Is Yoga safe while pregnant? The short answer is yes! Taking a prenatal yoga class is a great way to reduce anxiety during pregnancy.
Benefits include decreasing lower back pain and headaches and increasing strength and flexibility in preparation for childbirth. There are, however, certain limitations when practicing yoga during pregnancy. Remember: yoga can safely be practiced by almost anyone, but the different poses must be adapted for each individual.
For safety reasons, pregnant women attending regular yoga classes need to inform their yoga teacher of their pregnancy and also indicate the trimester they’re in. Depending on how far along you are, certain asanas (poses) should be avoided or adapted so that pregnant mothers can still benefit from yoga.
During pregnancy, mothers should steer clear of Bikram (hot yoga) and should refrain from performing any asanas that put too much strain on the abdominal muscles.
Poses that can be safely performed during pregnancy are the Cat-Cow, Butterfly Stretch, Triangle Pose. However, the Cobra and Seated Forward Bend can also be done using modifications.
Poses to avoid include handstands, headstands, upward bows, back bends, and anything performed on one leg (though these can be done with the aid of a chair or while resting against the wall).
Mindfulness And Meditation
During pregnancy, women may also want to consider other stress-relieving interventions like practicing Mindfulness and Meditation which is beneficial for anyone trying to improve their ability to handle emotional distress and increase their general well-being (which makes it a great program for pregnant women).
Mindfulness can be practiced solo, with like-minded friends or in group training sessions.
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) sessions consist of weekly group sessions guided by a therapist, but the main work is done at home using guided meditations and homework exercises. The program should help mothers understand their own mind, break old habits and be kinder and more accepting of themselves.
Practicing mindfulness and meditation during pregnancy will help women listen to their bodies, improve their sleep, bring them peace of mind, release tension and it could also lower their risk of postpartum depression.
If you’re feeling a bit skeptical about mindfulness and pregnancy meditation, why not try a free online guided meditation to see the benefits for yourself. There are several apps available for download.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you through your pregnancy, whether it be through Yoga, breathing meditation or MBCT counselling sessions, get in touch with Janet Haughton Quarshie of Atha Jiva today. We’ll be more than happy to answer your questions and help design the perfect program for you.