Yoga Guidelines for Pregnancy

All of our Gentle and Gentle Level 1 classes are perfect for our expectant mothers.  Yoga during pregnancy provides two health aspects; physical and spiritual. Physically the stretches will relax and soothe the joints; the union of the physical movement in the poses and the breath will energize. Shifting the focus to the feelings and sensations within your body provides the relaxation and concentration needed to utilize your inner strength. Relaxation and visualization of the life growing inside you create a special time to bond.

Backbends

  • Avoid any asanas that put weight on the belly: cobra, locust (salambasana), etc.
  • Bridge pose is generally fine during the pregnancy and as the pregnancy progresses try a supported bridge with a bolster beneath the lower back. Wheel pose is not recommended after the first trimester.

Abdominal

  • Avoid strenuous abdominal poses: sit-ups, boat (navasana), etc. Practice with daily Kegels exercises instead. Remember to keep the belly soft.

Twists

  • Avoid any severe twists
  • The lower back is especially vulnerable during the second and third trimester. Be careful during twists -- aim the stretch into the upper spine to avoid strain in the lower back.

Forward Folds

  • Avoid bending forward into any position that puts pressure against the abdomen (e.g. thighs pressing against belly). Wide legs, when possible, in forward bends to make room for the belly.
  • Spread the legs in forward folds to make room for the belly. Inhale deeply as you come up from a standing forward fold to avoid dizziness. Open knees wide to let belly fall between thighs in child's pose.
  • The inner thighs are easily overstretched. Groin ligaments loosen up naturally during the course of pregnancy, which can encourage flexible students to go too far.

Sun Salutations

  • Upward dog is fine for experienced students during the first trimester, but in the second and third trimesters replace chatturunga/upward dog during sun salutations with dog tilt/cat tilt on all fours.
  • Avoid overreaching the lower back in down dog.

Standing

  • Avoid deep lunges, standing warrior lunges are fine with the straight leg supported against a wall for stability as the pregnancy progresses into the 2and 3trimester.
  • While practicing gentle sitting or standing twists keep sitting bones firmly grounded or feet firmly/evenly planted on the floor to equalize weight.

Inversions

  • Avoid shoulder-, head- or handstands, which invert the uterus.

Resting Poses

  • During savasana (corpse pose) lie on your left side with one bolster between your knees and another under your head so that the head stays level with your hips.
  • Lying on your back for long periods of time can become uncomfortable and blood flow to the fetus via the Vena Cava can be obstructed.

Breathing

  • Holding the breath for long lengths of time can deprive oxygen to the fetus. Practice deep, smooth, steady breathing (ujjayi) to keep you relaxed.

General

  • Your heartbeat should not exceed 140 beats per minute. Your heart is already working hard to support the fetus. If you regularly attend advanced classes, get a wrist heart rate monitor to make sure that you don't overdo it.
  • Be aware that heat and hot weather will also raise your heart rate
  • Watch your body temperature. The baby is at least 4-5 degrees warmer then you. Drink, and keep handy at all times, water to keep yourself cool.
     
   
   

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