Yoga is the ideal way to prepare the mind and body for the transition into motherhood. Prenatal yoga keeps the body toned and supple during pregnancy without strain. It can also relieve or prevent some of the aches and pains experienced during pregnancy while managing anxiety and promoting restful sleep. Yoga develops the self-awareness and confidence needed to allow a woman to fully trust her body through the birthing process. Please advise the teacher you are pregnant so they can guide you to follow the basic modifications.
At Down Under Yoga, the classes below are all appropriate for pregnancy:
All Iyengar classes - take level appropriate for you before pregnancy i.e. if you are a raw beginner, take Level 1; more seasoned - Level 2
Some Flow Classes are appropriate for seasoned practitioners who know how to modify their practice.
The basic rules for pregnancy are very empowering for pregnant mothers - they are completely logical, intuitive and natural given your body is growing life:
- Do not squeeze or compress the abdomen. No sit-ups, no pulling the naval sharply to the spine, no contracting the core. You want to give that life growing in your belly space.
- Twists - when you twist, following the modification above and revolve from the abdominals but rather twist form the ribcage
- Backbends - as the belly gets bigger, it won't be comfortable to do floor backbends. Turn on your back and practice bridge and perhaps place a block under your sacrum for supported bridge.
- Breath Work - breath work during pregnancy is a wonderful way to prepare for labor, managing anxiety, and promoting restful sleep. However, do not retain the breath or take rapid inhales and exhales while pregnant.
- High Impact Movement - avoid high impact movements such as jumping back to plank or coming down strongly from inversions. To ensure that you and your baby feel supported in your yoga practice by take low impact transitions such as stepping back to plank pose and supported inversions like legs up the wall.
- Inversions - At around 36 weeks, you are advised to decrease the number of inversions as the baby is moving into the birth position around this time. You should stop doing legs up the wall and bridge pose, unless your baby is breech, in which case these poses can help her to turn.
- Heat – While you have a built in cooling system for your body, your baby does not so some women will avoid practicing heat yoga or any vigorous practice that raises your core body temperature.
- Listen to your body - if nausea and fatigue are a part of your first trimester, listen to the energy level of your body. For newcomers, do Level 1 or 1/2, Foundations and Relax N' Renew. Even seasoned students should flow with wisdom, take child's pose, take breaks, modify and use the opportunity to explore other methods and teachings.
- Savasana - as the belly gets bigger, lie on your left side and bring a bolster or blankets into class so you can lie comfortably.