This mindful new workout is designed to give you strength, flexibility and (yes!) a less painful and more peaceful pregnancy.

Oh, to be a card-carrying member of the "I love being pregnant!" club: free from aches and pains and perpetually glowing. Alas, for many women, the reality tends to be more like a hormonally charged ride to crazy town, complete with morning sickness, memory loss and mounting discomfort. But what if we gave you the tools to turn that ride around?

This mindful new workout is designed to give you strength, flexibility and (yes!) a less painful and more peaceful pregnancy

"Based on four mindful movement principles-breath, support, yield and flow-ZEN•GA is a unique blend of dance, meditation, Pilates and yoga that increases strength and      which will translate to less stress on the joints," says P.J. O'Clair, a Merrithew Health & Fitness Master Instructor Trainer in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass., who created this workout exclusively for Fit Pregnancy. That all equals improved balance and stability-especially important when you've got a growing belly throwing you off-kilter-as well as fewer muscle aches and pains. "The breath work in ZEN•GA will help with lower back discomfort and shoulder and neck tension, and this will help you feel more centered and in control," O'Clair adds.

Indeed, a study published in the journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing found that women who practiced mindfulness-based prenatal yoga in particular reported reductions in pain, stress and anxiety. Translation? Practice these moves two to three times a week and you might just join the pregnancy-lovers' club after all.

For this workout, you'll need a mat and a soft exercise ball (approximately 35 centimeters). Warm up with Chi Lunges: Stand with your legs together, arms at your sides. Take a wide step to your right, bending your right knee and sweeping your right arm to the side. Return to starting position and repeat with your left foot, bending your left knee. Do 32 lunges, total.

1.    Open heart warrior

Stand with your hips and shoulders facing forward. Step forward with your left leg, keeping your right leg back and straight, heel down and toes turned out. Reach your arms straight up and lengthen your spine [A]. Inhale as you bend your left knee, opening your arms to your sides. Lift your chest up, extending the upper spine [B]. Exhale and raise your arms to return to starting position. Repeat 3 to 5 times, then switch sides.

Open heart warrior

Benefits: Strengthens legs; improves balance and stability

2.    Chair pose with rotation

Begin by standing tall with your arms by your sides, feet wider than hip- width apart for balance. Inhale as you bend your knees and squat down as you would to sit in a chair, reaching your arms up [A]. Exhale and stand up tall as you straighten your legs, lifting your left knee up to hip height. Rotate your torso to the left, opening your arms out to the sides at shoulder height, palms up [B]. Return to starting position, then switch legs and repeat for 3 to 6 times total.

Chair pose with rotation

Benefits: Strengthens legs, core and back; improves overall balance and coordination

3.    Supported plank

Come to an all-fours position and place your forearms on the floor, palms down. Position a ball under your pelvis, just below your belly. As you straighten your legs and curl your toes under, the ball should come to rest below your belly or on your upper thighs. (Carry your weight with your arms and legs; the ball will help support your core muscles.) Inhale and place your knees on the floor, then exhale as you straighten your legs and lengthen your spine, keeping your butt and abs tight. Lower your knees and repeat 3 to 5 times.

Supported plank

Benefits: Strengthens the upper body, core and legs and improves posture and alignment

4.    Sweeping mermaid

Sit on your right hip, legs bent and to the left. Raise your arms to shoulder level, elbows bent, palms facing in and fingers together. Inhale and turn your torso to the left as you lengthen your spine for one full breath [A]. Exhale as you return to the starting position and place your right hand on the ground as you circle your left arm up and over- head to stretch your torso [B]. Repeat 3 to S times, then switch sides.

Sweeping mermaid

Benefits: Stretches the torso and strengthens the core, relieving aches

5.    Side breathing

Sit on your right hip with legs bent and to the left. Rest your right side on the ball for sup- port. Placing your right forearm on the ground, reach your left arm up and overhead with your chest lifted and back straight. Inhale as you lengthen through your spine, exhale as you allow your weight to sink into the ball, actively reaching through your left arm [shown]. Repeat 3 to 4 times, then switch sides.

Side breathing

Benefits: Stretches the torso and improves posture

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