Ugh. Morning sickness. The hurdle most women have to get past on their way to motherhood. And the wording makes for such a lie. More often than not, morning sickness extends far beyond the morning hours. This condition, medically termed “nausea and vomiting of pregnancy”, can render you useless, bedridden and barely functional.
Next time it strikes, give the poses below a try. Do not give up if the first one you try doesn’t seem to work for you, move on to the next and see how that makes you feel. I have found that different poses are more effective at different times.
There are a few other health conditions that can leave one nauseated – stomach infection, fever, headaches, motion sickness, depression. I recommend these yoga poses for morning sickness whenever you experience that feeling of queasiness and the urge to vomit, no matter the underlying condition.
Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Easy Cross-Legged Pose)
My favorite pose by far for fighting nausea and the one that has proved to be most effective for me. What it does is energize the digestive system by gently massaging the abdominal organs.
You will need a chair, a blanket and a bolster (or a pillow, or two). You will be sitting on the blanket, place the bolster or pillow(s) on the chair, and make sure the chair is in front of you at your arm’s reach.
Sit at the edge of the folded blanket, and gently cross your legs. You can cross your shins midway, or bring the shin of your outer leg parallel to the front of your mat (imaginary if you do not use one), and the shin of the inside leg right against the calf of the front leg.
Sitting up straight, start reaching your chest forward towards the chair, hinging at the hips. Pull the chair close enough to you so you can comfortably rest your forehead on the bolster or pillow. Relax your arms over your head, perhaps grabbing hold of opposite elbows. Stay here for a few minutes (3 to 5 minutes). Make sure your breath is smooth, slow and deep. While I want you to deepen your breath, I want you to do that without forcing yourself in any way.
If you’d like to, feel free to change the crossing of your legs, and come back to the same position, this time using active arms. Stretch your arms reaching your hands forward towards the back of the chair, and hold onto the sides of the back rest or the sides of the chair seat. Find your calm, even breath again, and sit here for a few more minutes.
Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall Pose)
A very calming pose which alleviates nausea by relaxing the stomach muscles and the diaphragm, and improving the function of the gastric system.
Find a suitable wall in your house and place your mat or a blanket perpendicular to the wall. Start by sitting next to the wall, outer right hip and leg alongside the wall. Lean on your left side and as you roll on your back bring the legs up the wall. If you are too tight in the hamstrings, you can either use the bolster and place it under your lower back close to the wall, or you can gently push yourself away from the wall until it starts feeling comfortable.
Find a balanced breath and stay with it in this pose for at least 5-10 minutes.
Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)
Similar to Viparita Karani, this pose will relieve the pressure of the diaphragm on the stomach therefore calming any digestive discomfort. This is a pose not recommended for those with known knee issues or tight quadriceps muscles (the front of your thighs). If at any time you feel discomfort in your low back, please come out of the pose and repeat any of the first two.
Kneel, knees together, feet apart. Use your hands to push the fleshy part of your calves away before sitting between your feet. If this feels uncomfortable, please get out of the pose and go back to one of the previous poses. Your feet should be alongside your outer hips, toes pointing back. Slowly start walking your hands back, then lowering to your forearms and elbows, then all the way onto your back. If you are not comfortable here, if you are overarching your lower back and your bottom ribs are sticking out, please use some support – a bolster, blanket or pillows to rest on. You can let your arms fall alongside your body, or take the arms over the head holding onto opposite elbows.
Stay here for at least 1 minute, if it feels good in your body stay for up to 5 minutes. If your breath is shallow and broken and you feel tension building up in certain areas of your body, these are signs that this pose does not work for you. Try one of the other two.
This too shall pass. I hope these poses will relieve the symptoms enough to allow you the space to remember how blessed you otherwise are. If you have tried them and they worked for you, please let me know in the comments. And please share any other tried-and-true tips for dealing with morning sickness.
Be challenged. Be healed. Namaste.