Kino MacGregor is an author and one of the youngest certified yoga teachers in the Ashtanga yoga tradition. She is one of only a few yogis to have earned a certificate in India directly from founder K. Pattabhi Jois. Producer of six Ashtanga Yoga DVDs, writer, vlogger, world traveler, she is co-founder of Miami Life Center (miamilifecenter.com).
According to Kino in her interview with Women Fitness “Pregnant women can benefit from hip openers like Baddha Konasana and Malasana. These two asanas help open the hips and release pressure on the lower back.”
Yoga Asanas by Kino to Help Open the Hips
Baddha Konasana (Cobbler’s Pose)
- Sit with your legs straight out in front of you, raising your pelvis on a blanket if your hips or groins are tight. Exhale, bend your knees, pull your heels toward your pelvis, then drop your knees out to the sides and press the soles of your feet together.
- Bring your heels as close to your pelvis as you comfortably can. With the first and second finger and thumb, grasp the big toe of each foot. Always keep the outer edges of the feet firmly on the floor. If it isn’t possible to hold the toes, clasp each hand around the same-side ankle or shin.
- Sit so that the pubis in front and the tailbone in back are equidistant from the floor. The perineum then will be approximately parallel to the floor and the pelvis in a neutral position. Firm the sacrum and shoulder blades against the back and lengthen the front torso through the top of the sternum.
- Never force your knees down. Instead release the heads of the thigh bones toward the floor. When this action leads, the knees follow.
- Stay in this pose anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes. Then inhale, lift your knees away from the floor, and extend the legs back to their original position.
During pregnancy your body produces relaxin, a hormone which naturally relaxes and stretches your connective tissues in readiness for labour, therefore to ensure there is less strain and over stretching whilst in this pose, bring your feet away from your perineum to make a larger diamond shape.
Malasana (Hip-opening Squat)
This pose helps to open up the hips and is a great pose to practise Kegel exercise and pelvic awareness exercises as well as the birthing breath and breath for labour. The squatting position of Malasana works on the quadriceps, hamstring, gluteal, and calf muscles of the legs and also helps strengthen the lower back and core.
- Squat with your feet as close together as possible. (Keep your heels on the floor if you can; otherwise, support them on a folded mat.)
- Separate your thighs slightly wider than your torso. Exhaling, lean your torso forward and fit it snugly between your thighs.
- Press your elbows against your inner knees, bringing your palms to together in Anjali Mudra (Salutation Seal), and resist the knees into the elbows. This will help lengthen your front torso.
- To go further, press your inner thighs against the sides of your torso. Reach your arms forward, then swing them out to the sides and notch your shins into your armpits.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then inhale, straighten the knees.
(It is advised not to practice deep or unsupported squats after week 34 of pregnancy or once the baby’s head is engaged).
Check out Kino MacGregor’s interview on Women Fitness at https://www.womenfitness.net/kino-macgregor/.