Before I was pregnant, I thought I would be able to keep up with running when I was expecting. I have been so wrong. I have run, but not at the same intensity, frequency or mileage as before. Instead, I have turned back to yoga. My goal has been to go to a class at least once a week and then practice a bit on my own the rest of the week. Throughout this current journey I have discovered many things about practicing yoga while pregnant. I wanted to share some tips on the best way to find the right prenatal yoga class/practice for you.
Tips for practicing yoga while pregnant:
- Talk to your doctor about what is safe to do. My OB advised not to attend any heated fitness classes or do movements that compress the belly, aka ab work. You might have other modifications depending on your health history and current condition.
- Ask questions of the studio beforehand. First, if the class isn’t labeled as prenatal, let the instructor know you are pregnant (don’t assume it’s obvious) and where you might have any pain or discomfort. A good instructor will suggest modifications to do.
- During class, don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with. You know your body better than anyone!
- Try out different studios and prenatal classes to find what is best for you. I have found vast differences among classes labeled as prenatal. In one class, we only stood for a couple of poses, while in another class we did a “normal” flow-style class in which the instructor taught modifications to do for various poses. The idea was that you could then take any other class and know how to safely modify the practice for pregnancy.
- Use props to help you. Your balance gets thrown off as your baby grows. I find myself needing props to help make me more comfortable and get the most out of the poses. In savasana, for example, I place two blocks toward the back of the mat (where my head would normally be) with a bolster placed lengthwise on top of it. I then sit with my low back against the bolster and I lean back and rest on the bolster for an elevated savasana.
- Widen your stances. You will find that you might need to place your feet wider apart in many poses, like Warrior, any lunges, or standing forward folds.
- Don’t compare yourself to the other women in the class. No pregnancy is the same and students in the class won’t all have the same energy or practice. Don’t feel badly about yourself if you can’t seem to move in the same ways as before or as other people. Focus on your own mat, body and baby!
Do you practice yoga?