Class #1147

Prenatal Tension Release

30 min - Class


You will release tension in your body in this Prenatal Mat workout with Leah Stewart. Using only seated and kneeling positions, she focuses on mobilizing the rib cage, spine, and pelvis. You will enter the session with breathing exercises while finding the connection of the two hearts beating, then you will go into movements that are free and feel good on the body.

Check out Prenatal Mat Series #2 and Prenatal Mat Series #3 to add more safe and gentle exercises.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video


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Hi there it is time for another prenatal [inaudible] Matt class with me. Leah, I'm happy to be here. I have a wonderful students slash model slash client here with me, Linea Linea and I are both in our early third trimester. So we're really starting to make some modifications to the work as our bellies are happily and conveniently in the way of some things. Um, but today we're going to be doing kind of a different class. We're going to be focusing on seated position, kneeling position, and we're really going to actually focus on mobilizing the rib cage, articulating the rib cage and the pelvis, practicing a little bit of control.

So I want to get out of the mindset of kind of very structured and I want you to think more about being a little bit more free, flowing, a little bit more animalistic. We're doing one called the lioness. Um, if you will, I just want you to move your pelvis, move your rib cage, and I want you to think about how these type of movements can kind of correlate into kind of some natural movements that you may desire to do. While you are in labor, which you never know. So we're going to start in. I see the position Linea is going to show a little bit of a modified seated position. Um, if you need to sit up on some cushions or on some pillows, you can sit with the bottoms of your feet together and kind of just let your knees splay open or you can follow me and sit with your legs crossed, whichever feels better for you. When you're in the seated position, I want you to really think about right on top of your sits bones and I want you to be cautious. That's very easy with our bellies to sit too far forward. We're putting pressure on the pubic synthesis.

I want you to try to stay right in between the triangle of the two initial tuberosities that sits bones and that pubic symphysis. So you're really centered at, obviously you're going to have that curve in your lower back to accentuate the curve. This what we need, that's what happens during pregnancy. But I want you to think about not tipping your way too far forward because that'll really put too much extra strain on your back and compromise the position. So coming back a little bit over, balanced over those three points so that your shoulders are primarily over your hips and then you can lay them out through the crown of the head from them. Okay, you ready? Awesome. So we're going to start with just some simple breathing.

So what I want you to do is place your right hand over your chest, just kinda over your, I'm not going to make you say the pledge of allegiance or anything like that. And then I want you to put your other hand just right below your belly. And the reason I want you to do this because I kind of wants you to think about your own heartbeats and then the heartbeat of your little one that's deep. Your belly, even though their heartbeat is a lot faster than ours at this point. But I just want you to feel that connection of those two hearts beating in one body or in two bodies. That's within one that we want to think of it that way.

And you can kind of close your eyes and it's really important that we enter our sessions here with some breath. We're going to do a breathing technique that I did in my last series of prenatal classes with my first pregnancy where we breathe in for four and we breathe out eight. So we're just gonna do that feeling the breath come through the ribs and through the belly and we'll move our hand positions halfway through. So here we go. And inhale for four one, two, three, four and XL for five. Excuse me, eight, eight, seven, six five, four, three, two, one and in two, three, four and out. Seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. Continue as you're breathing. Two, three, four and out. Seven, six, five, four, three. I want you to count your own head as I speak to you. So as you breathe here, I really want you to feel that fresh oxygen just kind of pouring down through your body, kind of think of the oxygen casing, the uterus in casing the baby, and then Xcel at all that air. Just see thous.

You feel your chest relaxed, you feel your belly relax a little bit good. And your shoulders come down. And I want you to take both hands and put it low on the belly here. Good against, continue that same breath pattern. So inhale two, three, four and feel that expansion of your pelvis and XL. Seven six five four three two, one and in two, three, four and out. Seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, two more on your own.

And just feel that nice wave of relaxation, of calm, of rejuvenation. Although those are two different things, but kind of that duality of that sense of calm and rejuvenation, kind of come all together and feel how your body just completely comes into itself as you do this breathing. Good. And when you're done with that final XL, just softly open your eyes and place your hands right on top of your knees. We can do a little bit of rib cage articulation here. We're going to go lateral shift of the rib cage, so inhale, take the right way, page out to the right side and exhale, bring it in, and then the left page. Inhale and exhale. Good and inhale. So again, we're just doing a lot of this kind of torso mobilization and inhale good and XL. Think of like a typewriter going across.

Inhale and exhale. Good and inhale. Okay, excellent. Now you're going to go on the diagonal, you're going to reach your left or your right rib cage over the right knee and exhale, bring it back. Good. And Inhale and excise. That said, great. You can keep both hands here. Yeah, and inhale, reach the chest forward and XL. We're thinking a lot of, you know, where's this movement coming from? You're just mobilizing the bones at this point and one more time and inhale and you'll feel that kind of stretch and mobilization that's happening in your pelvis as well. Go the other side and inhale and excellent. I want you to really look beyond your body. Feel your chest rising.

Feel really proud in your body here. Just feeling that mobilization and start to recognize what feels a little constricted. What feels a little bit tight? Inhale and exhale one more and inhale and exhale. Come back to center. Now you're going to make a circle. You're going to go out to the right. Inhale, reaching forward, and then we'd come back around. Exhale, good, and in yellow.

Notice how my face and my eyes just kind of traveled with the movement and this kind of circular motion can come in really handy during labor. When you start to feel those contractions, this kind of mobilization, the focus on the breath, we're going to go the other direction is really going to help keep you calm, helps spiral the baby down the birth canal, keep you mobile and inhale. Just let your eyes follow the movement and exhale and inhale. Just really feeling that beautiful kind of primal movement and inhale nights. You'll get into it and Xcel good and come back to the center.

Now what it wants you to do is I want you to glide your scapula together. Let your hands glide on your knees and release it. Inhale and exhale, GLI. Let your hands move as a result of your scapula moving and good. Inhale and exhale and I'll turn around so you can see a couple from the back angle. Good.

Let's do two more and draw them together. Think of pinching those two scapula together and then just let them release one more time and draw them in. And I want you to hold it here. Now draw the rib cage slightly in. Sit up a little bit taller. Keep the scapula drawn together. Fill the upper back. Good. We're getting Trapezius, Rhomboids here. Good. Activating the upper back, stretching up the chest, which it's so tight in the upper back is weak during pregnancy.

Try not to let your belly come out too much. Good and release it. Good. Now from here, we're going to go into our, you can stay sitting that way. Linea. We're going to go into our pelvic tilts. So I want you to think about drawing your pubic bone just up to your belly buttons. Yes, and then release it. Good. And think of squeezing that pelvic floor, drawing that pubic bone up toward the belly button. It's getting that lower curve in the lumbar spine. Good. And then release it.

Beautiful and excellent. You should feel again that closing of the pelvis and those lower abdominals kick in. Good and release. Back to neutral and to more XL and release. Inhale one more and exhale. Good. Now from here you're going to add the upper back arch, so lift the upper back, reach the chest step, stirring them up toward the ceiling and bring it back and XL pelvic tilt and bring it back. And inhale, lift the chest up and bring it back and get pelvic floor. Then abdominals Tuck with the exhale. Good, and bring it back. One more time. Lift sternum up, fill the upper back, activate. Press slightly back against your knees and draw back in.

That's an inhale and exhale and center holding it there. Come back to the upbraid position. Good. Find yourself rights place over that triangle. Fantastic. Good. So you feel a little bit of warmth in your spine, your lower abdomen. Let's take our arms out to the side. So this is very important again, that you don't picture wait too far forward.

We're gonna do a little bit of side tilting for some control. So anyhow, you're just going to tap your fingertips down to the right side. Then I want you to literally pick yourself up with your left side body with an exhale. Good. And inhale, so getting, you can see how I'm city or you can go ahead and follow the linea, which might be a little bit more comfortable for you and go over inhale. So you should feel that. That'll bleak control. You're just barely tapping your fingertips down on your mat and draw it back up. Do you feel those obliques? Linea. Good. Inhale and XL. One more set and inhale.

Look until you get a nice little sense of shoulder work here too. As our arms. They up in this airplane sequence, I call it. I didn't come back to [inaudible] arena ad rotation. So inhale over XL, rotate the body, kind of like you're doing butterfly. Inhale back to the lateral flection and XL up. Inhale over. Exhale the spiral, that spline, feel that movement spiraling through your body in heel, back to the lateral flection. Come all the way back to that side. Tilt, beautiful. And and in heels. So again, we're articulating that rib cage, we're articulating that spinal lateral flection and rotation, which means we're getting really subtle, gentle abdominal work.

Could come back to lateral flection back that. But we're also getting that sense of control through the pelvis, which is really lovely. Exhale and inhale back to lateral flection and app. Good. So this is my favorite one because I hang out with my two and a half year old, too much. We're going to do airplane dips.

So you're going to go to the right XL over and over. And I won't make the sounds that Turner makes and over good. So just think of doing a figure eight and then as you keep moving, kind of just let it start to go free and just feeling your breath has that fill in area. Good. So just mobile life and we get so tight and so constricted in our rib cage, but then we're also mobilizing that lumbar spine, mobilizing the hips and the pelvis or one more set. We might get a little dizzy and come back to center and hold a beautiful, we're going to add some rotation here, so you're going to twist to the right, so just be careful where you put your hand. Linea, you're going to dig back onto your hand. Good.

You're going to give me a tricep dip. You're going to press all the way down. Good. And you're going to bring yourself back up to the rotation so you're controlling with the obliques and back to center and rotate. Take the hand down and go into the tricep dip and bring it up. Boom and back to center and rotate control as you go back, try set it and bring it up.

Oblique control and center. Your spine should be feeling really good at this point. Bring it back. Tricep dip and up and center. How you feeling? Rotate. Bring it. Try something now. Hold it. Give me five. TRICEP presses up. One.

Inhale at sail two. Inhale. Exhale three through this angle here. XL Four. You're good there and come up on five, hold it and come back to center. Beautiful. Other side. Inhale and lean back. And tricep.

Press one XL two so you're feeling that stretch. Lift that sternum up. Feel beautiful. Feel like you're reaching that chest up. Beautiful. Two more. That looks great. Linea down and up. Last one. This time you're going to come up to the rotation, find it, hold it, and come back to center. Nice. That was beautiful. Good. So you should feel that nice deltoid work too.

I'm going to come a little bit forward to the edge of my mat. You may want to two as well. We're going to do a little bit more upper body articulation. I'm going to do some forward flection. So what I want you to just take your hands down to your side.

You're gonna come forward, rounded, taking your arms through a first position. We call them ballet. So your arms are just forward and rounded. Good. You're going to come up, circle the arms. You're going to push your hands down to, you can keep your fingertips out or like out to the sides or out to the back, or even in towards you. Whatever feels most comfortable in your shoulders, in your wrist, but you're going to press your chest up to the ceiling. I want you to feel that upper body stretch and you're going to release it.

Come forward. Come all the way at. Feel the articulation to the spine circle and press. Get that nice stretch your shoulders. You're going to kind of spring yourself off curves so it makes you tuck that pelvis underneath you and come up, up, up, up, arms forward, or excuse me, arms up and around am press. So the external rotation of those shoulders and reaching forward, come into a little bit of a Tuck here so you get that pelvic floor connection and come up, fill the upper back connection. Good.

Take it down and then draw the scapula together externally. Rotate the shoulders and lift that certain amount. Feel that stretch all the wave. Take a couple times to breathe here and slowly just really sick. Good as you have that. Beautiful stretch. So your chest for this next series, I do need you to sit cross legged if he can. Yeah. Perfect.

So I love this series you're going to have shake your actually your right foot and place it underneath your left Shin. That's going to be important here. So you're, you're right. So I want you to think about keeping your arms out to the side. And what you're going to get is we're going to get this beautiful articulation and rotation of the pelvis, which is really nice because we need to mobilize that pelvis for in preparation for Labor. So you're going to take your inhale and you're going to rotate over to the right and tip your actually come toward me to, to the right. Yeah.

Tip Your weight on your, that's okay. Pregnancy brain, tip your weight onto your right hip and allow that left hip to come off. And then you're going to bring it back and inhale, reach again, airplane kind of theme, right? You're soaring and in how reach, you'll feel that stretch, that deep stretch that you get through your hips, that mobilization to get through your pelvis. And in how reach now. Hold it here. Now from here you're going to exhale. Come into a little bit of a pike. Yes, a little bit of a Tuck with your arms out and then reach it forward. Inhale, exhale, bring it in and in how reach.

So you're really going back and forth on that diagonal cause sign it, scoop in and up, getting that oblique work and reach it out and don't go too far back. Keep it nice and small and controlled. Exhale and in how reach. Bring that certain forward. And last one. Now this time when they ever gonna transfer into a kneeling position. So you're gonna reach the arms forward. You're going to come up to your hands and your knees.

So we're in kneeling on all floors and we're going to go into a hindering exercise. Now here I need you to think about keeping your abdominal wall up and supported. That's very important. You're going to reach your chest forward and you're going to hinge forward on the wrist. Now here, I want you to think of your sits bones coming together and then you're going to reach back with an inhale and you're going to hinge back. Let your hips come down a little bit and widen your pelvis.

Still those bones come apart and excuse me, exhale, come forward. If this bothers wrist, please make the appropriate modifications. Put some padding underneath it and reach back with an inhale. Let's do three more and exhale forward. Fill it. Abdominal connects, you feel the Scapula draw apart. Keep the abdominal wall in supported. Draw that baby up towards your spine and take it back. Inhale. So here you're really getting a beautiful, deep articulation of those pelvic bones. Pull the pubic floor, OSU, the pelvic floor egg this, this blends together and reach it back to try to keep your back really nice and flat. So no flection here. Yeah, there you go. Last one and bring it all the way back. Good. Now for here, I want you to bring your hands to the right side of your body.

So we're going to do the same thing, but we're going to add some lateral flections. So take your hips back, swing them to the right, and then tilt your body to the left. So you kind of like you're bringing your left shoulder down to your left hip. Exactly. And then bring the hips back. You're going to do the opposite the other way and bring your right shoulder down to your right. Hips are doing a lateral flection the other way. Yes. And bringing the hips that keep the back flat.

He does backing sensors engaged and go into the lateral tilt. Left shoulder, down to the left hip. Beautiful. And bring the hips back. Inhale and exhale. Good. If you're in the comfort of your own living room, just move baby. Yes, good. And bring it back. You might even feel a little sexy here. That's good. I want you to and bring it back to center. Good.

Walk your hands over to the left. Beautiful. Has that feeling good? So bring the shoulders apart, take it back and swing over. Hips to the left. Bring your right shoulder down to your right hip and bring it back. Stick those sitz bones out. Let them spread apart.

Let them widen and then swing over to the other side. Yes. And take it back. Those beautiful down. I love it. And saline, put a little smile on your face and swings to just the, I let yourself be a little free here. Yes. Good. Using your breath to guide you. Inhale. And I hope when you are in Labor that you feel comfortable and confident you can do movements like this because it will help you feel comfortable to help you feel confident and come back to center, center yourself, and sit back on your heels. Ooh, that feels good. Nice.

Now what I wanted to do is I want you to sit with your left foot tucked under your right Shin because we're gonna do the other side. Yeah, always feels weird, right? To do the opposite way. So take your breath in and breathe out. Okay, here we go. So we're going to over to the left hip. Let the right hip rise with an inhale, reaching out and exhale, bring it around. Just going to swing those arms and inhale. Good. And exhale and inhale, reach. So remember, you're keeping your postural control as you do this. Two more. Inhale and reach around one more and hold it good.

And now exhale, come into the side by the little side pikes or bring your hip down. Come into your flection and inhale reach and XL Gerad and that's beautiful. And in how reach feel really expansive here. Yeah, try to challenge yourself if you feel comfortable to tip on that pelvis as much as you can. Yes, to more. So you really get that articulation of the femur in the Acetabulum of the pelvis. Good. You get that nice deep stretch that work of your back of your waist and hold it here and transfer into the kneeling position linear if you want to face me.

Yeah, that's fine. Good. So from here we're going to do what I call dieting Kat. So another great upper body spinal articulation and pelvic opening exercise. So you're going to take your breath in and exhale. You're going to bend your elbows down, you're going to bring your chin down to your mat and let your hips come way up into the air. Yes. Inhale, hold. Exhale. Bring the tailbone down to the pubic bone, all the way up to the belly button.

Curve through the spine into the cat, and then articulate back to the flat pack. Good. So let's go. Exhale down. Inhale, hold. Exhale. Pube our pelvic floor abdominals all the way up. This is the next sale. And then inhale, returned back to center and take it down. All the way. Inhale, hold and move.

Undulate through your body. Articulate. Find that curve and back to center. One more time. Exhale down. Feel that stretch through your pelvis. No, that hinge and curving up and back to center. Now hold it. That's our cat. I said a little house cat. Now we're going to go into our big cat, our lioness.

So what I wants to do is I want you to stagger your legs, bring your right knee back, your right shin back, and stagger your hands. So right hand, back, left, hand forward. Yes. So lioness gets a little bit more complicated. So that's why you're going to do this. What happens when you do pull out these 1130 at night, right?

Because they're going to bend your elbows. You're going to dive down and you're going to bring the right leg that bent here. Boom. Yeah. And you're going to come back. You're gonna swing back and you're going to bring the knee up underneath you into kind of a cat single, like they're beautiful. Bend the elbows down, kind of snake your body forward and bring it up and take it down. Yeah, and up. Let's do two more on the side and bring it down. Curve the body for you'll feel beautiful. Tricep and shoulder work and hip work.

Keep the abdominal wall and just a little bit. Draw the baby up into the spine. There you go. And bring it down and feel the pike here. One more time and take it down. Hyphen Linea. Good, good, good, good. And hold there and take it down and find the pike. Hold it and rest. Good. Let's do the other side. Kind of fun. Yeah. If you're having a little bit of a challenge with balance, widen your stance. Yeah. So just draw your arms and your legs apart a little bit.

That will help a little bit there. So let's go bend the elbow. Draw the head down, dip it down, lift up the left leg, try to keep it parallel. Beautiful and take it down and draw it up and for a little extra abdominal work there and down. Dip Elbow. See parallel. Now feel as you lift this arch up. You feel your hip extensors, your glutes and your hamstrings, but you keep drawing the abdominal wall in for that support. Good. And bring it down. I'm not looking for a flat back.

I want you to come into that nice curve, that Nice art and take it down. You'll feel your heart rate. Come up here with this exercise and that's okay. And take it down and fill the pipe. Come in in, in Chin, all the way up to the Ernie, all the way up to the Chin and take it down and lift. I feel the hip extension and we'll do one more after this and just find that breath. Let that breath guide you and up nice and bring it down and up and rest. And I want you to come all the way back on your heels. Whiting your knees here.

You're going to bring one hand over the other. We're going to clean this with a back extension. So you're gonna place your forehead on your hands. Taking your breath into prepare. With your exhale, you're going to lift head, neck, and chest. You're going to push your arms down, your forearms, down into your mat. Yes, and then inhale, take it down. That's your belly. Just rest in between your thighs and exhale, reach energy out to the crown of the head. Trace your nose along your hands.

Then lift the sternum up, feeling that opening for that stretch to your policy. Linea. Don't push down with your shoulders a little bit more. Yes, and take all the way down. It feels so good on those hips. Lift, head, neck and chest. Again, another great position to Labor in. I thought that opens the pelvis and take it down two more and exhale. So that nice shoulder work here, we need that upper body strength that really comes in handy during labor.

Get the upper body strength, upper body control and take it down one more and lift up. Ah, ah, AH, and down. Yeah. Rest your head onto your forehead. If this feels comfortable for you. If you need to switch positions into a seated position, please feel free to do so. But I want you to fill that deep hint at your hips, that opening of your pelvis. We're going to do three breath here to finish and for four out for eight feeling that expansion of the rib cades and inhale two, three, four wide ribs and exhale seven, six because sync your body down the sink, the energy down too.

One and N, two three, four and out. Seven, six, five, four, three, two, one last one, and in two, three, four and as you breathe out, just see that energy down. Six, five, four, three, two and one. Beautiful. Roll yourself up. Go ahead. Yep. And when you feel good, go ahead and come to your seated position. Good, nice. Then I just want you to close your eyes. No one should have. Think about all of that moving that we did that articulation, that mobilization, but still that subtle element of control and just thinking how that little one inside your belly is just so protected by the sturdiness of the uterus.

And then we have the protection of the muscles that come alongside that and the structure of the bones and the support of the ligaments that are all adapting and changing to the growing life inside of us. But yet our body is designed to protect that life and just how when we move our and we move those muscles, we move the bones and we're kind of dancing. And I know it might sound a little cheesy, but just think how joyful that is for that little life inside of you. Just feeling, you move, feeling you release tension in your body, filling those endorphins rise as you breathe and as you feel good about yourself and movement to feel confident, sexy, essential, powerful, strong, whatever it may be. It's just how all those positive emotions play such a huge role in the development of that precious life and that connection that you have with that baby as his mother, as his mother, and how Polonius is such a great tool to usher us into that state of motherhood.

Even if we're already a mother and we're adding another child into the mix as a whole new element of motherhood and pilates just keeps us energized and confident and happy is such a gift that we give to ourselves. And by giving that gift to ourselves, we give it to our child. It's just kind of focused on that for a moment. Wherever you're sitting and your house and your studio, just being fully present where you are, wonderful. And when you're ready, open your eyes, give yourself a big smile or smile back at me through the website and beautiful work that felt really, really good. Thank you so much. Thank you, Linea. That was awesome. And give yourselves a hand. Nice work.


1 person likes this.
Incredibly creative! Love the movement concept. My moms might be in giggles too! They are a chatty bunch!
I have a duet with second-trimester pregnant woman and 83-year-old post back surgery client, and they absolutely loved this sequence, Leah. Thanks, as always, for your creative flows.
2 people like this.
I did the 'sexy' hip swing with a group of older ladies and never had them in so much giggles :) absolutely love these exercises for myself too! Back and pelvis feel great, also without being pregnant!!! Am one of your big fans, Lea - best wishes from the beautiful Red Sea in Egypt!!

I am so happy that you enjoyed this class I am also really happy to hear that this class helped your clients relax and giggle a bit, so important

Thank you so much Leah for the addition of Pilates Mat Series 1&2...Wonderfully creative in concept and fluidity of movement...Perfect for this body of mine two weeks away from my due date, as well as future pre natal clients (not to mention an amazing use of my time as my 2 1/2 year old naps :)...You're awesome!

Yay! I too love this class close to my due date, it feels so good just to move with freedom and without inhibition (a great preparation for labor). I hope that your birth goes well, if you haven't already had the baby
I loved this class! I tried it to hoping to find inspiration for some of my prenatal clients and although I'm not currently pregnant these exercises made me feel fantastic, very open and fluid!
I especially like the childs pose extension variation. That exercise felt incredible on my hips! Thank you!
1 person likes this.
As a loooong time prenatal educator and doula who has attended more than 900 births and who has "caught" a few dozen babies as a midwife's apprentice I simply MUST thank you cor your emphasis on connecting the "work" (both physical and emtional) of your classes to the realities of labor and birth. Far too many women (and teachers) don't appear to understand that this preparation is not just a preamble to the"real thing" but a huge component of how to assure that labor progresses beautifully when it begins. The only thing more that needs to be emphasized is that women need to select caregiverz and birthplaces that are congruent with liberty of movement and positions!! So when women enter a hospital and then are kept immobilized. Perfect recipe for way too many unnecessay interventions!
That was supposed to say "so sad when..." only my 2nd day using a tablet for PA and my responses and I don' t look too literate yet. Lol

Thank you so much for your comment, and I couldn't agree with you more on all accounts! Without laboring and birthing in an environment that is supportive of the freedom to birth in comfortable, advantageous positions, all the Pilates for labor preparation in the world can only take a woman so far in her labor and birth experience. It can help a ton, but to complete the power of using Pilates, a woman needs to be able to move during labor. At the time of your comment I had literally just given birth to my son, Bennett in the shower at home in a kneeling position - it was amazing! So happy to see your passion on this topic.
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