With a good teacher, it really is for everyone—regardless of fitness level, from “Iron Woman” to “Woman on Bed Rest.” Prenatal Yoga encourages experienced yoginis to slow down and become even more mindful of how they are moving. It also teaches those with no experience how to enjoy yoga without injury or stress.
What are the benefits of yoga?
If you do it regularly, yoga is an excellent way to improve your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. The postures may help you to:
- Improve your circulation, muscle tone and flexibility.
- Stay mentally agile through relaxation, breathing and meditation.
- Feel calm, and ease muscle tension.
When can I start doing yoga in pregnancy?
The best time to start yoga if you’ve never done it before is in the second trimester, after about 14 weeks. Yoga guidelines advise you not to try postures in the first trimester, if you’re not used to them.
Sadly, the most common time for miscarriages to happen is during the first trimester. There’s no evidence that doing yoga, or any other exercise, in the first trimester will harm your pregnancy. But, to be on the safe side, some yoga teachers will recommend that you don’t practise yoga for the first three months.
In your second trimester, you are also less likely to feel tired and sick during a long class.
Some yoga teachers recommend that if your baby was conceived using IVF, you should wait until about 20 weeks before starting classes. This is because of all you will have been through to achieve your pregnancy. Also, if you have had IVF treatment, you are more likely to be pregnant with twins or more. Multiple pregnancies carry a higher risk of miscarriage, so it’s best to be cautious.
If you do decide to practise yoga in the first trimester, keep to relaxation and breathing exercises. If you did yoga before becoming pregnant, you may want to slow down and be aware of any changes in your body.
- Are any yoga postures unsafe during pregnancy?
- The following postures and positions are not recommended during pregnancy:
- Lying on your back after 16 weeks.
- Breathing exercises that involve holding your breath or taking short, forceful breaths.
- Strong stretches or difficult positions that put you under strain.
- Lying on your tummy (prone).
- Upside-down postures (inversions).
- Back bends.
- Strong twists.