Busting out! –coping with prenatal and postnatal breast size.

One of the yoga sites I like , Kinetic Vigilantes posted an insightful and amusing article about practicing yoga with the more then average sized bust.  The article is called Yoga or Bust! 3 Tricks to to help you stop fighting your boobs during yoga.   As a well endowed woman,  I totally identify with the feelings of suffocation brought on during plow pose.  I know I have to adjust my body through practice to accomodate my chest and I pick out tops that  keep the “girls” under control.  This article also got me thinking about how breast size becomes a real concern during pregnancy and even more so, after, when they are filled with milk to feed our babies.   During and after pregnancy the boobies can expand to unwieldy proportions or give a normally moderate sized bust line a big boost.  You may go from an A to a D cup, for instance–or a C to a DD(!!!!)  No matter–The weight and girth of these girls will put stress on the upper back, shoulders and chest.  In order to adjust to our new proportions, it is important to find some postures to alleviate the pressure, keep the area strong, and keep the heart space open. 

Here are some exercises that can help alleviate some of the strain.  They can be practiced during pregnancy and then continued after.  After you have your baby, you will find there is more of a strain in the shoulders and upper back, due to nursing and holding baby.  The heart opening postures are even more important at this time to counter-balance the rounding of the shoulders. 

Shoulder Circles:

Standing or in a comfortable seated space.  Grow long and tall in the spine.  Slowly lift the shoulders and roll them back, articulating each movement as you go.  Breathe in and out through the nose, deep and full as you move.   

Rotate the shoulders up, back and around.Shoulder and Heart Opener: From standing, grow long through the back. Roll the shoulders open and interlace the fingers at the tailbone. Inhale as you lengthen through the arms and open the heart to the sky. Keep the tailbone in just enough so that you don't over-arch the low back. Breathe in deep and full.Find your clasp, lengthen and open the heart to the sky. Mindful of the low back!

Alternate side shoulder openers with clasp:  Seated or standing.  Right arm reaches to the sky.  Left arm lengthens and is brought up the back, back of hand between the shoulder blades.  Right arm bend and finds a clasp with left.   This can be done with a towel or strap if the you cannot reach.   Elbows travel back, as if towards each other.  Spine remains tall and long.  Neck is lengthened.  Breathe in deep and full, inhaling length and exahling softness.  Release and repeat on the opposite side. 

Keep the spine growing tall.
Shoulder release:  Right arm extends across the chest, lengthened.  Hook the left arm under the right.  Be mindful that you are keeping the shoulder in its socket.  Gaze comes over left shoulder. Spine is tall and long.  Breathe in deep and full.   Release and repeat on the opposite side. 

Keep shoulder in socket.

 Shoulder Blade Pull:  From seated or standing.  Extend arms out to the sides like a “T”.  Bend the elbows so that the tips of the fingertips are just touching, right in front of the sternum.  As you inhale, begin to draw the shoulder blades together.  The fingers will travel away from each other.  Keep the arms at the same heart.  You may choose to take a breath or two in this space or you may begin to travel the fingertips towards each other on the exhale.  Move mindfully.
Remember to practice these exercisese, slowly, mindfully and with your breath.  They are easy and portable and can be done just about anywhere.  Namaste!

© mahamamas.com and Janet MacFarlane, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janet MacFarlane and Mahamamas.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Janet MacFarlane is a Yoga Alliance registered teacher at 500 hours, with a specialty in  prenatal yoga.  Jane is also a Certified Prenatal Fitness Educator with ICEA.


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