Read these 11 Pregnancy Yoga Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Yoga tips and hundreds of other topics.
After delivery you'll be getting a new and different kind of exercise from bending, lifting, and carrying an infant. But these activities can leave you with stiff muscles and stress, not to mention sleep deprivation. Yoga is one of the best exercises to do after pregnancy because it providing an outlet for the physical and emotional stress associated with caring for a newborn.
Whether you want to return to your pre-pregnancy yoga practice or you want to start doing yoga as a way to slim down and start an exercise program, be sure to ease into your yoga practice and focus on restorative postures. Focus on releasing tension, which will help you deal with the stress of being a new mom. And don't expect to resume yoga at the same level of intensity as your pre-pregnancy practice the day. Don't strain, and take your time building back up to your pre-pregnancy practice.
Restorative poses to do in spare moments include Downward-facing Dog, Child's Pose, and easy forward bends and seated twists.
Poses to Do: Balancing poses (with the aid of a wall or chair) and hip opening poses are safe pregnancy exercises if you are not experiencing any complications. Squats will help stretch your hips in preparation for delivery, and you can use blocks to support yourself when you get too big to squat comfortably without assistance.
Poses Not To Do: When you are pregnant, avoid deep twisting poses or any pose that puts pressure on your stomach, such as forward bends. Avoid backbends, too, because they are intense poses and it is easier to strain a muscle while pregnant due to the hormonal changes in the body that increase the laxity of muscles and joints in preparation for labor and delivery.
If you are new to yoga, avoid any inversion poses such as headstands or shoulder stands while pregnant. If you are an experienced yoga practitioner and you do these poses regularly, you can continue them through the second trimester if you feel comfortable.
Seek out a gym or yoga studio near you that offers prenatal yoga classes with exercises designed for expectant moms in the second and third trimesters. These classes will be less vigorous and they will also provide an opportunity to meet other fitness-oriented moms-to-be. But avoid Bikram or "hot yoga" classes during pregnancy. The near-100-degree temperatures that characterize these classes will raise your body temperature higher than it should be during pregnancy.
If you weren't doing yoga prior to pregnancy, don't try to practice by yourself at home while pregnant. A yoga studio will have props that can help you modify poses and an instructor with experience in prenatal yoga will help you modify poses to suit your individual needs and make sure that you remain comfortable and safe while getting the most out of the practice.
Look for post-natal, mom and baby yoga classes, too. These classes tend to be low-key and they provide a unique opportunity to bond with your infant while regaining your pre-pregnancy figure.
As you get bigger, use more props such as blocks and straps to help you work through poses, and use a wall or a chair to help you keep your balance when you're doing balancing poses such as tree pose or triangle pose.
Also, drink water during a class or at-home practice whenever you want to. This tip is contrary to the standard advice against drinking water during a yoga class so as not to cool down the warmth that you build in the body during the course of the class. When doing yoga during pregnancy, as with any other exercise during pregnancy, be mindful of your body temperature and avoid becoming overheated by slowing down and staying hydrated.
Practicing yoga while pregnant has proven health benefits for any mother-to-be. But did you know prenatal yoga benefits your unborn child as well? Each time you move through a yoga session, your baby will feel what you do. The sense of well-being you encounter -- both physical and mental -- is experienced by your baby as well. In the long run, this can translate into a more peaceful childbirth, but also a child who is more peaceful as well.
There is nothing better for childbirth preparation than prenatal yoga exercises. Yoga prepares your body physically for childbirth by developing strength in muscle masses that will be used during birth. In addition, essential breathing techniques are learned which are invaluable when you are in labor. Finally, the overall feeling of centeredness and connectedness that practicing yoga provides will keep you emotionally stable and happy for a healthy childbirth.
Pregnancy yoga is fast becoming a popular and even recommended way to get your body ready for childbirth and to keep it healthy afterwards. Most forms of yoga during pregnancy are geared toward your rapidly changing body. Broken into sections for each trimester, you can safely practice exercises that will give you flexibility, strength, and mental awareness. All these skills are invaluable during labor and childbirth.
If you follow specific and guided instruction, yoga and pregnancy can be a beautiful combination with long-term positive effects. For safety's sake, it's best to take pregnancy yoga classes as opposed to relying solely on a video or DVD. An instructor will be best able to help you achieve the proper positions with one-on-one assistance. After learning the basics, it's generally fine to continue your practice at home with visual aids or by yourself.
As with any physical activity, you should consult with your obstetrician before undertaking yoga during pregnancy. More often than not, a healthy woman will have no trouble adopting a gentle yoga routine. As long as care is taken not to overextend or exhaust herself, yoga is actually one of the best physical activities a pregnant woman can do. A doctor can further elaborate on what positions are safe and not safe during each stage of pregnancy.
The relaxation and focusing skills that are part of any yoga practice can serve you well during labor and delivery. The controlled breathing taught in yoga classes is similar to the prenatal exercise techniques taught in Lamaze and other pregnancy education classes, so if you practice yoga, you will be ahead of the game.
If you can use the muscle relaxation techniques that are part of yoga during pregnancy and focus your attention away from the discomfort of labor, you may feel less nervous and stressed during your labor and delivery. The ability to relax applies if you are having a cesarean section, too. Whether your cesarean delivery is an elective or an emergency procedure, the ability to control your breathing and focus can reduce your stress level during the surgery.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|