Prenatal yoga is a healthy practice to adopt during pregnancy, with myriad benefits including weight management, a sense of calm and comfort, and connecting with your baby. Aside from physical movement, when practiced regularly, prenatal yoga encourages you to breathe deeply and can often make the labour and birthing process easier.
Prenatal yoga classes are designed to support pregnancy body changes by stretching in safe way and in a safe environment. The poses are open, which means there is no pressure on your belly. Your prenatal yoga instructor can recommend various different poses that work around reflux, sciatica, nausea and most of the common pregnancy discomforts, too!
During pregnancy, our body experiences change so much faster than normal and prenatal yoga is so wonderfully supportive of this change. As you move through the weeks and months of pregnancy the poses may seem a little harder. That’s ok – you have precious cargo onboard. Your instructor will work around your belly and practice safely.
The four key elements of prenatal yoga (and birth) are Balance, Gravity, Movement and Breath. All of these are beneficial to labour and birth. When we have a good breathing technique, it can attribute to how you greet labour when your big day arrives. Prenatal yoga can be practiced from 12 weeks gestation until your due date. However you should always check with your doctor before undertaking any exercise while pregnant.
Here are a few poses you can safely practice at home.
Prenatal Yoga Easy Seated Pose
Easy seated pose is very common in yoga. It’s generally how we begin and end a class. Simply sit comfortably with your legs crossed. Try not to have your knees too high. You may find it easier to sit on a cushion or a bolster. The best part of this pose is the connection you have with your baby, when you have your hands on your belly. This is such a sweet moment in time. The bond you have with your baby can never be broken.
In this prenatal yoga posture, we connect with our inner self and our breath. This will calm and soothe you, and your baby will react in kind. If you are calm, baby is calm.
This is a standing balance pose and there are quite a few variations. The main benefit being that it is a subtle hip opener. To help with any wobbles, stand near a wall or table, and choose an option of the pose where you feel comfortable. Find a focal point to gaze at. In Sanskrit this is known as Drishti. It translates to ‘focused gaze’ and it helps with balance as well as meditation.
Easy Seated Pose With Arm Stretch
This is a great pose for the entire upper body. Have one arm straight up in the air above your head, palm facing forward. Have the other arm pointed straight down palm facing backwards. Bend elbows and reach fingertips towards each other until you one day connect as in the picture. Don’t worry if your hands don’t meet – you I will get there one day with regular practice. You also cab use a strap to assist with the stretch or your hands can just rest on the shoulder blades. It feels amazing for your shoulder blades, releasing any tension you may be carrying in the upper back.
Enjoy your time connecting with your baby. As always, be kind to yourself, move with ease and grace. You (and your baby) are the most important person in your life