Prenatal yoga is one of the best ways to stay active and healthy during pregnancy.
It is gentle and low-impact, offering a wide variety of physical and mental benefits for mamas-to-be.
You will enjoy better quality sleep, feel more energetic, develop flexibility and endurance in your muscles, and be primed for labour and childbirth.
Whether you are new to the practice or an experienced yogi, this holistic approach to exercise will engage your body, mind, and spirit.
But the question is, how do you get started – do you jump right in or ease into it?
Greendigo is your prenatal yoga instructor for the day, so take a deep breath and get ready to asana.
Here are our top 5 ways to safely begin.
Your health is your priority - check in with your doctor first
The vital first step of any prenatal exercise is to, well, exercise caution. Before you begin, check with your provider to make sure it's okay for you to start or continue a yoga program. If you get the green light, find an instructor trained in prenatal yoga, or at the very least, make sure your instructor knows which trimester you are in.
Evaluate whether a private or group class would be more suitable
Would you benefit from the personal attention of a private class or the camaraderie of a group class? The former is a wonderful way to meet fellow mamas in a supportive and relaxed setting. The latter allows you to enjoy a class that is customised to your needs, which is especially helpful during a challenging pregnancy.
Centre yourself with a breathing exercise
Work on your breathing as a daily habit. Inhale through one nostril, hold the breath, and release through the other nostril. This way, you are getting into the right mindset and will be more receptive to the healing benefits of yoga. For those who are new to the practice, you will find this technique to be helpful in calming your nervous system.
Get into a comfortable position
Ease into your prenatal yoga routine with Sukhasana, also known as the comfort pose. This posture requires little effort and consistency to master and hence is a good place to start. Sit on a mat with your legs outstretched, bend one of your legs and place it under the opposite thigh, and do the same with the other. Sit up straight, with your head, neck, and trunk aligned.
Make use of props for support
Listen to your body. Gauge what it needs. And if required, make use of props such as a yoga block, strap, or tie. Your instructor will guide you on how to use these to your advantage. For those exercises that require you to lean against a wall, you can also turn to a cushion. Remember, your joints loosen up during pregnancy, so ease into yoga positions slowly and carefully.
For some women, prenatal yoga works best on weekday mornings, for others, evenings and weekends are ideal.
Experiment, try different options, and work out what’s best for you.