A pregnant woman will have different limits on her body as well as her practice, so whether you are, or are planning to be an expecting yogi there some important things to consider.
1) If there are not any specialized pre natal yoga classes in your area, make sure to inform the front desk or instructor that you are expecting. This way they can go over which classes will be right for you as well as guide and care for you with modified postures, and cater to your individual needs during the class.
A pregnant woman's body produces high levels of relaxin, which causes the ligaments around the pelvis to relax and allow the pelvic bones to shift for childbirth. For this reason, it is very important for expecting mothers to avoid over stretching because the relaxin will make your ligaments and tendons more susceptible to injuries.
- Create a firm foundation with your hands and feet, avoid hyperextending your joints and ease away from any discomfort or tension.
- Do not lay flat on your back during your second and third trimester. It is recommended that you lie on your LEFT side, (to alleviate pressure off of your aorta) with a block between your thighs and under your head.
- No arm balances. You do not want to risk falling out of your posture. Protecting the safety of you and your baby is number 1. Try positioning yourself next to a wall during one leg poses for added security, and take your hands away when you are balanced.
2) No hot or warm yoga
During pregnancy, a woman's body temperature is always higher, because it is working hard to create life, so a cooler room is a lot more comfortable. Hot yoga tends to over-exert expecting moms when there's already a lot of extra energy needed to give birth or get through daily activities.
3) Be aware of essential oils
Essential oils have been found to bring relief to aching backs, nausea or swollen ankles. However midwives warn that laurel, angelica, thyme, cumin, aniseed, citronella and cinnamon leaf should be avoided as they could stimulate contractions.
The following oils are fine to use if your pregnancy is going smoothly:
But it is always good to talk to your doctor or midwife before using essentials oils. If you are in doubt, don't use them!
4) Set your own pace and listen to your body
During this time, your body is going through a lot of changes so some days on the mat you may find it particularly challenging, others you may not. Use the time to truly connect and listen to your body and mind. Don't put to much pressure on yourself to master every pose - you are creating a life inside you!
Focusing on holding and breathing through each pose will help you find balance, physically and emotionally. It helps you relax, unwind and get a better nights sleep!