Pregnancy Yoga - 7 Useful Tips
Considering practicing yoga while pregnant? Great! Here are some tips from me and my pregnant students:
1. Practice with a certified prenatal yoga teacher and always let your teacher know you are pregnant at the beginning of the class. This is crucial when taking a public class which isn't pregnancy yoga - the teacher is likely to give you some different instructions in certain poses (yes, often yoga teachers are the first ones to know you are pregnant!).
2. Make sure the class puts emphasis on breath control: Breath practice may sound boring, but you wouldn't believe how useful it would be for your labor (and life). The most common feedback I hear from my students after labor is that they felt that practicing breath control helped them when they were giving birth.
3. Bring a snack and water to class - This helps both with nausea and with dizziness in case you suffer from any of these in your practice.
4. Consider a Private class at home: Some pregnant ladies are intimidated by going to a public class, or don't find the time to do so. A private class can be a great solution and may be more affordable than you think. A private teacher will give you all the attention you need at the conveniene of your home and at a time suitable for your schedule. You can practice at your home with your partner or a friend so you can split the cost and enjoy some fun time together.
5. Don't stretch as far as you can - While pregnant your body is naturally more flexible than usual because of the relaxin hormone preparing your body for labor. This is true to first trimester too. You will be more flexible then usual in your yoga practice and would need to restrain yourself - don't go all the way with your stretches even if it looks great, this can cause injuries.
6. Remind yourself why you are practicing - I hope you are practicing with an intention to make yourself feel better physically and mentally. Perhaps pregnancy isn't the best time to practice towards achieving a stunning pose you always wanted to do. It is surely not the time to practice to achieve flat abs (dah?!) or lose weight. Remind yourself of that throughout the practice and try to stick to your intention - doing whatever is best for you, which leads me to my next tip:
7. Listen to your body - this one is the most important of all. If something feels wrong in your body while practicing (sharp pain for example), tell your teacher and adjust the pose, or simply skip it. This is true to any yoga practice but while pregnant it is even more important. Your body is changing daily. It will have new and different needs. You are in charge of taking care of yourself and your baby and you know best what is best for you both. Also, if the practice gets too intense, don't be shy and take a rest (in child's pose or another resting pose).
If you have any questions regarding prenatal yoga, please feel free to contact me or comment below.
I teach prenatal yoga in San Francisco Bay Area.
Wishing you a happy and healthy pregnancy!