And finally…you’re pregnant! Congratulations! Pregnancy is one of the most important periods in a woman’s life. The woman’s body is changing to become a mother’s body.
A lot of women ask about practicing yoga during pregnancy and what the benefits are. The breathing and body awareness developed through yoga help women stay connected to their changing bodies. Through the practice they can build the strength, stamina and flexibility necessary for giving birth and with gentle stretches and asanas help relieve back pain and sciatica. Also, through pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation they can relieve stress and improve their sleep.
Let’s start with the meditation. One of my favorites is the mantra meditation!
Find a comfortable seated position (on the floor with a pillow /bolster or on a chair) with a straight spine, close your eyes and breathe through the nose
Bring the left palm on your heart and the right on the baby.
Take a few slow long breaths and listen to your breath (it’s the most beautiful sound)
Choose one word with a positive meaning like love, joy, happiness etc.
Inhale and say mentally the word and exhale for a few minutes
Start slowly visualizing it and bring every letter sign inside you. Focus on this word without thinking the meaning of the word.
Continue for 5 min.
Our breath is the most important food that our body needs. During pregnancy some women have shortness of breath, that is normal. Practicing pranayama can relieves stress, tension and pain. The nervous system becomes more balanced, which improves circulation as blood pressure lowers, and provides a heathier respiratory rate and heart rate.
An easy breathing technique is the abdominal breathing that expands and relaxes the abdominal area, increases the internal awareness between breath and body, massages the internal organs and relaxes.
Start in a seated position and close your eyes and breathe through the nose.
Bring the left palm on the heart and the right on the lower part of the belly.
Relax your belly
Inhale slowly and send your breath to your belly gently
Exhale slowly and feel your belly relaxing
Keep breathing slowly to your lower part of the belly and try to count to 5 and exhale, again counting to 5.
Continue for 5 min
Remember not to hold your breath and keep breathing.
Now, we are moving to the asanas (poses). As we already said the body is changing, the belly is getting bigger, your center of the body is different, and you are becoming more flexible. The peptide hormone relaxin is responsible for the increase in flexibility during pregnancy. Respect your body and the changes.
The best thing you can do is to work your posture (tadasana etc.), strengthen your back and open your hips.
Moreover, you need to modify some poses and avoid some others. Feel free to use blocks, bolsters, blankets and the wall for some extra help. Remember always to create space for your belly (tadasana open your legs wider) and avoid backbends, twists, inversions, lying with the back on the floor and poses that compress your belly.
When I ask ‘’What’s your favorite pose?’’ the answer is always the same: Savasana! It’s one of the poses that you have to modify, and we encourage lying on the left side using a pillow under the head and between the legs and cover your body with a blanket. The reason is that back-lying can put pressure on the vena cava vein, that returns blood back to the mother’s heart and brain.
Another pose to finish your prenatal yoga practice is Supta Baddha Konasana with a bolster and two blocks underneath to create an incline and two other blocks under the knees.
Remember before you start, ask your doctor if you can exercise and always do it with a certified instructor.
Enjoy your practice and have a wonderful lifetime ahead of you with your new bundle of joy!
Many thanks to Courtney Wacht for being my model and an amazing yogini!