For thousands of years, people have been claiming that yoga helps strengthen the spine, treat anxiety, and improve overall health. With the popularity of yoga, recent studies have found evidence that supports these claims. Seeing all the benefits yoga can have, smart Yogis have adapted traditional yoga into new forms to target specific needs and communities. One of the more ingenious inventions is prenatal yoga, which has empowered thousands of pregnant women.
Between a sore back, achy feet, insomnia, and irritability, you’re probably eager for something healthy and natural to help you beat these symptoms. Whether you are new to yoga or a seasoned vet, prenatal yoga will probably seem like a Godsend, but before you give it a shot, there are a few things you should keep in mind while you do yoga during pregnancy.
Avoid these styles of Yoga during pregnancy
Although there have not been any studies conducted on the safety of hot yoga for pregnant women, most doctors agree that it should be avoided. Studies done on pregnant women using hot tubs have found that extreme heat can cause birth defects in the fetus. If hot yoga is your go-to, you’re going to have to skip out for the time being.
Poses on Your Back
After the first trimester, lying on your back can reduce blood flow to the fetus. So, you should avoid poses that require you to recline on your back. In Savasana, you can lie on your side instead. Feel free to use a cushion or pillow between your legs or under your head to get more comfortable. You’re also going to want to avoid extreme backbends during this time.
During pregnancy, your body releases the hormone relaxin which softens joints and connective tissue to prepare your body for the strains of delivery. The fact that your body begins to develop for delivery during your pregnancy should make you marvel at the brilliance of nature, but it also means you need to pay special care when exercising.
With relaxin coursing through your bloodstream, you’re at enhanced risk of injuring yourself through overstretching.
During your pregnancy journey, you’ll likely notice that your centre of gravity is changing. This is caused in part by the stretching and weakening of your abdominal muscles. Once you enter your second trimester, you might find that you just can’t balance the way that you used to.
To avoid falling and injuring your baby, you should skip balancing poses, like Tree Pose. If you want to go for those poses, then practice them with one hand against the wall or on a stable surface.
Do these while you do Yoga during pregnancy
Luckily for pregnant women, prenatal yoga classes are now pretty famous. If you can’t find classes at a studio near you, there are plenty of videos to watch online. When you take a prenatal yoga class, you can be sure that unsafe poses, like Camel Pose, won’t be included.
Your instructor will probably highlight poses that specifically help pregnant women like Butterfly and Cat-Cow. If you opt to attend a class in person, prenatal yoga classes are also a great way to meet other pregnant women and develop a sense of community.
Communicate with Your Instructor
This may come as a surprise, but your prenatal yoga instructor is probably not a mindreader, so you’ll need to communicate to ensure that you’re staying safe in class. That being said, your instructor in no doubt expertly trained with many years of experience.
Your yoga instructor can be a great resource for understanding your pregnancy journey and changing body. Got aches and pains? Your instructor can recommend stretches and modifications to get rid of that achy lower back or sore feet.
Listen to Your Body
The most important part of any yoga practice is doing what’s right for your body. You should always listen to your body and do what feels right, no matter what it looks like, but with that pregnancy hormone relaxin changing your body, this is extra important.
Be mindful of cues from your body when stretching and empower yourself to take frequent breaks. Stretching should never cause shooting pain. Remember, when things get tough, there’s always Child’s Pose.
Between pillows, blankets, cushions, blocks, and straps, there’s a seemingly endless array of props you can use to ramp up your practice. Certain poses you just won’t be able to do while you’re pregnant, while others are flat out unsafe. To adjust your yoga practice to accommodate your pregnancy, you should integrate props into your practice.
Blocks and straps can help you stretch without having to reach as far, while cushions can help you get more comfortable and accommodate your sore back.
Bring Your Partner
Not all prenatal yoga classes are open to those who are not expecting, but some invite women to bring their partners. It’s likely that your partner has never been pregnant before, so it might be hard for them to understand what you’re going through. Participating in a prenatal yoga class can help them to get in touch with your experience.
While you spend all day with your growing infant, your partner probably doesn’t get as many opportunities to connect with your young one. Attending a prenatal yoga class together is a great way for both of you to connect with your new family.
Prenatal yoga instructors are also treasure houses of useful information related to your pregnancy that they pepper into each class, so your partner will at least walk away having learned something.
Give it a Shot
The aches and pains of pregnancy often become a distraction from the beauty of the experience. Prenatal yoga can not only help to reduce some of the most frustrating symptoms of pregnancy. But by doing so, it frees you connect more with the experience of being pregnant.
Before you make any significant changes during pregnancy, like introducing a new exercise regimen, be sure to consult with your doctor or midwife.