Her coach, Latham Thomas breaks down the benefits of prenatal yoga.

By Rebecca Norris
September 17, 2019
Sean Zanni/Contributor/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images

Ever since Ashley Graham announced her pregnancy with husband Justin Ervin, she's been fully embracing her new lifestyle as a mama-to-be. She's treated herself to a self-care getaway in St. Barts, shared the changes her body is experiencing, and she still managed to find time to walk the runway during New York Fashion Week.

Most recently, the body-positive model shared a radiant photo of herself practicing yoga with the folks at Mama Glow, a maternity lifestyle company based in New York.

"Feeling that mama glow with @glowmaven," Graham captioned the photo.

Naturally, fans flooded the comments section with their support: "Beauty!" wrote fellow model Lily Aldridge. "God I hope I look and can feel apparently as wonderful as you when it's my time to go through pregnancy. Loving all the tips you've been giving along the way!!!" wrote another commenter.

But some people were curious about how Graham managed to comfortably achieve this yoga pose, considering back pain is common during pregnancy. "Oh my god and your lower back isn't killing you from doing that?! I'm so [jealous] my lower back has been killing me since week 20 of my pregnancy [it] hurts just to roll over in bed," wrote one commenter.

"My lower back is killing me, that's why [I] am doing this position!" Graham responded. "It releases so much tension! Yoga is the best thing for me right now." (Related: Is It Ever OK to Have Lower-Back Pain After a Workout?)

Rest assured, Graham warmed up her body "significantly" before reaching this pose, says her coach and Mama Glow founder, Latham Thomas.

"This posture is known as King Pigeon, but I like to call it Fierce Dove," explains Thomas. "This posture was achieved at the end of her practice. [We were] working from pigeon pose, undulating the spine, opening the outer hip for a few breaths, before bending the back knee and reaching around to grab the back leg."

Pigeon pose can help create a fluid spine that's less likely to feel aches and pains, says Thomas. "The lower back can get really impacted by normal movement in daily life in addition to accommodating a growing pregnancy," she explains, noting that this pose can help alleviate that impact. (Related: 6 Amazing Benefits of Yoga During Pregnancy)

While this might sound like straight magic to soon-to-be mamas (and women everywhere, TBH), Thomas recommends only attempting the pose if you have prior yoga experience and no previous injuries.

"For non-pregnant people, it's a normal pose. For pregnant women, it is a peak pose that challenges strength and flexibility," explains Thomas. "Benefits include hip-opening, lateral stretch, quad stretch, chest-opening, elongation of arms, expansion of rib cage—which feels amazing when you're pregnant. Prenatal yoga helps to elongate your muscles, stretch and strengthen connective tissue, lubricate/protect your joints, and induce a relaxation response in the body."

Physical benefits aside, Thomas notes that prenatal yoga has other, perhaps surprising, advantages.

"Prenatal yoga encourages us to be mindful and provides a foundation for a spiritual practice and deep sense of connection with the baby," says Thomas. "I incorporate essential oils and massage technique as well. Yoga helps with stress management, a decrease in anxiety, better restful sleep, hormonal balance, and a sense of overall well-being."

In addition to finding her mind-body balance at Mama Glow, Graham has been putting in work at the gym, too. In response to a follower applauding her for remaining so active during her pregnancy, Graham said: "Trying to do yoga twice a week and walk everywhere as well! And also weight training." (Curious about her weight-training routine? Check out Graham's latest pregnancy workout clips.)

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