Pregnancy is a wonderful and exciting time, but it also comes with a few challenges including finding appropriate ways to exercise. Yoga is a great option for pregnant women as it can help maintain strength and flexibility, reduce stress, and improve your labor experience. However, it's important to make some adjustments to ensure that the yoga practice is safe for both mother and baby. Here are some tips for how you can still get the benefits of yoga in any class during your pregnancy.
1. Focus on the Breath-work and Relaxation
If a class ever becomes a little too much, remember you are still practicing yoga even if you're just sitting and breathing. Pregnancy can be a stressful time, so don't forget to incorporate relaxation and breath-work into your yoga practice. Take deep, slow breaths and focus on calming your mind and body. This can help release tension and reduce stress hormone levels, which can benefit both you and the baby.
2. Modify or Remove Certain Poses
Many yoga poses can be modified to be safe and comfortable during pregnancy. For example, instead of doing a full forward fold, you can bend your knees slightly and let your belly rest on your thighs. Or, you can use a block or bolster to support your back and torso during seated poses. Any yoga class you walk into can be entirely personalized to you and your body. There is no right or wrong way to practice. With this in mind, it is beneficial to note that some yoga poses are not the most favorable to pregnant women, such as deep twists, backbends, and inversions. These poses can put pressure on the abdominal area which we would like to avoid doing. If poses are queued in class that apply this kind of pressure to you, opt for a milder version or switch it up altogether! Keep an ear out for if your yoga instructor throws out modification options for you, or get creative and find a pose that best suits how you’re feeling.
3. Use Props
Yoga props can be one of the most fun components of a class. Depending on your yoga studio, they may have a variety of tools available for you to use. At Busy Bee Yoga we have different sized bolsters/pillows, blankets, blocks, straps, extra mats, and more! You can use any of these items for cushioning, adjusting, and support. Here are some easy usages of props to make any yoga class more comfortable:
Using a block under each hand in a Standing Forward Fold
Curl up on a pillow in Fetal Pose instead of the usual lying on your back in Savasana/Final Resting Pose
Bring a blanket under your knees for extra padding on any pose.
Use a strap looped under the feet in forward folds or any hands-to-feet pose.
4. Chat with Your Doctor
Before starting any workout program, have a chat with your healthcare provider and see what they advise. Most doctors can and will elaborate on the benefits of yoga during pregnancy, and discuss what kind of workouts are most suitable for you. They can advise you on what is safe and what isn't, and provide you with any other recommendations. This is especially important if you have any medical conditions or complications during your pregnancy.
In conclusion, practicing yoga during pregnancy can be a safe and beneficial way to stay active and healthy. By following these tips and making necessary adjustments, women can adjust any yoga class to be safe during pregnancy. Remember to always listen to your body and to take your yoga instructor's guidance as it applies to you.
The content of this post does not serve as medical advice.