Yoga Pregnancy Exercises: Third Trimester

December 8, 2008 by  
Filed under Yoga and Pregnancy

1. Ardha Titali Asan (Half Butterfly)

How to do?

Sit with legs outstretched. Bend the right leg and place the right foot as far up on the left thigh as possible. Place the right hand on top of the bent right knee.

Hold the toes of the right foot with the left hand. While breathing in, gently move the right knee up towards the chest. Breathing out, gently push the knee down and try to touch the floor. The trunk should not move. Movement of leg should be achieved by the exertion of the right arm. Repeat with left leg. Slowly practice about 10 up and down movements with each leg. DO NOT STRAIN.


It is an excellent practice for loosening of hip and knee joints, which shall enable faster delivery.

2. Poorna Titali Asan (Full Butterfly)

How to do?

Sit with legs outstretched. Bend the knees and bring the soles of the feet together, keeping the heels as close to the body as possible. Fully relax the inner thighs. Clasp the feet with both hands. Gently bounce the knees up and down, using the elbows as levers to press the legs down.

Do not use any force. Repeat up to 20-30 times. Straighten the legs and relax.


Tension from inner thigh muscles is relieved. Removes tiredness from legs.

3. Supta UdarakarshanAsan (Sleeping Abdominal Stretch Pose)

How to do?

Lie in the back. Interlock fingers of both hands and place hands beneath the head. Bend knees, keeping the soles of feet on the floor. While breathing out lower the legs towards the right, trying to touch the knees on the floor.

At the same time move the head towards the left, giving uniform twisting stretch to the entire spine. Repeat on the other side by bending legs towards left, and head towards right.


Removes constipation, improves digestion. Relieves stiffness and strain of spine caused by prolonged sitting.

4. Ankle Crank

How to do?

Bend the right leg up and place the foot overhanging the left knee. Hold the right toes with the left hand. Steady the right ankle with the the right hand. Crank the right ankle around in a large circle, exploring to the very perimeters of movement. Do 10 rotations in each direction and then 10 rotations in each direction with the other ankle


Good for stiffness and poor circulation in the feet. Helps extend setting time in meditation postures.

Pregnancy Advice

Specially useful in case of edema, cramping, post epidural numbness in the feet and legs.

5. Shoulder Rotation

How to do?

Place the right fingertips up on the right shoulder. Slowly rotate the arm and shoulder joint around as if drawing a large circle with the tip of the elbow.

Extend the movement to rotate fully into the shoulder joint. Do 5 times one way and then reverse the direction for 5 circles. Repeated on the left side.

Raise the arms up, fingers on both shoulders. Slowly rotate both arms together in large circles. Try to stretch the elbows as far back as possible, and try to touch them together at the front. Go 5 times in one direction and then 5 times reverse.

Breath Inhale when opening the chest as the elbows go backwards, exhale when the elbows move towards touching at the front.


Improves circulation and flexibility in the shoulders and upper back. Releases tensions from around the heart and lungs. Encourages better breathing. Especially effective for release of neck tension if followed by the neck series.

Third Trimester Neck Series

1. Forwards and Backwards

From a straight position (a), slowly bend the head forward (b), chin towards the chest (c), then back to the beginning at (a) this is one round. Do 5 rounds.

Breathe out as you lower the head forwards or to the rear, breathe in as you raise it to the center.

2. Turning Side to Side

From a central position (a), slowly turn the head to the right (b), back to center (a), over to the left (c), and back to center at (a). This is one round. Do 5 rounds.

Breathe out as you turn the head to the side, breathe in as you center it.

Try not to turn the shoulders or upper body at all.

3. Tilting Side to Side

From a central position (a), slowly tilt the head, right ear towards the right shoulder (b), back to the center (a), then left ear towards the left shoulder (c), then back to (a). This is one round. Do 5 rounds.

Breathe out as you tilt the head side-ways, breathe in as you raise it to the center.

Don’t turn the head at all – make the movement a pure side stretch.

4. Full neck Rotation

Note: Some people find Full Neck Rotations are painful in certain positions. They should not do it.

Starting with the chin down on the chest at (a), Very Slowly roll the head around to the right side, ear towards right shoulder (b), continue around to the back

(c) then over towards the left shoulder (d), and down to the front again at (e). This is one roll.

Do 5 rolls in that direction then 5 in the reverse direction.

Breathe in for the first half-roll to the back position, and breathe out for the second half-roll to the front position.

For mothers-to-be, practice throughout pregnancy and post-nasally as this exercise helps to stimulate proper function of the mammary glands.


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