Over the past few years the interest in yoga has increased. Yoga studios and classes are in abundance and more accessible. Also within the last few years, we’ve been seeing a lot of women engaging in Prenatal yoga. Now I know, some of us don’t want to lift a finger during pregnancy. However, it is good to get your blood flowing and joints moving while you’re pregnant. Prenatal yoga does just that and more. It has many benefits for our minds and bodies.

Prenatal yoga can really help you relax by reducing stress and anxiety. It focuses on stretching the body, centering your mind, and controlled breathing. Doing yoga while pregnant increases your flexibility, strength, and endurance of your child birth muscles. It helps to prepare your body for labor and promotes your baby’s health. At the same time, it can decrease lower back pain, nausea, and headaches.

What happens during a class?

These classes encourage you to breathe deeply and slowly through the nose. This comes in handy when contractions begin during labor. These breathing techniques also help to manage shortness of breath. During the class you’ll learn how to gently move various parts of your body through full range of motion. You will perform different postures standing, sitting, or lying down. The poses help to develop strength, flexibility, and balance. Props such as blankets, cushions, and belts will be incorporated to provide support and comfort.

The class will end with a cool down and relaxation period. This will relax the muscles you used during the yoga session. Your heart rate and breathing will be restored to their natural rhythm. You may be advised to listen to your own breathing to help you focus. Paying attention to sensations, thoughts, and emotions brings a state of awareness and inner calm. Having a state of awareness and inner calm can aid in reducing stress and anxiety.

Not Recommended…

Some types of yoga aren’t recommended for pregnant women. Prenatal, Hatha, and Restorative yoga are best for pregnant women. If you’re pregnant avoid Bikram yoga. Bikram yoga is also known as “hot yoga”. It includes strenuous poses in a room heated up between 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid Ashtanga yoga and any other types that may be too vigorous.

Safety 1st!

As always consult your health care provider before you begin any yoga regimen. Let your doctor confirm if it is okay for you to do Prenatal yoga. Yoga may not be for you if you’re at risk for preterm labor, heart disease, back problems, or other medical conditions. If you are approved to do yoga, make sure to pace yourself. If you can’t speak normally, you’re probably pushing yourself to hard. Set realistic goals that you can achieve. Most pregnant women are advised to be active for at least 30 minutes a day. Some doctors may recommend being active on most or all days. This is not a requirement. Less frequent and shorter times will still do the trick!

Give It a Try!

I can’t stress enough how many benefits Prenatal yoga offers. As the baby grows our bodies require more strength and energy to carry the extra weight. Doing yoga helps build strength in our hips, back, arms, and shoulders. The growing baby puts stress on these muscle groups. As our belly increases our hips tighten from the added pressure making our back curve. Yoga can help relieve the tension in the muscle groups listed above.

Our balance can be compromised as the baby grows as well. We can fine tune our balance as we focus on breathing through each pose. Learning controlled deep breathing can calm our nervous system. A calm nervous system helps our bodies properly digest food, sleep better, and optimize our immune system. So, what are you waiting for, give it a try. Prenatal, Hatha, and Restorative yoga classes are offered all the time and in numerous areas. You can even save money by looking up these yoga classes on Groupon. You would be surprised by what you might find. Happy yoga!