Prenatal yoga has so many benefits, mentally, physically and emotionally. Despite this, during my first pregnancy I was nervous to continue with my regular yoga practice, feeding into every warning I had heard about exercising during pregnancy. As a result, my lack of activity hindered my postpartum recovery, and I had an especially hard time getting moving again after my daughter was born.
Knowing that I wanted to have more children AND continue my yoga practice, I decided to take matters into my own hands by completing my 200 hour yoga teacher certification as well as specialized training to teach prenatal yoga classes.
Now not only am I way more confident to continue my own yoga practice during my second pregnancy, I am able to teach prenatal classes with confidence, knowing that the classes I offer are safe for women at any stage in their pregnancy.
The most important takeaway when practicing yoga during pregnancy is to listen to your body. Listening to what your body needs takes practice, and yoga is a great way to help connect your body and mind. If you are like me, you typically use your brain to make most decisions logically, forgetting about what your body is trying to tell you.
Perhaps you have experienced this before when you are super busy with no real end in sight . . . and then you get sick. This is an obvious sign that your body is telling you to slow down. In the same way, when you are exercising or in a yoga class, you may be following exactly what the teacher is instructing without checking in with yourself to see if it is working for your body that day, and setting yourself up for injury or illness.
Are you feeling a sharp pain in your knee during pigeon pose? Are you getting a dizzy sensation while in a forward fold? This is your body giving you little cues that something isn’t right. Take a moment to sit or lay down and breathe until it passes, instead of ignoring these feelings or thinking about how you may appear weak or inexperienced by sitting something out.
On the flip side, something may feel really good – these cues are usually easier to notice. if this is the case, don’t be shy to linger in the pose.
By practicing mindfulness during yoga class, you’re developing a self-awareness which can also be a great tool for getting you through labor, and life as a new mom.
Here are my five favourite poses to do during pregnancy. Doing these poses before bed will only take 5 – 10 minutes and can help you calm your mind, while preparing your body for labour and postpartum recovery.
1. Garland Pose