Despite its physical challenges, we all identify yoga practice as a means for relaxing and nurturing our bodies. And in the midst of the aches, sickness, and general discomfort of pregnancy, there may seem to be no more ideal workout when carrying your little one.
True; but only if you’re educated. There are many benefits to practicing yoga during pregnancy, but there also are some dangers if you’re not properly practicing. Thanks to prenatal yoga experts Kat Saks and Jennifer Lux, who led a special prenatal yoga workshop at Vital Yogal Cherry Creek last week, here are some benefits of pregnancy practice, as well as some things to watch out for.
• Many yoga poses open the “side bodies” and abdominal space. This creates more room for baby (meaning more comfort for mama too!) without placing stress on supportive ligaments.
• Yoga can be used to strengthen deeper core muscles, providing extra back strength and support as weight increases. Similarly, the strengthening and stretching techniques also can alleviate joint aches.
• When executed properly, many poses can be used at the end of pregnancy to move baby into optimal birthing position for an easy labor and birth with reduced pain.
• Yoga increases breath awareness and incorporates relaxation techniques that can be used for pain management during labor.
• Look for prenatal yoga classes as these are tailored for safe pregnancy practice. If you attend a regular class, be sure to let the teacher know that you’re modifying.
• Avoid twists, inversions, and core work, especially in early pregnancy. These moves can cause the baby to separate from the uterine wall, which can lead to miscarriage. In later pregnancy, it simply may become difficult or painful to execute these poses properly.
• Utilize different tools such as blocks, bolsters, and blankets to practice with more ease.
• Listen to your body. With physical and hormonal changes constantly occurring throughout pregnancy, what you are and are not capable of also will continually change.