In recent years pregnancy yoga classes have become increasingly popular amongst mums-to-be. As research concludes that yoga is safe in pregnancy, it is not unusual for pregnant ladies to find themselves on a waiting list for a class; waiting to reap the benefits of practicing yoga.
Benefits of yoga in pregnancy:
- A great form of relaxation that improves sleep by reducing stress and anxiety
- Increases strength, flexibility and stamina of muscles which help with childbirth
- Decreases lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches and breathlessness
Aside from the many physical benefits of yoga, it is also an opportunity to connect with other pregnant women and form a friendship bond. Many go on to attend mother and baby yoga classes together and often stay friends long after baby has grown up.
As with all exercises in pregnancy, you must take care and not over exert yourself. The general precautions you should take are:
- Avoid lying on your back, especially after the first trimester.
- Avoid head stands and shoulder stands
- Avoid extreme stretches of the abs
- Take care not to dehydrate
It is recommended you join a pregnancy yoga group so that a qualified instructor can assess you and advise you on the correct poses that are best for you. Some poses are not recommended, especially if you are showing signs of premature labour.
Typical pregnancy yoga poses:
Standing Mountain – a great warm up for your muscles
Supported Triangle – this will strengthen and stretch your entire body
Cat / Cow Sequence – great for flexing and strengthening your back and abs
Supported Squat – can be used as a preparation move for birth (not recommended for all)
Child’s Pose – perfect for cooling down, relaxing and relieving lower back pain