Gone are the days when pregnancy meant becoming a couch potato. Today, many doctors and health professionals are encouraging women to work out throughout their pregnancy. Yoga during pregnancy helps a woman increase her strength and flexibility, even as her body goes through the dramatic changes of pregnancy. The postures yoga offers may also prepare women for childbirth and help relieve discomforts, such as back pain and swollen ankles.
When should you start with Yoga?
Pregnancy is an ideal time to start yoga. The postures for beginners are simpler than most people imagine, and you'll also meet other mums-to-be at your classes. The best time to start yoga if you've never done it before is in the second trimester, after about 14 weeks. Yoga guidelines advise you not to try postures in the first trimester, if you're not used to them. Sadly, the most common time for miscarriages to happen is during the first trimester. There's no evidence that doing yoga, or any other exercise, in the first trimester will harm your pregnancy. But, to be on the safe side, some yoga teachers will recommend that you don't practice yoga for the first three months. In your second trimester, you are also less likely to feel tired and sick during a long class. You'll start gently and slowly. Your instructor will modify the postures so that they suit your stage of pregnancy. Yoga postures are generally designed to stretch, not strain. But if you feel any pain and discomfort, stop what you are doing. Some yoga teachers recommend that if your baby was conceived using IVF, you should wait until about 20 weeks before starting classes. This is because of all you will have been through to achieve your pregnancy. Also, if you have had IVF treatment, you are more likely to be pregnant with twins or more. Multiple pregnancies carry a higher risk of miscarriage, so it's best to be cautious. But in case, you do decide to practice yoga in the first trimester, keep to relaxation and breathing exercises. If you did yoga before becoming pregnant, you may want to slow down and be aware of any changes in your body.
Which postures to avoid during pregnancy ?
Benefit's of Yoga during pregnancy?
Poses or Asana suggested to be done in prenatal yoga
These poses may help ease the discomforts of pregnancy and prepare the body for childbirth.
Bridge Pose - Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
A gentle backbend such as bridge pose is suitable for pregnancy.
Bridge Pose - Supported Variation
This supported version of bridge is a nice way to get a gentle backbend during pregnancy.
Cat-Cow Stretch - Chakravakasana
This is a wonderful prenatal sequence for a number of reasons - being on all fours helps get the baby into optimal position. Make the spinal movements originate in the pelvis for maximum benefit.
Cobbler's Pose - Baddha Konasana
A great hip opener during pregnancy. The reclined version of the pose is also recommended, with a bolster or three folded blankets supporting the spine.
Extended Triangle Pose - Utthita Trikonasana
Opens the hips, chest, and hamstrings.
Gate Pose - Parighasana
Being pregnant makes for a very crowded midsection, so side stretches like gate pose feel especially good.
Goddess Pose - Supta Baddha Konasana
A reclined hip opener that is appropriate as long as you are comfortable lying on your back.
Half Moon Pose - Ardha Chandrasana
Balancing poses are great to do during pregnancy. Take the back foot up the wall if you feel at all unsteady.
Knee to Ankle Pose
This is another hip opener!
Legs Up the Wall - Viparita Karani
A passive inversion - great for swollen ankles.
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose - Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
Bring on the hip openers! Make liberal use of props such as blankets to make this comfortable.
How to Do Pelvic Tilts
This exercise is a wonderful release for the low back, and is particularly nice for prenatal yoga.
Side Plank Variations - Vasisthasana Variations
These Side Plank Variations require less abdominal work than the full pose, but are great side stretching exercise. Try them when you feel you need some more room in the ribs.
Warrior II - Virabhadrasana II
Helps open the hips and keep the legs strong.