Yoga & Pregnancy

In November I took a prenatal yoga teacher training workshop from my friend Kristen.  I wholeheartedly believe in the benefits of prenatal yoga.  It empowers the mother to feel strong and capable, confident in her ability to make decisions for how she wants her child’s birth.  It stretches and relaxes sore muscles.  It strengthens and opens.  It teaches the relaxing power of the breath to calmly endure anything challenging or unexpected.  It teaches the releasing of kegels and other muscles to allow for baby to come with less resistance.  It connects mother with baby in a soft and sweet way.  It connects expectant moms with a community of friends and supporters to bounce around ideas and thoughts with.

Tonight I am teaching my 2nd prenatal yoga class with Kristen assisting and I’m so excited.  Here are a few tips for prenatal yoga:

  • Do wide-legged forward folds, plenty of room for baby.  Roll up leading with back of heart, tucking tailbone under, and slightly bending knees. Stop halfway up in a squat with elbows on knees for a full breath. Then continue rolling the rest of the way up to standing.  This will help prevent lightheadedness from rushing up too quickly.
  • Avoid core work laying on your back- try instead doing core on your hands and knees.  Here are some core exercises from my friend Kat who teaches (& films) at one of the studios I teach at, Root Yoga:  Pregnancy Ab Exercises: Safe Abdominal Exercieses for Expecting Moms or Pregnancy Wall Sits with Kat Saks
  • Avoid deep twisting- keep it gentle.  For a nice spine twist, try laying on your back on the mat, knees bent up to air, and soles of feet at edges of mat.  Catus the arms out to your sides, elbows shoulder-heigth.  Exhale and lower the separate knees over to the right side of the mat, which gives a nice gentle low back twist and a hip stretch.  Inahle and draw knees back up to air.  Exhale and lower knees to the other side.  Add in a gaze that’s the opposite direction of the knees to twist even the vertebrae in the back of the neck.  Keep going as is comfortable.
  • Modify, modify, modify- your center of balance is off as baby grows, so use lots of blocks and wider stances in various poses or flows.  Here are some general modifications Kat suggests: Prenatal Modifications for Vinyasa Yoga

Check out my friend Kristen’s Facebook page MamaMusings for her Denver prenatal yoga and postnatal yoga class schedule.  She also posts great articles, stories, and thought-provoking discussion items on there for her prenatal yogis and parents in general.

Also, please check out my friend Littia’s Facebook page and website Choose a Beautiful Birth if you’re in the St. George, Utah area.  She posts great articles on the Facebook page about natural birthing, and the birthing class she teaches has info on on her website.

So what do you think of prenatal yoga? Have you ever tried it?  What was your experience like?  What poses or movements felt the best to you?

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