For those of you who are strong advocates of yoga, you know the complicated asanas that come with practicing yoga. From headstands and handstands to bow and camel poses, yoga has various levels of exercises– simple, moderate, and complex asanas that give you several benefits. Unfortunately, because of the difficulty of some poses, several women might not even consider practicing yoga during pregnancy. We are here to tell you that it’s time to reconsider that thought. Apart from getting your body moving and clocking in some exercise time during pregnancy, prenatal yoga is also an excellent way for you to stay fit, prepare for labor and even promote your baby’s health (1).
If you’re not sure about how to start, there are a few things you would like to consider. Before you begin your journey with practicing prenatal yoga, make sure that you’ve discussed it with your doctor and get a green light from them. Once you’ve cleared it with a medical professional, there are a few tips to keep in mind. Scroll below to know more:
Benefits Of Yoga
During pregnancy, you might think you need all the rest you can get, and you’re not totally wrong in thinking that. Your body goes through several uncomfortable changes, including morning sickness, backache, swelling of feet and hands, headache, and mood swings. And because of these symptoms, you might want to rest all day. But incorporating an exercise routine into your day is also crucial for the overall health of your mind and body. What better way to do that than practicing yoga?
Before we get into what you should and shouldn’t do, let’s look at some of the benefits of practicing yoga during pregnancy. Research suggests that prenatal yoga is safe and, like Lamaze classes, focuses on stretching, centering the mind, and concentrating on the breath (2).
Some of the commonly known benefits of yoga are :
- Prenatal yoga improves sleep quality and reduces stress and anxiety. Another possible benefit is increased strength, endurance, and flexibility of muscles needed to birth a baby
- Greatly effective for various immunological and neuromuscular conditions like back pains and other muscle pulls, commonly seen during pregnancy
- Yoga is known to provide help in reducing stress levels and calming down nervous system functionings
- People suffering from painful conditions find it difficult to indulge in any form of exercise. However, yoga is a great form of exercise which people can practice even with underlying pain conditions
- Different asanas of yoga can let people with any stage of physical conditions be able to practice it. It lets you choose your level of strength or flexibility and still be able to put in some good morning or evening session
- Many yoga poses directly help in strengthening the back, abdominal and core muscles, which are engaged during labor and childbirth. Practicing yoga from before the onset of pregnancy or in the early stages of pregnancy will greatly benefit during childbirth as well as in the postpartum period
- Yoga is easy to practice anywhere and everywhere. All you have to get is a yoga mat and get started with those exercises. Be it inside your house or at the neighboring park, don’t forget to get your daily dose of yoga
- Yoga is accompanied by regulated breathing practices which helps in optimizing the blood circulation in the body. This is especially good for pregnant women for whom oxygen supply in their body is very important (2)
Safety Guidelines For Prenatal Yoga
While yoga is an excellent way to stay fit during pregnancy, there are certain safety protocols to follow. Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that you and your baby are safe:
1. Discuss With Your Healthcare Provider
We can’t stress enough that you must not begin any exercise regime without discussing it with your healthcare provider. The same goes for prenatal yoga. If you have issues with your back or certain medical conditions like heart disease, you might not be able to do yoga.
2. Avoid Certain Postures
Certain asanas should be completely avoided during your pregnancy. For example, poses that require you to do deep forward bends, put pressure on your spine, and need you to twist and turn should be avoided. You might have been the yoga guru pre-pregnancy, but things are different now, and you cannot continue your practice like you used to.
As your pregnancy progresses, make sure to use support to practice poses. You can use pillows, cushions, or simply ask your partner to help you (Virushka, you are our inspiration!).
3. Pace Yourself
Remember that it’s not a race or a competition. Ideally, about 20-30 minutes of practice is perfect for you during pregnancy. However, if you find yourself getting too exhausted, take a break. Listen to your body, and don’t push yourself too hard.
4. Practice Under Proper Guidance
Yoga is something people can learn themselves, be it through youtube, books and many other sources. However , pregnancy is a time when it would be advisable to seek help from a professional. After all, you don’t want to risk your or your baby’s health in any way. Besides, there are many levels of yoga and some of these are certainly not recommended for expecting mothers. So, if you’re new to yoga, find a good trainer, especially one who is familiar with the type of yoga that suits pregnant women.
5. Stay Hydrated
Ensure you’re practicing yoga in a cool and well-ventilated space. You want to avoid overheating and feeling too uncomfortable. Keep yourself hydrated throughout the session and stop when you’re feeling too tired. If you forget to take water every now and then, utilize a bottle with a marker which lets you track how much water you have consumed during the day.
Remember that the best way to practice prenatal yoga is by joining a class. A trained instructor can help you get through your pregnancy by guiding you and helping you stay fit, both in mind and body. Do not practice prenatal yoga on your own because it could be extremely risky. Would you consider prenatal yoga as your way of staying fit during pregnancy? Let us know in the comments below!
- Yoga in Pregnancy
- Systematic Review of Yoga for Pregnant Women: Current Status and Future Directions