Yoga is known to be gentle and effective exercise improving health, wellbeing, flexibility and balance, all of which make prenatal yoga a great idea. Whether you are already into yoga or want to start off with pregnancy yoga for the first time, it can help you with physical and mental wellbeing since yoga not only improves fitness but also promotes relaxation by relieving stress.
The following prenatal yoga asana (positions) are recommended:
Sukhasana (meaning the happiness pose) – It requires you to sit cross-legged with the hands on the knees, back erect and elbows and shoulders relaxed. Concentrate on breathing when you do this.
This is the pose that can also be assumed when you’re doing chores that require sitting or even when watching TV.
In addition, many other seated poses such as Vajrasan (the ankle pose) Padmasan (the lotus pose like sukhasan except that each heel should rest on the opposite inner thigh) and Bhadrasana (legs drawn in towards the groin with the soles of the feet touching each other) are also a recommended part of prenatal yoga.
These can be performed standing up or sitting down. Seated in any of the above seated asanas, raise the hand above the head and join the palms, hold for about 10 to 15 breaths. The same stretch can be performed standing up with the arms extended and stretched up and rising up on the toes simultaneously.
The standing side stretch pose is also recommended where the arm touches the ear and is extended over the head. And then the whole body is bent sideways with the opposite palm sliding down along the leg. Shoulder lifts, neck rotations and other stretches are also useful to include in a pregnancy yoga routine.
In addition prone positions, squatting positions and pelvic exercises are good to include in your yoga routine, however how exactly to perform them during pregnancy is best to learn from a qualified and trained professional.
Other tips for prenatal yoga
If you are a regular yoga practitioner you can continue to perform a lot of the same exercises during pregnancy, but with some modifications. If you are starting for the first time, do clear the suitability of the exercises you plan to do with your doctor.
You can join a yoga class, preferably a pregnancy yoga class where the trainer is specially trained for working with expectant moms. Or you can buy an exercise DVD that takes you through the process step by step. Even instructional videos on the internet will help you with prenatal yoga; but do be careful about which asanas you do; making sure that they are suitable.
Also change and modify the exercises as your pregnancy progresses and the belly grows larger. During the latter half of the pregnancy, avoid relaxation poses such as Shavasan (literally means the corpse position) which requires one to lie on one’s back.
An important element to add to a prenatal yoga workout is mediation. Concentrating the mind and performing exercises mindfully, concentrating the energies on breathing in and out in the correct way can all enhance the exercise and also help lower stress and anxiety.