What is Prenatal Yoga?
Prenatal yoga is a great way to stay active during pregnancy. It is both gentle and low-impact yoga that offers physical and mental benefits. Prenatal yoga is an adaptable approach to exercise that engages the mind and spirit along with the body. Prenatal yoga focuses on gentle stretching and strengthening and developing greater awareness of the breath during pregnancy.
It is a form of exercise and meditation where breath and specific body positions are used to help connect the mind and body. Prenatal yoga focuses on positions that are specifically designed for pregnant women’s bodies.
Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
- It improves your sleep.
- Reduces stress and anxiety.
- Increases the strength, flexibility, and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth.
- Decreases lower back pain, nausea, headaches, and shortness of breath.
Pregnancy yoga tips by trimester
First trimester: Since you’re feeling fatigued, make sure to take breaks and change your yoga positions. And if you’re suffering from morning sickness, replace the downward dog with hands and knees (cat-cow positioning) not because the downward dog is unsafe, but just because having your head below your belly can make you feel more nauseous.
Second trimester: If you’re experiencing the second-trimester energy surge, it’s a good time to master the stretching and strengthening moves including squats and stretches that tone the pelvic area and open the hips that will help to prepare your body for labor.
Third trimester: As the baby grows and your center of gravity moves forward, you’re feeling uncomfortable. This makes your last few weeks of pregnancy a good time to focus on meditation and breathing techniques to calm your heart rate and help you to feel more centered. It helps you to relieve any anxiety you might feel about your upcoming birth and learning how to control your breathing now will pay off in labor and delivery.
Prenatal Yoga Exercises to Try at Home
Cobbler's or tailor's pose
- It strengthens the pelvic floor and psoas muscles and hip flexors.
- Increasing lung capacity.
- It helps in increasing your focus.
- It increases the blood circulation on the pelvic floor
- Helps in balancing emotions.
Cow/Cat stretch yoga
- It improves posture and balance of the body.
- Strengthens the spine and neck.
- Stretches the hips, abdomen, and back.
- Massages and stimulates organs in the belly like the kidneys and adrenal glands.
- Creates emotional balance.
- Relieves stress and calms the mind.
Standing back bend
- It improves Muscles and Flexibility.
- It regulates blood pressure.
- This stretching improves the functioning of the lungs and reduces any respiratory disorders.
- It improves cardiovascular and endocrine systems.
- It helps to lower the blood pressure along with the heart rate, as the heart is not taking the weight of the body in the laydown position.
- The heart is in a better position when it is not under pressure since lying down on the right side helps to pump blood in a smooth and less restricted way.
- It encourages the food waste to move easily from the small intestine into the large intestine.