Teaching prenatal yoga has truly opened my eyes to the sacredness and beauty of the whole miraculous process of pregnancy and childbirth. It is such a special time for these women, and doing yoga during this time is a great way to align and feel good with all of the rapid changes in your mind and body. As they go through this intense transformation, it is essential to think about the safety and wellbeing of both mama and baby.
In general, yoga is often considered safe for most people but just like all physical forms of exercise, there are important factors to consider beforehand. This absolutely applies to prenatal yoga as well. Some questions to consider: Do you already have a personal practice? Are you familiar with different modifications if taking a non-prenatal class? Are you at risk for a preemie? Did you have a regular exercise routine before pregnancy?
While there are many benefits to doing prenatal, not all yoga practices will be safe for pregnant women, especially vigorous vinyasa and/or heated practices. There are also poses that are considered unsafe – deep forward bends, deep twists, abdominal work, lying on your back, inversions and extreme backbends. It’s also best to avoid overstretching (the hormone relaxin already helps to relax the body’s muscles, joints and ligaments) and instead focus on building strength and stability.
With that said, every woman is different especially during pregnancy. This is the time to be more mindful in your yoga practice. If some of these movements feel good to you and you don’t feel like it’s compromising the health of both you and your baby, then go for it! Notice how it makes you feel, breathe and listen.
Now that you know the precautions, let’s get to the good stuff – the benefits! Some of the most amazing things happen in a prenatal class:
Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
Building connections and friendships through community
Honing in body awareness by making space for baby
Reducing stress and tension through movement and breath
Cultivating awareness of the breath through pranayama
Building strength of the pelvic region in preparation for labor
Working on posture, alignment and balance
Building strength and stamina of the physical body
Calming the nervous system to help with digestion and immunity
Boosting circulation which can lower swelling and also enhance immunity
Creates a sense of nurturing support for both mama and baby
There you have it! Whether you’re a seasoned yogi mama or a total newbie mama, there’s bound to be something you love and look forward to in Prenatal Yoga. There are two chances to practice prenatal yoga with us here at Wilmington Yoga Center – Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2pm. We hope to see you soon!
– Taylor Lawrence