Incorporating regular Prenatal (or Pregnancy Yoga) sessions into your week will tremendously contribute to a healthy and happy pregnancy and also help combat the physical discomfort and emotional adjustment that you can experience during pregnancy.
More and more expectant mothers are turning to alternative methods to help them during pregnancy, through the birthing process and post-partum.
The benefits of doing yoga during pregnancy are immense and important to mommies-to-be. Prenatal Yoga can drastically help ease your pregnancy.
Ease your pregnancy with these 7 Relaxing Prenatal Yoga Poses
Here Are 6 Important Benefits of Doing Yoga During Pregnancy:
1. Tone the Right Muscles
Various yoga poses such as lunges, stretches or easy backbends (amongst others) help tone and strengthen muscles to support you throughout your pregnancy and make those nine months healthier and happier.
2. Reduce Stress and Anxiety
A regular yoga practice can greatly reduce stress and anxiety by focusing on the movement, the present moment, and the breath. Conscious breathing can be one of our most powerful allies to help us stay calm and focused, especially during labor.
Conscious breathwork (or Pranayama) increases the depth and awareness of our breath, which in turn encourages a deep state of relaxation and helps us calm the mind.
It’s important to know that depending on your trimester, not all forms of Pranayama are safe to practice. Be sure to discuss this with your healthcare provider and yoga instructor.
3. Bond With Your Baby
Mindfulness and meditation are both aspects of yoga. Both deeply relaxing practices bring us into the present moment and create the full connection with the physical body while also calming the mind.
Deep relaxation is a wonderful way to bond with baby and find a little bubble of peace together.
4. Tones the Pelvic Floor
Many yoga poses help tone and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles help support the vital reproductive and digestive organs, as well as the baby during pregnancy.
A strong pelvic floor can contribute to a speedier recovery post-labor.
5. Improve Posture
As the baby grows over the course of 9 months, the body’s center of gravity changes which can lead to poor posture. The increased weight in the belly causes the abdominal muscles to become weaker, causing strain on the lower back.
Yoga is a great way to help alleviate this pressure on the low back. Any yoga poses that target the upper leg muscles and lower back can also help release tension.
6. Prepare For Labor and Delivery
As mammals, our bodies are capable of following its instincts to give birth. However, fear, tension and stress cause our body to tighten up, which can make the process of childbirth painful and strenuous.
Prenatal Yoga classes train expecting mothers to keep their body calm through various yogic methods that help the body relax and deliver more easily.
Tips For Doing Yoga During Pregnancy
Whether you are a seasoned yogi or you’re new to yoga, here are some tips for you during all stages of pregnancy, starting with a few pieces of general advice.
If you can, start with one-on-one classes so your teacher can guide you privately, watch your postural alignment and help you with proper modifications based on your specific needs.
Please, don’t push yourself, especially if you are a “fighter” and always “in a rush” mode. You’ll be back to your intensity sooner that you think!
Remember that you are already a superhuman – two hearts are beating in one body! So calm down and try to enjoy the process of learning more about yourself, your body, your energy, your mind and your baby in a different way than you did before.
Remember the Ahimsa (non-violence) principle, especially towards yourself during this time.
Pregnancy is a great journey by itself. Yoga is another great journey. And you are lucky enough to combine the two. Congratulations!
Now you are ready for specific tips to guide you during pregnancy yoga.
1. Avoid Vigorous Breathing Exercises
Try to avoid all kinds of breathing with your belly muscles involved like Kapalabhati and intensive dynamic Pranayamas like Bhastrika. Your abdominal muscles need to stay relaxed during this time.
2. Less Is More
Don’t do any power versions of front or middle squats (Warrior 1 or 2, Goddess Pose, Malasana), as these poses strengthen your thighs, buttocks and abs that you should not overwork during your pregnancy.
3. Be Careful With Twists
You should be very cautious with spinal twists. Often times, yoga teachers will recommend skipping them altogether during pregnancy. While you’re carrying baby, you don’t want to compress or twist that area of your body.
4. Seek Out Guidance
Let your teacher (or a chair or wall) assist you with any challenging poses so you will be more confident, comfortable, and safe. Ask your teacher for modifications. As Patanjali said, “Asana should be steady and comfortable.” And you should be the same.
Interested in learning a few common yoga pose modifications for pregnancy? Check out these 6 Pose Modifications For Prenatal Yoga
5. Avoid Inversions and Poses On Your Stomach
Whether it’s headstand or handstand, avoid these inversions as they create a safety risk that’s simply not worth it. It’s also important to avoid any poses on your stomach.
6. Don’t Overstretch
In the last trimester particularly, your body will become more flexible, which is why it’s important to watch your hamstrings and joints during stretching because you can easily overstretch them.
Pregnancy and Yoga: The Takeaway
Always stay connected with your baby because you two are already connected, literally! You eat, you sleep, you listen to music and now you do yoga. Your baby does all of it as well!
So, trust yourself, laugh out loud, eat more fruit, keep practicing yoga and you’ll have a little yogi in 9 months.
Lot of things to remember? Do your research, ask questions, talk to your doctor and keep in mind that you can always ask your yoga teacher for more tips on doing yoga during pregnancy.
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