Practicing yoga during pregnancy can be very useful since it not only helps to keep your body in shape, but also helps the body to deal with stress. This makes it a popular practice among expecting mothers wanting to have a healthy pregnancy.
In prenatal yoga, you will learn to breathe deeply, inhaling from your nose to the fullest extent and then exhaling fully. This technique will be helpful when you are in labor and about to give birth to your child. It does not matter if you are a newbie, practicing it daily will help you master the technique. The main benefit of yoga in pregnancy is that it helps to improve blood and oxygen circulation in your body.
When To Start Prenatal Yoga?
You can start practicing prenatal yoga from the day you discover that you are pregnant. Quite contrary to what many people believe, there is no specified time frame to practice yoga during pregnancy. You can practice it from the first to the last week of your pregnancy if you feel comfortable with it.
While there is no such thing as an ideal time to start practicing prenatal yoga, it is advised that you begin within the first few weeks of pregnancy. This is because it will only be more difficult to start with yoga in later stages of pregnancy.
Common prenatal yoga poses
Prenatal yoga is slightly different from normal yoga. It encompasses yoga poses that are specifically meant to suit the body of a pregnant woman. Let us take a look at some of the commonly practiced poses in prenatal yoga.
- Pigeon pose – This yoga pose helps open up the chest and shoulders. It also stretches the thighs, back and the groin.
- Warrior II pose – It helps stretch your arms and legs. It also tones the abdomen and opens your chest.
- Triangle pose – This yoga pose strengthens your legs. It also stretches your hamstrings, groins and hips.
- Half moon pose – Also known as Ardha Chandrasana, this yoga pose improves your overall balance. It also strengthens your ankles and thighs.
- Cobbler’s pose – This yoga pose is also known as Bandha Konasana, and helps open up the hips and the groin.
- Knee to ankle pose – This yoga asana opens up the hips. It is also known as Agnisthambasana.
Include meditation in prenatal yoga
Pregnancy is a period where you need to be not just physically but also mentally fit. While the above mentioned prenatal yoga poses will train your mind, you need to include meditation in your pregnancy yoga practice to work on your mind too. Meditation helps you keep more calm and relaxed. It also eases the worries of giving birth to a child. Besides, meditation also enhances your endurance, which is a must at the time of delivery.
Use yoga accessories to make prenatal yoga easier
Since yoga accessories are meant to make your yoga session more comfortable, they are more apt for prenatal yoga in comparison to any other yoga form. You can use yoga accessories such as yoga bolsters and yoga cushions that can provide you with the desired support and help you to perform yoga in a much comfortable manner.
When Not To Do Prenatal Yoga?
There is no reason for you to stop practicing yoga as long as you feel comfortable doing it. In fact, many pregnant women continue with their yoga practice even till their delivery date approaches. Having said that, there are a few basic precautions that you need to adhere to when practicing yoga during pregnancy.
Yoga poses to avoid during pregnancy
While yoga keeps you healthy and fit during the course of your pregnancy, there are a few basic poses that you must avoid to keep any kind of complications at bay. Here are some of them:
- Twists – Avoid yoga asanas that include deep twists. Such poses compress the internal organs including your uterus. If you really want to twist, then try twisting from your shoulders.
- Jumps – With a huge belly, jumping is the last thing that you need to do. Avoid even moderate jumping as this can affect the positioning of the fetus.
- Pranayama – Pranayama, or breathing exercises, ask you to breathe at a faster rate or hold your breath for long. This is not advisable when you are pregnant.
- Back bending – Avoid any kind of back bending especially yoga asanas — like the full wheel pose — that require you to bend your back to the maximum.
- Lying on the belly – When you are pregnant, lying on the belly is the last thing that you need to do. Avoid poses like Cobra Pose that have you to lie down on your belly.
- Hot yoga – Hot yoga involves raising the temperature of your core. This is not advisable during pregnancy.
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Besides avoiding the above mentioned yoga poses, you also need to follow a few basic precautions to avoid any kind of complications.
- Tell your yoga instructor about your pregnancy and how far along you are if you are attending a yoga class that is not specifically designed for pregnant women.
- Any kind of yoga poses that works on the back should be avoided after the first trimester. This reduces the flow of blood to the uterus.
- Avoid stretching your muscles to the extreme.
- Practice yoga poses only to the extent to which you are comfortable. Do not exert yourself too much. Listen to your body carefully and stop as soon as you experience any kind of discomfort.
- Be aware of your knees. Do not strain them too much.
- Practice yoga during pregnancy under the guidance of an expert only. Avoid DVDs and videos, as they will not be able to identify the mistakes you may be making which can be dangerous to your health.
- Don’t exert yourself too much and know when you should take a rest. Take cues from your body. If you are feeling tired, rest for a while.
To sum up, there is no harm in doing yoga during pregnancy. You can do it for as long as you desire but make sure that you are careful enough.
Guest post: Sara Patel is the founder of HealthOClock, a fitness blog dedicated to providing honest fitness tips and reviews. She helps her readers to get the best body shape by sharing fitness tips she learned through two years of gyming and through lot of research.
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