’s pose with bottom towards heels and use your hands flat or in fists stacked on top of each other as a pillow for your forehead (or get super comfy with a proper pillow!).
Top tip: Think about your tailbone at the tip of your spine leading you. Imagine a rippling motion from that point. Visualise your spine mobilising and freeing up. The body & mind are intrinsically linked- visualising it will encourage it to happen!
This should feel ace. If it doesn’t, try with a smaller movement. Be gentle on yourself and your back. If it’s still not feeling good, take a rest in child’s pose letting your back relax.
3. Back lengthening against a wall/chair
- Place both hands on the wall/back of chair and slowly walk them down to around shoulder/hip height whilst walking your feet away until your ankles line up with your hips. Important to soften at the knees (bend them more deeply if there is any discomfort in the lower back).
- Try to find length from the hands through to the tail bone and allow the back to open up.
Top tip: Try gently taking your pelvis from one side to the other keeping your breath long. Imagine someone is pulling you back from your hips.
- When you’re ready to rest, walk your hands back up the wall and use it as a resting post with your head resting on your forearms. If it feels good, why not try some pelvic rotations against the wall as well!
Final words of advice…
Try to find a natural fluidity to your movement that feels good for you once you’ve mastered what you’re doing. Go with whatever flow you have going on!
Try to team up your breath with your movement. Don’t get too caught up with any specific breathing if this is new to you, but do keep your breath flowing.
Go slower than you want to go. Resist the temptation to quickly get into a position. The more mindfully you move, the better you will tune into what your body needs.
Smile! A smile will not only release your jaw, but it will make you move and think more positively.