Practicing yoga during pregnancy can be a beautiful experience. Because your body is going through a variety of changes, you often are experiencing added mental and physical stress.
The breathing techniques and poses incorporated in yoga can be a great help at not only managing stress but also nurturing your body. Prenatal yoga is specifically designed to meet your physical and emotional needs at every stage during your pregnancy.
During this time in your life, it’s important to prioritize your health and yoga can be a great way to do so.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about doing yoga during pregnancy.
The Golden Rule Of Yoga During Pregnancy
The most important rule of doing yoga during pregnancy is to make sure you are not straining, overstretching, or compressing your abdomen during the practice. You have to be aware of your body and the movements you are doing.
If you begin to enter a posture and feel any discomfort, you should stop immediately and ask your instructor for potential pose modifications. You want to avoid any closed twists and any postures that have you lying on your stomach.
You’ll also want to avoid postures such as Navasana or any deep backbends. And you will also want to avoid any inversions unless you are an experienced yogi.
While you are pregnant you’re more likely to strain or pull connective tissue due to a specific hormone, called relaxin, that your body is releasing.
Practicing During Your First Trimester
At each stage of pregnancy, your body has different needs. By learning about each trimester you are able to modify your yoga practice to fit these specific needs.
Your first trimester is known as being the most delicate of phases in pregnancy because the fetus is working on attaching to the uterus wall. This time is also crucial to the formation of the placenta.
Because the first trimester is so delicate, you may wish to speak with your doctor about the risk of physical activity. If you do decide to practice during this time in your pregnancy, a gentle and nurturing practice will be best.
Lying On Your Back
Supine postures or postures involving laying down on your back can sometimes need to be avoided during pregnancy. Some women experience a sensation of dizziness or nauseousness while laying on their back that is caused by the compression of a large vein.
This vein, called the vena cava, carries deoxygenated blood from your lower back to your heart. Instead lay on your left side, or prop yourself up on a slight incline.
To make this posture extra restorative, place a pillow in between your legs and also one under your head.
Take Wider Stances
While practicing yoga during pregnancy, it’s important to make space for the baby in your postures. This will help to prevent uncomfortable compression that often accompanies deep forward bends.
When practicing forward folds, and postures like down dog, consider taking a wider stance with your legs. Also trying things like placing blocks under your hands may also help stretch your back and alleviate pressure on your belly.
Make Use Of Props
To go along with the last mentioned tip, don’t be afraid to make use of yoga props to make your practice easier. You may notice throughout your pregnancy that your balance gets a bit thrown off by your growing belly.
This is normal, so don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t hold that tree pose as steady as you could before. Instead, consider practicing near a wall for added support if needed.
Add in yoga blankets for extra support and blocks to give you some relief and prevent you from being wobbly.
If you are practicing yoga at a traditional studio, you may hear the instructor encouraging students not to drink water during the class. In many practices of yoga, drinking water is seen as a distraction and way to put out the inner fire created by the practice.
However, if you are practicing while pregnant it’s important that you stay hydrated. Listen to your body and make sure to drink water when you feel like you need it.
Connect With Your Breath
One of the most important aspects of yoga, no matter what stage in life you are practicing, is the breathwork. Breathwork becomes even more important when you are practicing while pregnant because it can be a helpful tool during labor.
Practice deep smooth breaths that are easy to maintain. During your exhales, focus on relaxing the body and mind.
By mastering this practice before your big day, you’ll make a strong mind-body connection that will help ease tension and stress while you’re giving birth.
Choose The Right Spot To Practice
When picking the perfect spot to set your mat, while at home or in a studio, keep in mind the airflow. During pregnancy, your body doesn’t regulate its temperature in the same way.
So you may notice you are quicker to overheat. You can help this by practicing near a door or window that is getting plenty of airflow so you receive a bit of a breeze.
Speak with your instructor about your pregnancy and see which spot in the class they recommend.
Listen To Your Body
Most importantly, when practicing yoga during pregnancy you have to listen to your body. This will ensure that you prevent injuries and get the most out of your practice.
This is not the time to better yourself as a yogi and is instead the time to nurture your body. So ask your instructor about modifications when you feel like you need them.
Ultimately, this practice should be something that calms your mind and relieves tension in your body since it is working so hard.
For all things yoga, check out our website!