You’re pregnant too?! Congratulations!
Livin' La Vida Yoga is story of my life. In June 2018 we were blessed with the most exciting news ever! We will become parents! I am pregnant! There is a little human being growing inside of me! How many weeks pregnant I was? Eight or nine weeks. First thing that crossed my mind was the flash back of my recent life events and all the bottles of beer, Club Colombia Roja, I had in Columbia and the fact that I am practicing YOGA almost every day! But I remembered the words of my teacher - if you already have an established yoga practice, you can continue practicing yoga also during your pregnancy but with modifications, offer as many adjustments possible, avoid twists that compress the belly, deeper forward folds, strong back bends and abs workout.
Prenatal Yoga classes are warm and welcoming and they provide a "safe" environment to share your experience and emotions, where information is exchanged and questions answered. Most prenatal classes are suitable for all levels, including those students who have never done yoga before. But this doesn’t mean that a prenatal sequence won’t give your body a workout. Part of the benefit of practicing yoga while pregnant is that you get a chance to experience strong physical sensations in a safe place. I understand that you can feel sick or tired, listening what you should do and especially what you are not supposed to do! You are a Mama now! But you need to do it with an eye to how things feel right now, and adjusting postures almost daily in subtle ways. The second you see that second line on your pregnancy test, you are overwhelmed and you start to feel the endless joy and endless responsibility that come with your new role. Sometimes all at once, you feel happiness but also fear, and confusion at the conflict between these emotions. And its fine! I have been there myself, and in Prenatal classes we hold space for your feelings.
A prenatal yoga practice provides a perfect opportunity for mums-to-be to practice self care and to bond with their growing baby. This is so important! Bonding is so essential! Yoga will give you the opportunity to get to know your body and to build the confidence in your ability to give birth. It will help you to meet your changing physical and emotional needs, allowing you to release any tension and soreness, and maintain toned muscles and healthy range of motion. All of this not only helps you dear Mama to feel great in your pregnant body, but also prepares your body, mind, and spirit for the “Big Day”.
Giving birth is one of the most physical things you'll ever do. I guess you would not run a marathon without preparation, so let me ask you, so why would you not prepare for the miracle of birth? In a Prenatal class the asanas (postures) are modified specifically for pregnancy, not necessarily to make the poses “easier,” but to make them more safe and accessible for you. Firstly, asanas will help build strength and stamina, and improve circulation. Secondly, pranayama breathing exercises, will help manage the pain of contractions. Last but not least, meditation can improve the abilities to relax and to concentrate.
During my pregnancy I have visited regular hatha and vinyasa classes, and adjusted my practice to the trimester I was in. For me it was impossible to find a Prenatal yoga class after or prior my work. But why is that? I am sure that many mums-to-be still go to work almost until 32 weeks pregnant or until they start with maternity leave, right!? For that reason I namedl my classes “After Work Mama Flow”?
First Trimester (0 to 13 weeks)
Many pregnant moms don't feel quite ready to jump into a prenatal yoga class until they’re into their second trimester. This might be a good decision for you if you’re experiencing a lot of morning sickness or fatigue which are typical for the first trimester. This is less about the yoga practice being unsafe for the pregnancy and more about moms’ comfort and peace of mind.
Why it is recommended to join from for 13 weeks of pregnancy onwards? During the first trimester both beginning and experienced yogis should only do a gentle practice or none at all, as the fetus is still implanting and the risk of miscarriage is highest. Midwifes and doctors usually advise that if you already have a strong practice, you can continue yoga with modifications.
Second Trimester (13 to 28 weeks)
Congratulations! You made it and now it is time for yoga! Take it easy and listen to your body and rest when you feel tired. The second trimester for many mums-to-be is the easiest three months of pregnancy. Morning sickness subsides and you feel more energised. Most of my friends begun their yoga practice exactly during the second trimester. Lying on your belly will become more limited and eventually impossible.The hormone relaxin will start to kick in, so you do need to be aware that you stay within your existing boundaries of stretching.
Third Trimester (28 to 40 weeks)
Once you start the third trimester, you may notice the pregnancy “honeymoon” is over. I heard a rumor that that things are starting to get real! You might agree with me that balance becomes an issue as does the weight of your growing baby. Some experts advise against lying on your back for extended periods of time after the sixth month - to avoid putting pressure on the vena cava (a large vein that runs along the side of the spine and curves behind the uterus). With the hormone relaxin present in the body during pregnancy, all of the ligaments of the pelvis are loose. Staying strong in pregnancy is great when it’s done with an equal amount of relaxation. Take it easy and listen to your body and rest when you feel tired.
So if you decide to explore the world of yoga during your pregnancy I have one last recommendation: to meet the needs of your changing metabolism, eat a light meal or snack about an hour before class, drink plenty of liquids, and don't take it easy and don't push yourself.
Dear Mama, be mindful and cautious, listen to your inner voice and follow your intuition. Listen to your body’s whisperings. But don’t give up your practice.