A healthy lifestyle means making choices that promote physical, mental, and emotional health.
Pregnancy is the perfect time to start or maintain a yoga practice. A pregnant woman can greatly benefit from the calming effects and preparatory powers of yoga. Your health care provider will often recommend yoga for your general well-being, and you may visit a general hatha yoga class with an instructor who is not trained in prenatal yoga modifications. While it is recommended that a future mother attend specialized prenatal yoga classes, general yoga asana classes may be made suitable for pregnant students with some basic but vital modifications.
Two types of pregnant yoga students
It is beneficial to distinguish two types of prenatal students: those who have been practicing yoga constantly for a period of time before conception, and have continued to practice during pregnancy, and those who are new to yogaor they are returning to yoga prenatally after a long absence.
It is important to consider this variation when modifying your asana practice. I adjust very little to the postures and alignment of established professionals, out of contraindication. A practicing yogi knows his body and his preferences on the carpet.
As a rule, an experienced yogi can maintain his or her usual practice as long as he or she feels comfortable, pain-free, and follows the advice of his or her health care provider. Giving him space to practice what comes naturally will allow his intuition to develop on the mat. You can derive your own prenatal modifications as your pregnancy progresses to feel your body from the inside out, a skill needed to navigate the internal processes of childbirth.
Prenatal Yoga Modifications
The practice of a newcomer, or a returning student, should be appropriate for the stage of her pregnancy, whether she is in her first trimester and still does not appear pregnant or is in full swing. her last weeks of gestation. . In general, avoid overheating expectant students with harsh sun salutations, vinyasas, or a warm room without adequate ventilation.
Prevent students from being hit on the stomach or back with a baby blow, offering different positions with similar results, such as an easy camel position instead of the lobster position. Introduce alternatives to inversions, such as placing your legs against the wall with a booster cushion under your spine to lift your heart. It is important to keep all positions of rotation very simple, where the front of the body can remain open by turning from the legs, and not towards them. Finally, an ideal position for shavasana is lying on the left side with a blanket between the legs and another under the head.
During pregnancy, both well-practiced yoga students and beginners should implement the basics of prenatal alignment. Starting with the feet, the pregnant woman’s posture should always be at a hip distance, or a little wider, instead of touching your toes. Standing with the distance between the hips between the feet distributes the weight more evenly across the feet, supporting healthy foot arches and providing space for the enlarged pelvis. The curve of the lower back is emphasized during pregnancy, which can lead to the most common prenatal discomfort, lumbar lordosis. This translates into the movement that is often observed in the gait of the pregnant woman and is associated with back pain and fatigue.
Encourage your pregnant student to do this turn your toes slightly inward to alleviate this common pregnancy symptom. At first, you may feel like pigeon feet, but with practice, this posture will become the new norm, allowing you to get up and out of your lower back. Turning the toes inward removes weight from the femoral heads and relieves stress on the sacroiliac joints and lower back. The position of the wide legs and toes inwards, combined with a slightly bent knee, lengthens the spine and allows proper gait without the movement of the pregnancy.
Maintaining the above bending your knees will greatly improve mobility and flexibility in your prenatal students. Forward folds, when practiced with proper alignment of the feet and knees deeply bent, can be practiced safely during pregnancy, creating a much needed length on the back of the body. Sun-modified greetings can be practiced if the feet are well aligned and the knees are softened, as well as the squats, which prepares the legs and pelvic floor for the rigors of childbirth. Keeping your knees bent ensures adequate blood flow between the lower and upper regions of the body and decreases the likelihood of sciatic nerve pain or dizziness.
While your legs may be straight in some positions, such as trikonasana, Triangle Pose, you should always remind your pregnant students not to block their knees, instead of keeping their joints smooth, focusing more on widening. and flatten your feet to stay on the floor in the posture. .
Allow prenatal students releases and relaxes after each segment of positions, whether standing, sitting or reclining. Regular releases of hips and shoulders, elbows and knees, wrists and ankles should be applied, along with complete exhalations through the mouth. Observe her face for tension, especially in her mouth, jaw, and eyebrow, and encourage her to soften her expression.
Per exhaling through the mouth, subtle tension is released from within, and a soft face increases relaxation of the uterine muscles and pelvic floor. Swinging movements, such as hip rotations, arm swings, leg rollers, and the like, should be used during an asana practice to encourage fluidity and release. All these techniques are a natural resource to relax and unwind in both the yoga studio and the delivery room.
Learn more about prenatal yoga modifications
The presence of a future mother practicing yoga is a blessing for any yoga class. By understanding and incorporating basic prenatal modifications, you, as a yoga teacher, can feel comfortable welcoming a pregnant student to your class, regardless of your level of certification or personal experience with the pregnancy. You can support your students during their prenatal season by encouraging them through the practice of yoga as they move into motherhood. With attention to breathing, proper alignment, and enough release to balance rigor, your prenatal students can have a real yogic experience in your trusted care. For more information on prenatal yoga modifications, see our Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training.