No matter the stage of your pregnancy (first or even third trimester), it’s never too late to start a prenatal yoga session. Prenatal yoga at home and yoga during pregnancy are great ways to help you through this season. Thanks to the global awareness of this “mind and core enriched” fitness activity, there are now trusted and certified yoga centers in each lane. Or else, countless online videos and posts can guide you everything you want to know about what, why and where’s of prenatal yoga.
Prenatal yoga stretches and poses keep you physically fit and prepares you for that easy labor too. What’s more, with correct and guided breathing techniques, your baby’s health too remains A-class.
Now, you might have questions about when to start prenatal yoga, if to pursue it during the first trimester, prenatal yoga routines and more. Before you decide to give it a go after looking at all the benefits of prenatal yoga, it is very important to consult your doctor first and get to know about where you stand on the pregnancy safety meter. If you get “all healthy and no trouble” report card, you can kick start with the basic and primary asanas, breathing techniques right way, under the experts' surveillance. Please, do not attempt any twisting and balancing acts unless you get familiar with the primary or core series necessary to make you aware of “what prenatal yoga really is”.
For mamas, who’s been advised to be extra careful (high-risk pregnancy), can totally embrace this yogic regimen too (again, consult your doc first). In fact, studies have shown that yoga can potentially be an effective therapy in reducing hypertensive related complications and improving fetal outcomes.
During pregnancy, the body changes rapidly, but with regular yoga for pregnant women, you can embrace these changes which can make you strong and flexible in all the right places for smooth labor, delivery, and recovery.
Now before you go in search of that perfect yoga mat and pregnancy yoga wear, understand the outcomes, benefits as well as what a basic session of 30 mins yoga looks like and safety measures.
Agreed, Lamaze, Pilates squatting and even brisk walking are enough to give you that strength, stamina, and overall activeness during the nine-month journey. So why pregnancy yoga? what sets it apart from the other forms of fitness regimens?
Simply put, prenatal yoga is like a multi-faceted diamond. Basic asanas like a warrior pose, downward-facing dog, cat pose, etc give your body enough stretch which helps build up core strength and help melt excess fat. What’s more? While performing these asanas you need to concentrate on the breathing (inhale and exhale) which gives fresh oxygen to your body necessary for that mental and physical being. Needless to say, it’s a wholesome mixture of mind, body and soul fitness.
Now before you take up that first session, your instructor may advise you to invest in some basic pregnancy yoga gear to kick-start the regimen. Get a quality yoga mat, yoga wear(yoga tees and leggings, mommy sweatpants) and a water bottle. That’s it!
No extra weights, No ropes. All you have to do is balance your own body weight. That’s what makes yoga even more interesting!
Before you jump to the stretch worthy asanas, you will be encouraged to focus on the breathing techniques. Gentle inhale and exhale (not rapid) is introduced with pranayama like Om, Ocean breath (ujjayi), complete breath (Dirgha pranayama) are practiced that helps in reducing shortness of breath during pregnancy. These breathing techniques help a great deal during labor.
Note: Rapid breathing forms such as bellow’s breath (bhastrika) and cleaning breath (kapalabhati) are not recommended in pregnancy.
Different areas of your body will get stretch and strength with simple asanas like lotus pose, head-to-knee forward bend (Janu shirshasana), warrior-two, etc. You will notice that the recurring back pain, indigestion, and stress is slowing say bye to you for good.
Note: If you are familiar with all twelve postures forming Sun Salutation (king of all the asanas), then go ahead and practice the modified version of the same around 5-6 times(slowly). If sun-salutations are new to you, then seek expert guidance first before bowing your head for the sun god.
As you get familiar with basic sitting, standing asanas like mountain, lotus, cat pose, etc, your body will slowly open up making you ready for the more flexible postures like downward dog, eagle and pigeon pose. Your hamstrings, waist, arms get enough massage and toned effect. Your balance improves a great deal allows you to try other pregnancy-friendly asanas and postures.
Note: Pay attention to the balance and seek support if needed. Use props like yoga blocks, cushions, and belts that give you additional support especially in twisty asanas.
A good ten to fifteen minutes of relaxation is advisable after each yoga session. It helps relax tired muscles, joints and basically your overall being. You will be encouraged to relax pay close attention to your own breathing and emotions. While relaxing on the yoga mat, one can even add a mantra and mudra (hand postures) which adds to the calmness and serenity.
Iyengar or Bhakti yoga?
Cliched but every day a new style gets added to the yoga wagon. Now, for pregnant mamas, basic Hatha and restorative yoga are advisable which can be performed by even a novice who has never seen or heard it before.
Note: Give all the details to your yoga instructor beforehand (pregnancy stage, side effects, physical ailments if any), so that they will advise you on the type of yoga suitable for you. Check if there are yoga poses to avoid in the first trimester or anything to consider based on your medical conditions and pregnancy during subsequent trimesters. Advanced yoga style like ashtanga, vinyasa, Bikram (hot) yoga, etc are advisable for those who have embraced yoga for years before. Not suitable for newbies.
Yes, yoga can heal, encourage and uplift you during pregnancy but it is very essential to follow some of these safety guidelines:
Mammas, take a gentle breath. You are fine. Baby is fine. It’s going to be all right!
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