By Cheryl MacDonald BA Hons CYT E-RPYT
As much as you may have wanted to become pregnant, it can still create a number of conflicting emotions when those two little lines appear on the pregnancy test. Practicing yoga during pregnancy can help you work through these emotions and help you stay healthy.
Yoga in pregnancy helps you maintain your flexibility and health. It can also help you to become positive about birth and parenting. Here are some things you probably didn’t know about yoga for pregnancy and birth:-
Yoga is not a cult!
People have lots of preconceived ideas about what yoga is and who ‘should’ practice it. Anyone can do yoga, it helps you become flexible and calm so don’t be put off by serene looking photos of people with their legs around their neck!
Find a teacher to suit your needs
It’s important to find a yoga teacher that’s right for you especially if you’re new to yoga. Look for a yoga teacher that can cater for all levels and make you feel comfortable wherever you are in your pregnancy or your yoga journey. It is important to attend a class with a fully qualified teacher for pregnant women accredited by the IYN and IPTI. If your prospective teacher does not hold a reputable Yoga Teacher Training qualification look elsewhere!
You don’t need any experience
Don’t worry if you’ve never tried yoga before. Its very likely that the rest of the class will have done very little or no yoga at all before attending. Your pregnancy yoga teacher will set a steady pace. The focus is on practising at the level you feel comfortable at – everyone will be at a different stage of pregnancy and feel differently so it is important to focus on what feels best for you (and baby.)
Learn to listen to your body
The most important thing is not to force yourself (or baby) to do anything you don’t feel comfortable with. It’s important to listen to your body’s signals.
Learn to slow down
If you have practised yoga before or perhaps have been a dedicated runner or gymnast, prenatal yoga can help you come to terms with the fact that it’s no longer just about you! Super fit mums can often find it hard to slow down during pregnancy, but this is just as important as keeping fit. Realizing that you can’t do everything the way you used to before you were pregnant is the first lesson in being a parent.
A pregnancy yoga class isn’t just about keeping fit. As well as especially adapted yoga postures which are safe and beneficial during pregnancy, pregnancy yoga helps you to learn breathing techniques to use to calm and soothe the mind. These can be used during pregnancy, birth and beyond.
Get baby into position
During the pregnancy yoga class your teacher will lead discussions on useful postures to help get baby into the correct position for birth and to help turn a breech baby.
Your teacher will look at postures and positions you can assume during labour and birth to assist baby’s easy entry into the world.
Enjoy relaxation and self hypnosis
At the end of class, pregnancy yoga often includes a deep relaxation and self hypnosis session, which practised regularly helps mum remain calm and positive about pregnancy and birth. And yes, we do have lots of sleeping mummies during this part!
Meet other mums
Pregnancy yoga classes are the perfect place to meet other likeminded mummies. It’s so important to meet other mums locally who are at the same stage in life as you and going through the same thing. Peer support will help you through the ups and downs of pregnancy and parenthood and reassure you that you and your baby are ‘normal’ and that someone else has probably had the same issue.