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Ease Into Your First Trimester with This Prenatal Yoga Flow

The first trimester of pregnancy can be a roller coaster, thanks to sleepiness, a finicky appetite, and massive hormonal changes. (Here: more on your brain during pregnancy.) But it's all for good reason: That little grain-of-sand-sized baby in your belly is growing to be the size of a peach in just 13 weeks. While it's extra important to be careful of your body during pregnancy (hello, precious cargo!), getting exercise is as important as ever. (Yes, you can and should exercise during pregnancy.)

You don't need to go crazy with burpees and barbells (unless that's your thing), but you can most certainly adopt a gentle yoga practice. The perfect place to start? This first trimester prenatal yoga flow from yogi Heidi Kristoffer, full of poses chosen specifically to help prep your body for the ~magic~ that is the creation of a whole other human life. (Are female bodies not the coolest thing ever?!)

How it works: Watch Heidi demo all the moves in the video above, then work through them at your own pace. Once you do the flow on one side, don't forget to do it again on the other side! (If you're looking for a slightly more intense workout, try this made-for-pregnancy cardio workout or see how to modify fitness classes for pregnancy.)

Cat-Cow

A. Start in a tabletop position on hands and knees, shoulders over wrists.
B. Inhale and drop belly toward the ground, lifting head and tailbone toward the ceiling.
C. Exhale and round spine toward the ceiling, dropping head and tailbone toward the ground.

Repeat for 3 to 5 breaths.

Bird-Dog

A. Start in a tabletop position on hands and knees, shoulders over wrists with a neutral spine.
B. Inhale and extend right arm forward, biceps by ear and palm facing in, while extending left leg backward, foot flexed, toes pointing toward the floor.
C. Exhale and round spine, drawing right elbow to left knee under belly button.

Repeat for 3 to 5 breaths.

Bow Variation

A. From bird-dog, kick left heel toward left glute and reach back with the right hand to hold the inside of the left foot.
B. Kick into left foot to pull right hand up and back, opening chest while keeping gaze forward and hips square.

Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.

Thread the Needle

A. Start in a tabletop position on hands and knees, shoulders over wrists with a neutral spine.
B. Inhale and reach right fingertips toward the ceiling, spiraling chest open to the right and gazing up at the right hand.
C. Exhale and thread right arm between left arm and left knee, palm facing up. Rest right shoulder and right cheek on the ground with right arm parallel to the front of the mat.
D. Lay left arm on top of right arm, palms touching.

Repeat for 3 to 5 breaths.

Downward Dog with Foot Pedal

A. From tabletop, exhale to lift hips and straighten legs, coming into an upside down "V" shape. Actively press chest toward knees.
B. Alternate bending each knee to stretch calves.

Downward Dog Split Open-Hip Walk

A. From downward dog, lift right leg straight into the air, then bend knee so right foot kicks back toward right glute.
B. Circle the right foot one time to roll out the ankle, then place right foot on the floor a few inches in front of where it was previously.
C. Repeat on the left side, then again on the right, taking small steps each time until feet are parallel in forward fold.

Malasana

A. From forward fold, walk feet out toward the edges of the mat, toes pointed out at 45-degree angles.
B. Slowly lower hips into a deep squat position, hands coming to a prayer position at heart center with elbows pressing knees away.

Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.

Malasana Open Twist

A. From Malasana, place the left palm flat on the floor in front of and just to the outside of the left foot, fingers pointing to the left. Press left shoulder into left knee.
B. Lift right fingertips toward the ceiling, spiraling chest open to the right, and gazing up at right hand.

Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.

Open Forward Fold Twist

A. From Malasana, slowly lift hips and straighten (but don't lock) legs. Step feet in to be hip-width (about two fists) apart.
B. With a soft bend in the left knee, lift right fingertips toward the ceiling, spiraling chest open to the right and gazing up at right hand.

Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.

Sway Roll-Up to Mountain Pose

A. From forward fold, let arms hang straight down toward the floor.
B. Slowly sway torso from side to side while rolling up to stand, one vertebra at a time.
C. Once standing, roll shoulders back and extend fingers toward the floor, firming legs and pulling navel to spine for mountain pose.

Side Opener

A. From mountain pose, sweep arms overhead, grabbing hold of the left wrist with the right hand.
B. Inhale to extend arms toward the ceiling, then exhale and slowly bend to the right, feeling the stretch in the left-side body.

Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.

Runner's Lunge

A. From mountain pose, fold forward over legs. Place palms flat on the floor in front of feet and step the right foot back into a runner's lunge. Left knee is bent directly over left ankle, and hands are framing left foot.
B. Lower onto right knee (without flipping foot) and shift hips back to straighten left leg and fold torso forward.

Low Lunge to Twist

A. From runner's lunge, flip right foot and shift hips forward into low lunge, left knee directly over left ankle.
B. Clasp or lace hands together behind back and left away from body, opening chest.
C. Release hands and place right palm flat on the floor under right shoulder in line with left foot. Lift left fingertips toward the ceiling, spiraling chest open to the left.

Side Opener to Triangle

A. From low lunge twist, sweep left hand down and place just outside of left foot.
B. Sweep right arm overhead, biceps by ear, spiraling chest open to the right and up toward the ceiling if possible.
C. Spiral right foot to plant flat on the floor, parallel to the short side of the mat. Shift hips back and straighten front leg to come into triangle pose, left hand on the floor next to left foot (or resting on foot or shin if necessary), and right fingers extended toward the ceiling.

Warrior I to Twist and Reverse Warrior

A. From triangle pose, bend front knee and frame front foot with both hands, then lift chest up, arms overhead to rise into warrior I. Square hips to the front with back leg straight and front knee bent at 90 degrees.
B. Rise up onto the ball of the right foot and straighten legs, then extend right arm forward and left arm back, twisting chest to face the left and bending left leg to sink back into a lunge.
C. Reach left hand back to rest on the left thigh or calf and extend right arm overhead, biceps by ear.

Warrior II Lift & Lower to Reverse Warrior

A. From reverse warrior, return to warrior I, then open up to warrior II: left arm extended forward, right arm extended back with palms face down, front knee bent at a 90-degree angle, and chest open to the right.
B. Inhale and flip palms to face the ceiling, lifting hands to touch overhead while straightening the front knee.
C. Exhale and return to warrior II, lower arms, flipping palms, and bending the front knee.
D. Keeping front knee bent, reach the right hand back to rest on right thigh or calf and reach the left arm overhead, biceps by ear for reverse warrior.

Vinyasa Flow to Locust Pose

A. From reverse warrior, cartwheel hands forward to frame the front foot, coming into a runner's lunge.
B. Step left foot back next to right, and lift hips up and back to move into downward dog.
C. Roll body forward into a high plank position, then slowly lower body down to the floor.
D. Clasp hands together behind lower back. Inhale to lift feet and chest off the floor, reaching hands up and away from body for locust.

Wide-Knees Child's Pose

A. From locust, place palms on the floor under shoulders and press chest away from the floor, shifting hips back over heels. Keep knees wide to make room for your belly.
B. Reach tailbone back while reaching arms forward, palms on the floor.

Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.

Rainbow Camel

A. Sit on heels with knees together. Place right hand on the floor to the back right of right hip. Inhale while lifting hips and sweeping left hand to the right then overhead to the left ear, coming into a small backbend.
B. Exhale to sweep left hand forward in front of body, then place it on the floor to the back left of the left hip. Inhale while sweeping right hand to the left then overhead to the right ear, coming into a small backbend.

Repeat for 3 to 5 breaths.

Hero Pose

A. From rainbow camel, bring weight back to center. Rest palms on tops of thighs. Reach through the crown of the head to maintain a tall spine.

Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.

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