Many of you have asked me what I suggest you do between classes to keep your muscles strong and supple and your mind relaxed. I suggest you develop your home practice. That includes setting aside a space to practice your yoga, gathering special music, candles, imagery, perhaps creating a special altar. Getting your gear- yoga props, mat, blocks, bolster, strap, and blankets. You might begin with asana practice and then once your body and mind are tuned, begin your meditation. Some might do the reverse. I almost always begin my practice with seated pranayama- breathing, then move slowly with seated and low-to-the-floor postures, moving into my adho mukha svanasana (downward facing dog).
I advise lots of warming of the major joints of the body. You can achieve this through cat and cow- spinal flexion and extension, wrist warm ups, leg lifts, etc. You can integrate the prenatal sun salutation, which excludes chaturangas and upwardfacing dog, and deep forward folds.
Prenatal Sun SalutationStand at the top of your mat. Feet hip width distance apart or step them a little wider depending on the size of your growing belly. Draw your tailbone down towards the floor, tip your pelvis forward towards the sky ever so slightly. Circle your shoulders back and down keeping your spine long.Bring your palms to touch at heart center, float your eyes closed. Take a few breaths here. Inhale deep, exhale long.
Inhale – Sweep the arms up above head (draw shoulder blades down your back, bring palms to touch)
Exhale - Bend the knees coming down to Camper's Pose keeping the feet wide and parallel. (send your hips back behind you as if you’re squatting, bringing the forearms to rest on the tops of your thighs)
Inhale - Being the palms flat inside the feet and step the right leg back to a lunge.
Exhale - Step the left foot back to Downward facing dog
Inhale - Come forward to a Plank ( push-up) position, (keep your shoulders directly over your wrists, keep the neck nice and long, no crunching in the shoulders).
Exhale- Send the hips back to downward facing dog
Inhale - Bring the right foot forward to the outside of the right foot coming into a Lunge.
Exhale - Step the left foot to the outside of the left hand coming into Camper's Pose.
Inhale - Straighten the legs bringing the hands up through the heart center towards the ceiling coming into Urdhva Hastasana (arms over head).
Repeat sequence on the left side. And practice for a minimum of 3 cycles, getting deeper into each posture.
You can do this sequence first thing in the morning to get your blood moving and warm up your body, relax your mind. Be sure to drink adequate water before and after your practice.