Life doesn’t have to change completely while you are pregnant, and it is normal to want to stay active. Yoga during pregnancy is the perfect blend of physical activity, mental centering, and spiritual bonding with your body and baby. What matters the most for moms to be is that they feel healthy and happy as the pregnancy progresses so that they can better look after themselves and the new addition for whom they are so patiently waiting.
What Is Pregnancy Yoga?
Yoga for moms in waiting is just that: a gentle yoga class tailored to the unique and demanding needs of the pregnant body, mind, and soul! Yoga helps expectant mothers de-stress, stay fit, and connect with their baby, but there are a few things that a growing bump makes a little trickier. That is why a specialized prenatal version is available to keep mom and baby happy and healthy.
How Is Pregnancy Yoga Different From Regular Yoga?
Pregnancy yoga focuses more on connection and comfort than flexibility and strength, although they are all connected. A certified personal trainer who teaches yoga and sports medicine may not be qualified to lead a prenatal class, so always make sure you look in the right place.
Things like hot yoga (classes in extreme heat and humidity) are not suitable, nor are intense high-impact yoga trends. Overall, yoga for pregnancy is slow and gentle and designed to build gradual strength and a powerful bond between mom and baby.
Are Pregnancy Yoga Classes Suitable for First-Timers?
If you are looking to start pregnancy yoga sessions but have never stepped foot in a class before, go for it! As long as you have been given no professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment that suggests you should rest and avoid physical strain, then there is nothing that should hold you back.
Experienced yoginis and sun saluting enthusiasts can most likely continue most of their usual routine, minus a few deep twists and headstands- but it is also ok to take it easy while making an effort to look after ourselves and our pending arrival.
Benefits of a Pregnancy Yoga Exercise
There are many benefits of the clinical practice of yoga during pregnancy. It is honestly worth researching for informational and educational purposes, even if you are not pregnant yet.
Benefits for Mom
- Keep in shape without causing too much strain
- Connect with your baby through deep abdominal work and meditation
- Strengthen your body and core for proper alignment and better preparation for birth
- Relax, de-stress and get excited about becoming a mom
- Peer-reviewed studies suggest it can help you sleep better
- Reduce discomfort, headaches, and late symptoms of morning sickness
Benefits for Baby
- A happy mom is much better for babies, even before they arrive
- Yoga can help make the birthing process easier for both mom and baby.
- Stress affects unborn babies, so an anxiety-free mommy is better for the little one.
Pregnancy Yoga Tips by Trimester
First Trimester Yoga Practice
Most pregnant women who are using yoga to keep fit during these nine months stick to basic beginner poses and use yoga blocks for extra support. In the first few months, not much has changed about your body but it is going through a lot. Classes during early pregnancy should be gentle with lots of lying on your back, focusing on yourself, and taking it easy.
Favorite First Trimester Yoga Poses
The open twist is a gentle but powerful pose. Besides promoting good spinal health, gentle twisting also feels wonderful after a night of sleeping on your left side! This twist opens both the chest and back while stretching the inner thigh. Start in tabletop position. Your right foot should be in line with the supporting knee as you extend your right leg along the mat. As you breathe in, open your chest to the right side wall, sweeping your right arm up. Lower your right arm and thread it under the left supporting arm as you exhale. Continue for 3-5 breaths, then repeat on the other side.
Yogi in the Middle: Second Trimester Tips
The middle trimester is all about stretching and diaphragmatic breathing. By this point, the news is probably out, and your body is doing all kinds of weird and wonderful things. It is normal to feel uncomfortable at times during the second legs of baby-growing, with many of us mums to be experiencing a little back pain and discomfort in those poor abdominal muscles.
Breathing exercises and a good, satisfying stretch are just what the doctor ordered sometimes (and sometimes it is a lot of cake), as long as your prenatal care provider gives you the go-ahead.
Favorite Second Trimester Yoga Poses
I loved the mountain pose during this part of my pregnancy. Standing poses that don’t require so much effort and can be thrown in as a spontaneous instant stress-buster is all good in my book. All it takes is standing with your knees hip-width apart and your feet slightly wider for better balance if needs be.
Bring your hands together at your heart and slowly extend them upwards, ending up with your arms straight over your head. Stretch out the upper body by tilting back a little. It feels great and is far from strenuous. Plus, it improves blood flow and strengthens the pelvic floor- something you are going to be grateful for if you are opting for a vaginal birth- trust me!
The Final Countdown: Yoga in the Third Trimester
Ah, the third trimester, when excitement peaks and so does impatience. Don’t think you are alone in the desire to spend most of these three months lying on your back with some good TV and snacks- but trust me, yoga is the answer. At this point, many positions are just not possible. Avoid deep backbends, twists of any kind or any balancing poses where you run the risk of falling over.
In general, squat positions with your torso forward and knees apart are the most comfortable for the last stretch of pregnancy. Connect with your growing baby by using the bump to help you keep your balance and relax together as you feel the gentle stretching.
Favorite Third Trimester Yoga Poses
The goddess pose is one of the best yoga positions for late pregnancy when the belly is bigger than just a bump! Start in the standing position with legs far apart and your toes pointed outwards. Slowly bend your knees until your sit bones are near to the ground. Find a place to rest your arms where they feel comfortable, maybe resting on your inner thighs or across your bump, and breathe deeply.
Ladies, we go through a lot, and it is not wrong to need some time to connect with ourselves and feel good. Remember, not all expectant moms go through the same journey- don’t compare yourself to what other pregnant women are doing! If you are interested in pregnancy yoga practice and have the go-ahead from your doctor, then you should try it.