Although prenatal yoga is a safe form of pregnancy exercise for pregnant women, every woman’s body is different and requires attention and awareness during any exercise to ensure the body’s well being.
Please obtain permission from your doctor, midwife or health provider before doing any prenatal exercise and most important, listen to your body. If you begin to feel over heated or fatigued, stop and rest in child’s pose and resume your practice once you have cooled down or your body has recovered.
When you are pregnant your body changes every day. Some days a certain pose may feel wonderful and other days the same pose may not feel good at all. The most important guideline for prenatal yoga is one that is practiced in all yoga– non-violence to yourself. This means allowing and embracing the limitations that pregnancy puts on your body and only doing poses that feel good. This is especially important for pregnant women because as the baby grows he or she changes positions often and there are times a certain pose may not be conducive to the position of the baby. Forcing positions because you have always been able to do them or because you were able to do them one way or not the other is inappropriate and may cause injury.
When you become pregnant your body releases a hormone called relaxin which lubricates the joints and softens connective tissue allowing the pelvis to open up to accommodate the baby. However, this hormone is not specific to the pelvis; it affects every other joint as well and can create instability in the joints, this is why you hear many pregnant women complaining of carpel tunnel syndrome. Therefore, you need to take care not to overstretch.
Being pregnant is an amazing time in your life. Prenatal Yoga offers you the ability to maintain or achieve a strong, flexible and centered- body, mind and spirit in an ever changing physical form.
Pregnancy is composed of three trimesters each about three months long. In each trimester there are specific poses that are beneficial for the pregnant body; some of these poses help with discomforts in the body, and others help to strengthen the body in preparation for labor and childbirth.
Many prenatal yoga poses can be modified for you while you are pregnant. You will want to separate your legs when doing any forward bending leaving enough room for your belly to easily fit between your legs. You should avoid lying on your belly throughout pregnancy (this will be very uncomfortable anyway).
With the appropriate modifications prenatal yoga can be practiced right up to labor and delivery. Prenatal Yoga can be started anytime in pregnancy even in the last month as long as you listen to your body, and only do poses that feel good.
Also, if you feel any pain in your back, knees or abdominal area you should come out of the pose you are in. And if you feel any menstrual-like cramping at any time, you should stop and rest.
Typically before doing prenatal yoga it is best to abstain from eating for at least two hours. When you are pregnant that might not be possible. Since the stomach has less room and you are “eating for two,” you may need to have a light snack or a juice or smoothie an hour before practicing.