For 9 months, mother’s body is the baby’s home. The baby needs to feel comfortable, safe and pleasant. During these nine months, mothers are faced with morning sickness, nausea, diarrhea, pain, cramps and stress from everywhere around them. With the help of physical and breathing exercises, meditation and relaxation, yoga creates a balance between the mind, body and soul. Yoga is safe, even recommended during pregnancy, as it can help mothers stay active, improve* their flexibility and relief from stress. Yoga classes last for 90 minutes, and during that time participants go through warm up session, stretching session for legs, arms and back, postures to boost* strength, stamina and endurance and relaxation and meditation session. All the techniques during yoga classes are adjusted to specifically aid mothers in these sensitive times.
When Can You Start Doing Pregnancy Yoga
Yoga is not recommended for the first trimester, instead, it is best to start in the second three months, or approx. 14th week of pregnancy. There is no evidence that yoga may harm the baby or cause side effects during the first trimester (when miscarriages happen), but it is better to be safe than sorry. Mothers also have more energy during the second trimester, and they can go through a whole class. Women, who conceived with the help of IVF, should wait until week 20. Those who decide to start with yoga even in the first trimester need to focus only on relaxation and breathing exercises.
Yoga Poses for Pregnant Women
Vakrasna or Twisted Pose: To start this pose, one needs to sit erect with his feet stretched in front. While inhaling, raise arms at shoulder level with palms facing down. When exhaling, twist the body from waist toward right, all while moving hands and head to the same side. Swing arms back, but try not to bend knees. Now inhale, and return to original position. Repeat steps for other side. This pose addresses spine, neck, abdominal organs.
Paryankasana: The pose begins with mothers lying down on back, legs straighten and knees together. Next step is to fold right leg in the knee at the side of your posterior and breathe normally. Hold as long as you feel comfortable, and then repeat on the other side. Paryankasana addresses abdominal, thigh and pelvic muscles.
Utkatasana or Chair Pose: Begin with standing erect with feet around 12 inches apart, but keep your feet parallel to each other. While inhaling, raise your heels and arms at shoulder level, while palms are facing down. Slowly exhale, and sit in squat while doing so. Stand on your toes if possible. While your hands are in the same position, inhale and get up slowly. Continue simultaneously: exhale hands down, inhale hands up. This pose strengthens pelvic muscles.
Hast Panangustasana: Designed for the pelvic and thigh muscles, this pose begins with women lying down on their back. Legs are straightened, body is in one line, and hands are in T-position. Slide right leg towards right, while holding toe with right hand. Slide back to return to first position, and then repeat with left leg.
Konasana or Angle Pose: This pose can be done with the support of a wall. First step is to stand erect with feet approximately 24 inches apart. While keeping the elbow straight, raise your right hand. Stretch, inhale and bend sideward to the left. When exhaling, come back to original position and put hands down. Repeat on the other side. Konasana improves* flexibility.
Bhadrasana or Butterfly Pose: Begin sitting on mat with legs stretched. Form Namaste with the feet, while your legs stay in contact with mat. Sit erect, and try not to lean forward. Hands are on knees. You can stay in this pose for how much you want, of course until you feel comfortable. Then straighten legs and repeat. This is another pose for the pelvic region.
Yastikasana or Stick Pose: If done properly, yastikasana relives body tension and corrects posture. Start by lying down on back, with legs straight and body in one line. Keep feet and knees together, and rest hands on the sides. While inhaling, raise hands and stretch upward, and simultaneously push your toes. During exhale, raise hands and return to starting position.
Parvatasana or Mountain Pose: Another pose beneficial for body posture, parvatasana starts with sitting on mat in padmasana. Sitting straight, you inhale and raise arm, joining your palms in Namaste. Elbows are straight, hands to the ears. Try to hold for several seconds, and then return to normal position.
Benefits of Yoga During Pregnancy
Yoga postures focus on pelvic muscles, which will come in handy during labor. Of course, by simply being physically active, mothers release endorphins. Yoga also improves* circulation, endurance, stamina, flexibility and muscle tone, all while helping with morning sickness, cramps. But the most important benefit of yoga is that it keeps people calm and mentally agile.
Safety Measures for Pregnant Women
There are several safety measures mothers need to consider when trying to do yoga during their pregnancy. For example, lying on back after week 16 is not recommended. Lying on the tummy is forbidden. Mothers should also avoid upside-down postures, strong twists, back bends and breathing exercises including holding their breath. Konasana is forbidden after seven months of pregnancy. On the other hand, post natal yoga, or yoga for weight loss*, should be done when mother’s body is ready.
With so many benefits of doing yoga, it is simply unthinkable not to do it. Yoga techniques during pregnancy are specially designed to strengthen pelvic muscles. Labor comes easily for women who practice yoga. Mothers, who want to try yoga for the first time should consider going to professional gym or yoga centers. Some postures are complex, and they should be monitored by an expert.