Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful experiences in a woman’s life, but it can also be the most stressful. Creating a relaxed environment for you and your baby should be one of your highest priorities.
Staying fit and exercising while pregnant can seem like a distant dream, but it doesn’t have to be. Prenatal yoga is a real option and yields numerous benefits for expectant mothers. Here are four from the Mayo Clinic:
- Improved sleep
- Reduced stress
- Increased strength
- Decreased back pain
While prenatal yoga is beneficial, activity during pregnancy should be considered on a case-by-case basis. Talk to your doctor before embarking on any new exercise regimes, especially while pregnant. That being said, some yoga teachers advise against practicing yoga during the first trimester as the fetus is not yet fully implanted in the uterus. However, others recommend that a gentle routine is fine. Whatever the case may be, prenatal yoga should not be strenuous or cause you unnecessary pain.
There are certain poses that pregnant women should avoid during prenatal yoga. Avoid poses that have you on your back or stomach, doing deep forward or backward bends, or that put pressure on your abdomen. Maintaining a normal spinal curvature while doing poses can be achieved by bending from your hips and not your back. Unless you are extremely experienced, you should avoid inverted poses where your feet are above your head. Also, make use of props as your pregnancy progresses.
Some poses that may be safe for you to try during pregnancy are:
- Bharadvaja’s Twist
- Warrior II Pose
- Lotus Pose
- Extended Triangle Pose
Not all poses are created equal when it comes to prenatal yoga. Knowing your limits, listening to your body, baby and doctor are extremely important. But listening is not always easy. Here are some tips to make sure your prenatal yoga experience occurs in a safe space and is uplifting:
- Take it slow
Pace yourself during prenatal yoga. If you are having trouble speaking at a normal rate and volume, then you probably need to slow down. Setting a realistic goal beforehand of how much exercise you want to accomplish is a good idea.
- Stay cool
Both in attitude and temperature, this tips rings true. Stay calm during your class, practicing your breathing. Avoid overheating by practicing yoga in a well-ventilated room; remember to drink plenty of fluids. Avoid hot yoga (Bikram) classes.
- Choose wisely
Carefully choosing your class and yoga instructor will ensure that you have an enjoyable time. Be upfront with your instructor about what you are and are not comfortable with.
Having the right class with the perfect instructor will only make your prenatal yoga experience better. A good class will create opportunities for much-needed support and even spark friendships from those practicing prenatal yoga just like you. Evolation yoga is one option that provides a beginner friendly, safe-space that is all about you.