move

Move: Prenatal Yoga at Work

Sometimes you may not have the time (or energy) to mindfully move everyday - maybe you’re tired or busy after work and maybe you want to sleep as much as possible before work. Maybe you just don’t feel like it. And that’s OK - it happens.

For those days when going to a class or doing your own movement practice is just too much - but you’d still like to soften those creaks and stiffness, we bring you a few gentle yoga based movements that you can do anywhere! You can do these at home, at work, you can even do some of them on your commute or the grocery store (no props necessary)! You can also do them at any stage of your perinatal journey - especially during your pregnancy!

Check them out below:

1) Centering Breaths

Make sure you are comfortably seated or standing with both feet planted on the ground - your weight evenly distributed between them. Take a deep breath in and lengthen your spine - as you exhale let go of your jaw. Soften your gaze and take 6 more deep breaths like this - be mindful of softening the muscles of your face, your shoulders, your belly, your hands, and your hips.

2) Move those feet!

If possible, remove your shoes (this works well if you have an enclosed desk!). If you’re seated inhale and point your toes, as you exhale flex your feet - drawing your toes towards you. Repeat this 3-5 times. Circles your ankles in one direction - then the other, repeating once more 3-5 times. If you’re standing, hold onto something and do one foot at a time.

3) Side Stretch

Inhale and lift your arms towards the sky. As you exhale, release your right arm by your right side (you can anchor that arm to your seat/whatever is stable around you) and take a gentle side bend to the right. Soften the right shoulder. 

Hold for 3-5 breaths. Repeat on the left side. 

4) Gentle Twist

If you are sitting, inhale and lengthen your spine. As you exhale, hug your belly in and twist to the right side. 

Hold for 3-5 breaths. Repeat on the left side. 

If you’re standing, as you twist to the right, use your left arm to grip onto sometime (a desk, shelf, pole, etc.) and hold your twist. Repeat on the other side.

5) Sitting or Standing Cat/Cow

If you are sitting, bring your hands on your knees. Inhale to hinge forward and gently arch your upper back, squeezing your shoulder blades together. If pregnant, be mindful to gently hug baby in as you do this. 

As you exhale, hinge back, rounding your back and curling your spine. Hug your belly in.  

If you’re standing, place your hands on your hips - follow the rest of the instructions above.

Repeat 3-10 times. 

6) Move your Neck!

Inhale to lengthen your spine. As you exhale circles your shoulders back and forth a couple of times. 

Inhale deeply once more and lengthen your spine. As you exhale, drop your chin to your chest. Spend 3-5 breaths here. Roll your head to the right, spend 3-5 breaths here. Roll your head to the left, spend 3-5 breaths here. 

Bring your head back to centre - inhale and lift your arms above your head. Interlace your fingers and press your palms up, giving yourself a nice deep stretch. Release.

7) Centering Breaths

Finish with 3-7 centering breaths. Notice how you feel.

We hope this little sequence helps!

XO,

The Spectrum Team

Winter Walking: 4 options to walk in Toronto

winter_walking

Movement is so important for promoting health and wellness in pregnancy and yet busy lives means that many of us have difficulty meeting our exercise goals. Thankfully there are many movements that can be incorporated into our daily lives. Such as walking!

Walking is often overlooked as a form of physical activity. It strengthens your legs, back and pelvis and improves your alignment and flexibility. These can help relieve prenatal aches and discomfort and prepare your body. It’s great during labour too!  A 2013 Cochrane Review showed that upright positions, such as walking, lead to greater comfort for the birthing person and a shorter length of the first stage of labour.

Walking for thirty to sixty minutes each day or several times a week is great option for meeting movement goals. As it gets colder and the days shorter, we often tend to become less active and its harder to find the time or space for movement. Luckily, there are many options for walking within the city even on the coldest days:

1. Art Gallery of Ontario

It’s easy to walk for an hour or more while enjoying exhibits from classics to contemporary canadian art. There are four levels all accessible by elevator, but if you’re looking to increase your activity use the winding ramp to move through the gallery.

Every Wednesday from 6-9 pm the AGO collection galleries are free for the public!

2. Allan Gardens Conservatory

One of our favourite winter activities is visiting Allan Gardens, a greenhouse conservatory in Cabbagetown. It is a perfect way to escape the cold, grey winter days into the warm, tropical plant gardens.

Every December, the conservatory hosts their Christmas Flower Show with hundreds of flowers and holiday plant displays. On weekend evenings the conservatory can be enjoyed by candlelight.

3. Holiday Markets and Pop Up Shops

All throughout December, there are holiday markets and pop shops that let you shop while being active. These markets are great for finding unique gifts and crafts, many of which are made locally, and your favourite holiday drinks and treats!

A full list of holiday markets is available here

4. Brave the Cold

We can understand why so many chose to stay indoors during these winter months, but bundling up and heading outdoors has its benefits. We love the freshness in winter air and the beauty of the sun shining through bare trees and grey skies.

Green spaces, such as High Park or Evergreen Brickworks, are great options for outdoor walks. On those cold days, we opt for routes where we can stop in shops and cafes along the way, such as the Distillery District, Queen Street West, or Roncesvalle Avenue.

** Walking is one activity that many can incorporate to their daily activities or holiday plans, however we acknowledge it and the above suggestions will not accessible for all. Of the ideas listed above, Allan Gardens and Art Gallery of Ontario are accessible for those requiring mobility assistance.  

Love, 

The Spectrum Doula Team