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Yoga And Pregnancy, Everything You Need To Know

Posted by James Oakley on
pregnancy yoga

Pregnancy might be one of those times when you just want to put your feet up, but it’s good to maintain some level of exercise. Yoga’s a great choice for pregnant mums because it’s low impact meaning that it doesn’t put too much strain on your joints. It can also help with antenatal anxiety, a natural emotion when you’re about to bring new life into the world. And because you’re taught breathing techniques, it’s also ideal for labour too.


Yoga Class for Pregnancy

These days ‘pregnancy yoga’ has become a discipline in itself and there are now many specifically trained instructors running classes all over the country.

One of the things that happens during pregnancy is that your centre of gravity changes, after all, you have a huge bump in the middle of your body, which makes balancing rather more difficult as well as not being able to reach your toes and put socks on! 

Pregnancy yoga takes things more slowly, using gentle and safe poses. You’ll also learn some postures that may encourage the baby to get into the correct position for labour.


Benefits of Yoga in Pregnancy

Pregnancy, or prenatal yoga tends to focus on gentle stretching and strengthening of the body. This is beneficial to the body because it keeps the joints supple and flexible, aids balance and improves circulation.

Going to a pregnancy yoga class enables you to meet other expectant mums in your area, ensuring that you already have a support network in place. It’s a lovely thing to be in the company of other mums too, sharing the experience and feeling positively supported. Both of which have been shown to enhance mental health. 


Yoga for Mental Wellbeing

Being able to consciously relax helps to resist the urge to tighten up when there’s pain and having a greater awareness of breath, can help you get through the intensity of contractions. Yoga also promotes mental strength, helps manage anxiety, stress and depression and helps you to feel more grounded. 


Contraindications to Pregnancy Yoga

Although yoga in pregnancy is safe for most people, there are times when its better avoided. If you have SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction), then it’s better to steer clear. 

Likewise, don’t opt for any yoga that’s done in a heated room, like Bikram yoga. You’re much more heat sensitive in pregnancy so could overheat, become dehydrated, faint, or feel quite sick. 


What Do I Need For Pregnancy Yoga?

Whilst you don’t need an awful lot to get started, one piece of kit  that’s especially important for yoga in pregnancy is an extra- grip yoga mat. After all, you definitely don’t want to slip, slide, or have an accident during pregnancy.

We recommend the wonderfully comfortable and supportive Yogi Bare Paws Natural Rubber Mat, for the grip of your life. Available in a range of colours, this will prevent slippage, help with balance and stronger poses, offer joint support, and most importantly lessen the likelihood of injury.


3 Pregnancy Yoga Poses

Cat-Cow Pose

This classic yoga pose is perfect for pregnancy, relieving back and shoulder pain and reducing pressure on the belly, whilst also opening up the hips.

Begin this sequence on all fours. Inhale deeply and arch the spine, simultaneously lowering the belly. Chin is drawn upwards as if by an invisible piece of string.

Exhale and draw your chin in towards your chest, whilst arching the back upwards. Continue to move between the two poses for up to one minute.


Yoga Squat

A great pose for too-tight hips which helps to widen the pelvis, encouraging easier childbirth. 

You can move into this pose from sitting on the floor by spreading the legs out wide in front of you. Next bend one knee up at a time, bringing them as close to your bottom as possible. Slowly lift off from your bottom, (using your hands on the floor for support if necessary) placing the weight onto your feet. Bring your hands in front of your chest and place the palms together.


Side Corpse Pose

Corpse pose is normally carried out lying on your back, but as this isn’t recommended in pregnancy, use the side variation instead. It’s a great one for relieving fatigue and helping you to feel more relaxed. Also a good pose to use at night-time in bed or during a meditation or relaxation session.

Place a cushion under your head. Lie on your side to begin with, the left leg straight and right knee bended. Place a cushion or pillow in between the knees if this feels more comfortable. Stay like this, focusing on your breath and enjoying the stillness for up to 15 minutes.

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