Pregnancy is is the perfect time to be practicing yoga. This short Pregnancy yoga guide will help to release tightness and tension from the muscles and create space for your growing baby and the breathing techniques work on a deep psychological level to release fears, anxieties and bring a feeling of calmness and clarity to the mind.
Any number of pregnancy related conditions can be helped or even better, avoided. If you are suffering from insomnia, sciatica, hip pain, rib pain, back ache, pelvic girdle pain, headaches, anxieties and general discomfort then yoga may be just the thing you need. Pregnancy yoga can help you connect to your baby, feel more energised, sleep better and prepare you for the birth of your baby.
It is advisable to go to a specially tailored pregnancy yoga class rather than to continue to practice general yoga as there are so many postures and breathing techniques that you need to avoid and you need to adapt your practice due to the pregnancy related hormones and growing bump!
When you practice yoga while pregnant you should wear loose fitting comfortable clothing that helps you to move freely and that doesn’t restrict your bump. Once you are into your third trimester you will feel more comfortable wearing more comfortable maternity yoga clothes, like the Asquith yoga harem pants or comfortable, soft, stretchy bamboo yoga leggings. The Asquith bamboo yoga tops also have clever gathering which will expand easily with your baby bump. Wearing bamboo and natural fibres or organic yoga clothing ensure you are looking after your skin which can be more sensitive during this time.
Breathing – Helpful for connecting to your baby and calming the mind.
Sit cross legged or kneel and use cushions if you want to for support. Rest one hand on your baby and the other hand in the centre of your chest. Take some deep breaths (in and out through the nose) with the eyes closed and sit as tall as possible.
Feel as though you can anchor down through your pelvis into the floor and feel more space as you lift through your spine. Feel the rise and fall of the abdomen, with the breath. Feel a connection with your baby. Stay here for a few minutes, feeling the calming effects.
Calf stretch– Helpful for leg cramps or to stretch the calves.
Come onto all 4s and stretch one leg behind, tucking the toes under. Reach back through the heel, feeling the stretch down the back of the leg. Change legs.
Cat stretch – Helpful for an achy back and to mobilise the spine.
Come onto all 4s with the knees under the hips, the wrists under the shoulders. Tuck the chin into the chest as you round the spine and inhale relax to the centre. Repeat hugging your baby in toward you on each exhale.
Opposite arm and leg stretches – Helpful to strengthen the lower back. Come to the hands and knees. Inhale lift the right arm and left leg and as you exhale release back to all 4s. Inhale lift the left arm and right leg and exhale release back down. Repeat 5 x each side keeping the hips in line. This exercise helps to strengthen your back
Childs pose – Helpful for releasing tension and using in labour.
On all 4s with the knees wider than the hips, bring the hips back towards the heels and rest the forehead on the floor. Stay here as long as you like, breathing deeply.
The exercises above are taken from the DVD ‘Pregnancy Yoga with Tara Lee’.
In a rush? Try this quick and easy sequence, perfect for first thing in the morning or to wind down at the end of the day.
Tara Lee has been practicing yoga for over 20 years and has taught thousands of pregnant women over the last 12 years, guiding them through their pregnancies and births.
Note:You should wait until you are 14 weeks and have had your scan before you start yoga. It is fine to start yoga even as a complete beginner at any stage during your pregnancy. Pregnancy yoga will help you to feel great throughout your pregnancy!
If you have any complications or injuries please check with your doctor that it is safe for you to do yoga.