By Kimaya Singh
Obstetricians often recommend prenatal Yoga to help mothers-to-be stay in shape, relax, and become more aware of their bodies. Exercises vary, depending on experience, stage of pregnancy, and individual needs. While the advice of doctors and instructors is invaluable, this is a time when every woman should be in tune with her own body and her baby’s. Prenatal Yoga is not a one-size-fits-all exercise and the rules of safety change with every trimester.
Women who already practice Yogic techniques can obviously do more complex techniques than those taking up Yoga for the first time. All pregnant women, however, should follow these following precautions.
• Adapt postures and use props, as needed.
• Use walls or chairs for support as the center of gravity shifts.
• Avoid exercises that exert the abdominal muscles.
• Use moderation when deciding how long a session should be.
• Discontinue postures that cause pain, nausea, fatigue, or dizziness.
• Move slowly and intentionally; avoid sudden movements.
• Maintain a balanced breathing pattern.
• Be careful not to force or overstretch joints and muscles; they soften during pregnancy.
• Use bare feet and a mat to maintain stability.
• Stop and see a doctor immediately at the first sign of bleeding.
The body changes little during the first trimester, but nausea and fatigue can interfere with normal exercise routines. Many woman experience relief from symptoms during the second trimester while others experience minor discomforts, such as dizziness, swollen feet, swollen ankles, and aching backs – all of which can be helped with Yoga training. During the final trimester, poses become more difficult, but breathing exercises help to ease anxiety and prepare for the labor process.
Generally speaking, pregnant students should avoid the following poses.
• Boat Pose
• Downward-Facing-Dog Pose
• Upward-Facing-Dog Pose
• Bow Pose
• Corpse Pose
• Cobra Pose
• Crane Pose
• Four-Limbed-Staff Pose
Pregnant women should not do the following kinds of exercises:
• Anything that requires holding the breath; for example, abdominal locks
• Leg lifts, twists, backward bends, or other exercises that exert pressure on the abdominal muscles
• Inversions or postures that require lying flat on the back or stomach
Certain styles of Yoga may be risky for expectant mothers. Bikram, also known as Hot Yoga, can raise the mother’s core temperature and endanger the baby, while strenuous forms, like Ashtanga, may be too intense.
Prenatal Yoga increases awareness, alleviates discomfort, and facilitates labor. With experienced guidance from a certified prenatal Yoga teacher and appropriate modifications, any woman can enjoy its benefits.
© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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