By Sangeetha Saran
Pregnancy is a special time in a woman’s life. Thinking about prenatal Yoga classes in your first trimester? Make sure your Yoga teacher has been trained for prenatal classes. This is not a time for gambling. Most prenatal Yoga teacher training courses require 100 hours of practice and study. Make sure your yoga teacher has an extra specialist credential for teaching prenatal yoga.
Pregnancy is a great opportunity to relax and turn your attention inwards. Hormones released during pregnancy cause dramatic changes in the body. For example: the hormone relaxin, softens the connective tissue, cartilage, and supports the joints to prepare for an easier delivery. Any asana or pranayama technique that doesn’t make you feel good should be stopped immediately.
Prenatal Yoga helps to prepare the body and mind for labor and birth. Due to hormonal changes overstretching may occur. In some cases, pushing the stretching can cause injury to the joints, tendons and muscles. Also, the first trimester is crucial part of pregnancy, so yoga should be done with modification and great caution, considering the possibility of miscarriage. There is an opinion that most asana should be avoided during the first trimester, and I agree with this viewpoint for the following reasons:
If a woman had one or more miscarriages previously; or is now threatening to miscarry in this pregnancy, all exercises should be avoided until after 16th week. If she has any bleeding at all, she should stop exercising until she has investigated the cause with her doctor.
Practicing yoga postures is not a strenuous activity and unlikely to be the cause of miscarriage, but as a precaution it is wise to begin practice after your pregnancy is well established. Now we will look over precautions different poses.
1. Standing Poses: Many women feel faint and dizzy in first trimester. It can be caused by posture, anemia and postural low blood pressure. Hence standing poses should be done without holding the pose for too long.
2. Sitting Poses: In sitting poses deep twists should be avoided. Deep twists from belly may compress internal organs including uterus which will be harmful for baby. E.g. “Ardha matshendrasana”. In this asana there is great pressure on the lower abdomen and you have to twist deeply from belly. So twisting poses can be done from upper back and shoulders.
3. Back Bends: Deep back bends should be avoided because it causes overstretching. Generally deep back bends strengthen the abdominal muscles, also abdominal and pelvic organs. E.g. “Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)”.
4. Inversions: Inversions are helpful in pregnancy by using the wall. Sometimes a woman may not feel comfortable doing it so best is avoid it.
5. Prone Poses (Abdominal strengthener): Abdominal strengthener should completely be avoided in this period because abdomen gets completely compressed and it stimulates the internal organs. E.g. “Naukasana.” As the fetus is still implanting in the uterus it’s not good to do this.
6. Pranayama: Pranayama requiring breath retention (Kumbhaka) is not good for both mother and baby as it may cut off blood supply to baby. E.g. “Kapalbhati”. Over breathing is also harmful. Hyperventilation may cause light headache and feeling of nausea.
These points must be considered before starting to practice prenatal yoga.
© Copyright 2011 – Sangeetha Saran / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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