If you are an expecting mother, congratulations! Whether you are an experienced yogi or are looking to try yoga for the first time, yoga for pregnancy can be highly beneficial for your health and well-being. When practicing prenatal yoga, it is important to be safe and implement the right modifications for your changing body to keep you and your child happy and healthy. If you are interested in doing yoga while pregnant, here are a few tips to help you hone your practice.
What is Prenatal Yoga?
Like any yoga class, prenatal yoga explores breathing, poses, meditation, and other aspects of movement. Prenatal yoga, however, is specifically for women who are pregnant with attention to what their bodies need during pregnancy. Prenatal yoga teachers pay special attention to modifications pregnant women need and have knowledge of how to best meet the physical and mental needs of women who are expecting.
What to Expect:
If you are interested in yoga for pregnancy but are unsure if it is right for you, knowing what to expect may help. While prenatal classes vary from teacher to teacher, some common themes in prenatal yoga include:
- Breathing Exercises: From pranayama breathing to deep breathing and meditation techniques, prenatal yoga can help you harness your breath throughout your pregnancy. These types of exercises can even help you manage your respiration during contractions and while in labor.
- Poses and Modified Postures: Prenatal yoga classes explore a wide variety of yoga postures. Registered Prenatal Yoga Teachers have studied of how your body changes during pregnancy, which enables them to guide you through pose modifications specific to your trimester. These postures can help build strength and flexibility while also maintaining your range of motion while pregnant.
- Relaxation and Meditation: With a baby on the way, your life is most likely going to get more hectic. Prenatal yoga classes can help you clear your mind, relax, and gain some mental peace during pregnancy.
Prenatal yoga can be great for your physical and mental health during your pregnancy. A few benefits of practicing yoga while pregnant, according to the Mayo Clinic, are:
- Consistent sleeping patterns
- Lowered levels of stress and anxiety
- Reduced body pain including back pain, carpal tunnel, and nausea
- Help preparing your body for childbirth through increased flexibility, control of breathing, strength, and endurance.
While you are pregnant, it is crucial to listen to your body and take proper precautions when engaging in physical activity. Some practices for and precautions to take when you are doing prenatal yoga include:
- Telling your yoga instructor that you are pregnant if you are taking a general yoga class and not a specific, prenatal yoga class
- Pacing yourself. Your body is going through a lot of changes, so start slow and see how you feel before taking on too-intense of a yoga class while pregnant.
- The Mayo Clinic recommends avoiding hot yoga classes, and all classes taught in temperatures between 100 to 110 F (38 to 43 C) while pregnant. They also recommend avoiding poses that include lying on your stomach or back, and poses that are highly strenuous on your back and core.
- Staying cool and hydrated!