What I Learned at Prenatal Yoga
As a yoga teacher, during my 200 Hr training we did an overview on prenatal, the basics really, and sat in to take notes on a prenatal workshop. That was almost 2 years ago now and the information is a tad bit more relevent.
As I mentioned in this post, my Dr didn't want me taking hot power yoga classes during the first tri-mester which is mainly what I practice. At first that felt tough, but then as I started to feel yucky, being hot and upsidedown didn't even sound that great. The idea of being sweaty and moving really fast wasn't sounding delightful for my body but I still wanted to understand what yoga should or could look like for my changing body.
So I took a prenatal workshop at my home studio, by a fellow teacher who specializes in prental and I got some valueable tidbits!
Rules Around Prenatal Yoga
1) Don't Hold Anything For Too Long: With the extra relaxin running through our bodies durring pregnancy, holding things for too long can strain muscles and joints by allowing them to stretch past the point that they naturally should.
2) Don't Overstretch Just Because You Can: For the same reason as #1, you are super limber during pregnancy but that's no reason to push it. Know your body. If you could do things before, go for it but be cautious. If you couldn't do, say the splits before, but suddenly you're able to slide into it now, probably NOT a good idea to do.
3) Avoid Twisting & Compressing Your Midsection: During pregnancy your organs have to shift around to make room for the baby so putting more pressure on them by twisting can cause discomfort and worse, can cause them to shift more. At a certain point when the belly gets big twists just generally become challanging so avoid them or don't take them so deeply.
4) Avoid Deep Backbends: This one is tricky because I see lots of super pregnant women doing big backbends on Instagram and I'm not here to say they shouldn't or judge if it worked for them or felt good. But the general idea, as I undestand it, is that it's just a stretch that isn't necessary and can cause tearing of the abs (also advisable not to do tons of intense crunches or ab work because your belly is gonna be stretching a lot!)
5) Later in Pregnancy Avoid Inversions: Just like #4 there are of course people who do this until the end but with the fact that your balance is a little off during pregnancy the chances of falling out are higher and that in itself is a little dangerous. Besides for that, if you are really far along and your baby is facing down, doing inversions could end up moving the baby into an undesirable position for giving birth.
- Use blocks: there's no reason to push anything so be more aware of using props to help with stability and to avoid over stretching
- Use open arms in twists: as I mentioned above it's not ideal to twist deeply, and might not be possible with your belly, a good modification is keeping your arms open (in a chair twist for example) or to twist in the opposite direction (in a revolved pyramid for example)
- Use blankets & bolsters: some women find that their knees really hurt or their feet get tingly in poses like childs, so opt for folding up a blanket under your knees or behind your knees between them and your hamstrings as you sink your hips back. Resting your chest on a bolster in poses like childs is a great support option as well.
Generally speaking, make sue you are comfortable. Don't push things that don't feel right. But if something feels great, go for it, with some caution. It's important to remember that yoga will look different for everyone during pregnancy. For me I'm still figuring out what place my yoga practice will hold in my body during this time but it's exciting and a little scary to be figuring it out.