Glow: Garland Pose
Spend any time traveling in less developed countries and you will quickly notice women squatting behind their shop at the market hawking their goods, very often with a bundle of vegetables balanced on their head and a baby strapped to their back. You will observe elderly men having tea while conversing casually in a squat. It looks effortless and it is. This, however, is not something that you will often see in the United States. We have chairs, stools and other furniture items so readily available that most of us haven't squared since we were a child.
Practicing yogic squat or garland pose, although not always very comfortable, is enormously beneficial. It is a deeply grounding and balancing, aids in digestion, strengthens the pelvic floor (so necessary after giving birth) and tones muscles in the legs and hips. It's a fantastic hip opener and an excellent pose to practice throughout pregnancy but especially in the third trimester. Garland pose was one of my favorites while pregnant and I would practice it with my arms wrapped around an ottoman. It provided just enough support and felt oh so good.
Of course, listen to your body when practicing yoga. If you feel pain, back off. If you feel sensation, offer curiosity and stillness. If it is uncomfortable then lean in and sway.
Sit in a squatting position with your toes pointed out. Press your palms together in a prayer position and use your elbows widen your knees. Extend your spine long and stretch the crown of your head towards the sky. Close your eyes. Breathe. Sway. Stay for as long as you feel comfortable.
* If you find yourself needing support, fold your yoga mat (or roll a blanket) and place it underneath your heels.