Yoga really helps improve the experience of pregnancy, by helping the body cope with the strain of hormonal changes and weight increases. Many expectant mothers report that yoga helps reduce the common aches and discomforts associated with pregnancy. Only two 30 minute sessions of practice a week are needed.
1. Do yoga in the water. Water helps support the body during the poses. Joints and muscles move more freely as well. Aqua yoga is excellent for toning the body, and increasing the flexibility of the pelvic muscles. This is a good preparation for birthing.
2. Use extra props – including chairs and cushions!
3. Be gentle on yourself and don’t over stretch.
4. Instead of putting off yoga because you don’t have time to ‘go’ somewhere, start practising at home, with a good video or DVD. Do a few exercise each day, every day.
Gaiam Prenatal Yoga Video
5. Don’t worry about buying expensive props. Whilst a yoga mat is excellent, most of the other props used for pregnancy yoga can be found around the house – chairs at different heights, blankets or a light throw for relaxation, a beanbag (this makes a great support to lean against), and cushions of different sizes (these are used to put under your knees, or behind your head, amongst other things)
6. When doing the meditation at the end, don’t be afraid to sit or lie in a different way. What feels comfortable will change during pregnancy, and will certainly be different to what felt comfortable when you weren’t pregnant. You don’t have to adopt a classical yoga pose here. The priority should be in feeling comfortable.
7. Pick some yoga poses that strengthen and lengthen the back muscles, the buttocks, thighs and abdominal muscles. These muscles are all important for maintaining good posture, and holding the pelvis in the right position. They help your posture adjust as your body changes during pregnancy.
8. If you’re doing aqua yoga, it’s best to pick a swimming pool. The water should ideally be chest height, but anywhere from waist to shoulder height is fine.
9. Props for aqua yoga would be foam noodles and some floats. They will help provide support for some exercises, and for the relaxation at the end.
10. Get some friends or other expectant Moms from the prenatal class together for regular aqua yoga sessions in a local pool. You might be able to economically book the pool when you all share the cost.