Prenatal yoga tips

What an exciting yet scary (especially if it’s your first) time! Generally, yoga is one of the safest and most recommended forms of exercise for mamas-to-be. Remember, in yoga, whether prenatal or not, there are consistent aims: listen to your body, stay true to you in every moment, be present, pay attention, be kind to yourself, and take deep breaths. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it!

Once you find out you’re pregnant, avoid any heating pranayama or retention. Stay away from Bikram or very hot yoga (like our 35 degree Celsius classes). Your body releases a hormone called relaxin as your pregnancy progresses and your body prepares to deliver. This allows your ligaments to lengthen for the birthing process. So be careful not to overstretch!

First Trimester (0 to 13 weeks)

If you have a regular yoga practice, you can continue going to your regular classes. Be sure to let the instructor know that you are pregnant, and follow a few simple guidelines to keep you and your baby safe, happy and healthy.

The first trimester is the most fragile time in a pregnancy. The fetus is trying to implant, so avoid inversions, closed twists or jumps.

If you have never done yoga before, now is not the time to start a regular yoga class. Wait until the second trimester, or if your doctor has cleared you, try a prenatal yoga class.

Get in the habit of tuning in to your body and listening to what it wants. You may be feeling tired and nauseated, so give yourself permission to take it easy if that's the case.

To meet the needs of your changing metabolism, eat a light meal or snack about an hour before class and drink plenty of liquids.

Second Trimester (14 to 28 weeks)

Generally, in the second trimester, any morning sickness tends to go away and the first trimester fatigue starts to lift.

If jumping and inversions were in your practice before pregnancy, and they feel good, you can bring them back safely.

Avoid any poses on your belly e.g. cobra, locust and bow pose. Stop any intense abdominal work like boat pose or crow pose and other arm balances to avoid abdominal separation.

Third Trimester (29 to 40 weeks)

The fatigue that hopefully left you in the second trimester has returned. Your belly is larger, most likely leading to back pain. There may be fluid retention, heart burn and / or indigestion, and you may be having trouble finding a comfortable position to sleep in. Your yoga practice should focus on opening, preparing for birth (with lots of hip openers), and nurturing yourself and your baby.

Avoid poses that involve lying on your back for extended periods of time. Instead, prop yourself up at an angle with blocks, bolsters, or pillows if you are at home. If you are in savasana, you can lie on your left side to avoid compressing the vena cava.

Do any balancing poses at a wall or with a chair. Your ever-changing body will knock even the most centered yogi off balance at times.