Restorative yoga and yoga nidra are very nourishing practices while you are pregnant. If you are already familiar with setting up for savanna, please enjoy this guided yoga nidra practice. It is about 20 minutes long and it is cued for you to lie on your back. If you prefer a sidelying savanna, that is also great option.
One of the most important steps to prepare yourself for a restorative savasana is to make sure you are well supported and warm enough. Early in your pregnancy, you can enjoy the “traditional” savasana set up. It is nice to have a little support under your knees and head, with a blanket to keep you warm. Make sure you also have a little padding underneath your whole body so that you aren’t prompted to end your savasana early because you are uncomfortable.
The following pictures will help guide you through set up for being flat on you back in your early months. As you progress through your pregnancy, you will want to set yourself up in a replying position so that both you and baby will be more comfortable. 20 minutes is an ideal length for a restorative savasana practice. It may take 10 minutes, or even longer, to settle and relax, then you will have about 10 minutes to experience the relaxation response.
In the traditional and the reclining savasana setups, you can also choose supported butterfly legs. If you do like this variation, make sure you have support under your knees. And, when it is time to roll out and on to your side, make sure you use your hands to on the sides/undersides of your upper legs so that your are not adding any additional stress/stretch to the symphysis pubis (center joint where the two bones come together). If you are experiencing pubic bone pain, it is better to place a blanket or bolster under your knees and keep your legs parallel.
Blanket set up.
Begin by standing up and unfolding the blanket completely. First, fold the blanket fringe to fringe lengthwise. Then fold the blanket fringe to fringe again and lay the blanket down with fringe at the top of the mat. Stand on the mat at the folded edge at the bottom of the photo.
Pick up the folded edge closest to you and bring it toward the top of the yoga mat and extend the edge you are holding past the fringe edge by about 1/3 of the length. You can see the fringe sticking out on the sides of the blanket in the photo as a guideline.
Then, fold that same edge back toward toward you and set it near, but not at the folded edge. The stagger will raise your head a little higher than the support under your shoulders.
If you tuck the side edges on the top layer near the fringe edge a little under, you can create a nice nest for your head. Try it out and see how you like it.
Make the knee support in the same way you started the head support. Set up like in the first photo, but then fold the edge closest to you to the fringe edge. Then, begin to roll the edge closet to you toward the fringe edge and place the roll on the yoga mat to go under your knees. You may prefer a bolster under you knees may be comfortable. Make sure that your heels are not floating, which mine were with the bolster, so I added a blanket under my ankles to support my feet. My bolster is too thick, so I prefer the rolled blanket.
Position yourself so that the curve of your upper shoulders rests on the folded edge of the head support blanket and adjust sides of the blanket to next around the sides of your head. The rolled blanket or bolster will be under your knees. Make sure you have enough of you covered with a blanket to stay warm and use an eye pillow, if you like.
All of the same basic principles still apply when you are in a replying position, make sure that you have some padding underneath you, that you have some support under your knees, that you are supported through your back and under your head. Rest in silence, listen to a sound bath or a guided practice like the one included here or another of your preference.
For a slight incline, place one block on it medium height near the top of the mat and a second block next to it toward the middle of the mat.
Place the bolster so that one end is resting on the block at the top of the mat.
You will probably want a little extra support under the back of your head. The blanket in the photo was set up with staggered fold to give increasing support to the shoulders, neck and head.
Sit with your sacrum up next to the base of the bolster and make sure you have your knee support in position before you recline. If you are using a blanket for warmth and an eye pillow, make sure they are within reach. Lower yourself down slowly.
The incline position can alter how your hands now rest on the mat compared with the traditional set up. You may like a little padding under your lower ams and hands. It may be a challenge to keep the eye pillow from sliding off when you are more upright. A pillowcase across your eyes, and even a little tucked around the sides of your head, is a nice option.
Nearer to the end of your pregnancy, you will want to increase your incline. The set up is basically the same. Rotate the blocks to their highest level and add another block or a blanket to prevent the bolster from collapsing in the middle.
The bolster on top.
The full set up for the supported reclining savasana.
With a more upright position, extra support under the arms and hands helps to encourage deeper relaxation. The pillowcase, instead of an eye pillow, may stay in place better. Ease into the position as you lie back with your sacrum at the base of the bolster.
Slowly roll to your side when you are done. Rest for a moment before easing into a seated position. Take another moment while seated to connect with the effects of the practice. Then, transition to bed or return to your day. Repeat as often as possible.
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