Prenatal Yoga | The Asymmetrical / Side Lunge

prenatal yoga poses

The asymmetrical or side lunge is a yoga posture, birth technique and instinctive space-making movement performed in labour to create more space on one side of the pelvis.

The lunge leg is in flexion and the hip in external or internal rotation while the supporting leg is in extension. The external or internal rotation and flexion changes the shape of the pelvis and surrounding muscles internally. During labour, creating asymmetry in the pelvis helps to modify space / opening in the middle pelvis and around the baby as needed.

The standing version is great using a chair support (also great in the shower), 5 contractions on 1 side and then 5 on the other.

The ground version of the lunge often occurs instinctively in the active or descent phase, when the mother tends to gravitate towards all fours for comfort and support. This is also a great birth position to asymmetrically open the outlet pelvis if the baby requires more space on one side to exit the birth canal.

Aside from this being a normal instinctive position for normal labour, some baby’s heads can require more space and therefore guiding mum into this position is ideal. A baby can be asymmetric, or asynclitic as they descend through the birth canal. They can also have one hand up by their head. Both of these situations will require more space on that particular side.

During pregnancy, the side lunge, especially accompanied by hip rotations rocking and spirals, can bring great relief to aching tight hips. It also stretches the deeper layers of the pelvic floor.

Yoga to practice:

  •  Start on all fours and place one foot flat on the floor at a diagonal to the pelvis. This opens one side of the pelvis.
  • Explore rocking, circling or spiralling the hips.
  • Alternate with a period of attentive stillness and breathing.
  • If space feels compromised, elevate the hands onto blocks, the seat of a chair, a birthing ball or, during labour, a strong partner.

To find out more about how Optimal Maternal Positioning (OMP) can be incorporated in yoga practices, sign up for my weekly live online prenatal yoga and birth preparation classes.


Danae is a Sydney birth doula and pregnancy support specialist. She works with families to provide guidance, information, emotional and physical support during pregnancy and birth.

Danae is Sydney’s first (and only) Optimal Maternal Positioning (OMP) Birth Educator & pregnancy (prenatal) yoga teacher.

If you have any questions about birth and pregancy support and her doula services, don’t hesitate to contact Danae directly.