Last updated on September 24th, 2023.
When a woman becomes pregnant, her body will go through many changes. She may become bloated, she may be tired, and she may find that her back hurts.
Yoga can be the perfect exercise regimen for pregnant women because it’s very low impact. And it offers many positives, such as lifting a woman’s mood, increasing her energy, allow her to sleep better, and so much more.
By practicing mindfulness and medication, you’ll be more prepared for all the changes your body will go through during pregnancy. And you may find that you’ll worry less during childbirth because you’ll be more in touch with your body. And, if you’re feeling less stress thanks to yoga, raising a little one may also feel easier.
When should you start prenatal yoga?
There’s really no wrong time to begin practicing prenatal yoga. However, you’ll probably find yourself feeling tired and drained during your first trimester.
And your movements may be hindered during your third trimester as you will have gotten bigger.
But, as you will be getting your energy back in your second trimester, that could be the perfect time to begin practicing prenatal yoga at home.
So, if you’re wondering what prenatal yoga is, if it’s safe to begin practicing yoga when your pregnant and how often you should practice, please keep reading below.
We’ll also give you five helpful tips for practicing prenatal yoga at home and we will discuss which type of yoga styles are best for you to practice when pregnant.
So, keep reading as we give you the lowdown on practicing prenatal yoga at home.
What is prenatal yoga?
Although we are going to be talking other gentle styles of yoga in this article and not just prenatal yoga, here’s a broad overview of a typical prenatal yoga class that you can practice in a studio or at home.
Your yoga teacher will want to know how far along you are in your pregnancy and how you are feeling.
You’ll begin the class getting in touch with your breath and you’ll set an intention for your practice
You’ll begin moving and warming up your muscles.
4.) Modified Sun Salutation
You’ll be guided through a modified Sun Salutation vinyasa. You’ll be advised to avoid the deep bends associated with a Sun Salutation and you’ll also be asked not to jump backward or forward to get in and out of poses and instead to walk.
5.) Gentle Stretches
Now that your muscles are heated up, you will be led through some gentle stretches to further awaken your body. As you stretch, you’ll be reminded to breathe, letting nourishing oxygen into your body.
Although corpse pose, or savasana is usually practiced lying flat on your back, you may be instructed to use bolsters or lie on your side, depending on far along you are. You will then be instructed to close your eyes, reengage with your breathing and remember the intention you set at the beginning of the practice. After a short while, you’ll be asked to open your eyes and regain awareness.
Hopefully, after your prenatal yoga practice, you’ll feel rested, refreshed and ready to go!
Is it safe to start yoga when pregnant?
It’s a good idea to check with a doctor before starting yoga, whether you’re pregnant or not. If your doctor gives you the OK to start practicing yoga, then by all means, begin.
As we said above, you may be too tired to practice yoga in your first trimester. But your energy will have returned in your second trimester and you will benefit from the gentle stretches you’ll get in a prenatal yoga class.
And not only will you benefit from stretching, but you may also find yourself less stressed out and able to sleep better thanks to your prenatal yoga practice.
How often should I do prenatal yoga?
Really, how often you practice prenatal yoga at home depends on which trimester you are in. Your energy levels and comfort levels will vary as you advance through your pregnancy.
And, as we’ll keep saying over and over again in this article, please listen to your body. If things don’t feel right, if you feel you don’t have the energy, or if you have unexplained pain or soreness, contact your doctor right away.
In your first trimester, as you will probably feel run-down, you may only have enough energy for one class per week. But no worries. Even the stretches and meditation from one class a week will do some good. You may feel calmer and more centered after the class and, if you’re working toward achieving mindfulness, you could carry that feeling of peacefulness with you throughout your week.
Your second trimester is a great time to stretch, meditate and increase your body’s strength. Your morning sickness will probably have disappeared, and you’ll feel more energetic.
So, if you’re up to it, feel free to practice two or three times a week. Strengthening your muscles will really help as you’ll be starting to carry more baby weight.
During your third trimester, you’ll be getting bigger. And yoga may become more difficult to practice. Simple movements may become harder to achieve. Experts suggest that people in their third trimester limit their yoga practice to one or two times a week. Even that will be enough to keep your muscles toned and allow you to strive for mindfulness.
5 Helpful Tips for Practicing Prenatal Yoga at Home
Practicing yoga during your pregnancy can be very helpful. You’ll strengthen your muscles, increase blood flow, and lower stress when practicing prenatal yoga at home. But you’ll want to make sure you are safe and comfortable. So, take a look at our 5 helpful tips for practicing prenatal yoga at home.
1.) Stay hydrated and cool.
Find a room in your house that is well-ventilated. And make sure you have water handy. You’ll want to avoid overheating.
2.) Don’t overdo it!
Try not to get out of breath. Slow and steady is the key to practicing prenatal yoga at home. And now isn’t the time to push your yourself too hard. Be gentle with yourself, listen to your body and only do what is comfortable.
3.) Avoid dangerous postures
Your doctor and online yoga teacher will tell you which yoga postures to avoid. It’s advice to refrain from twisting or doing deep forward and backward bends. And don’t forget to use props such as blocks or pillows if needed. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, contact your doctor.
4.) Have realistic and safe goals
You may be used to taking hour-long yoga classes, but while pregnant, cut that down to around a half-hour at most. And, if you feel like you can’t do a half-hour, no worries. Do what you can. And, if you feel anything out of the ordinary, cease what you are doing and inform your doctor.
5.) Make sure the teacher is fully qualified in teaching pregnant people
Whatever type of yoga you’re interested in, be it prenatal, Hatha or restorative, find an online yoga teacher who has experience in teaching yoga to pregnant women. You want someone who is fully educated on poses to avoid, alternate poses, and safe adjustments. Make sure you feel safe before you do any poses when practicing prenatal yoga at home.
Which yoga is best for pregnancy?
There are many styles of yoga practiced today. However, some are quite vigorous. When you’re planning to practice prenatal yoga at home, health professionals suggest that you stick to prenatal, Hatha or restorative yoga. Something gentle, for sure. Here are a few prenatal yoga courses online to check out. You’ll want a style of yoga that won’t have you jumping around, doing strenuous poses and lying in uncomfortable positions.
Let’s discuss the different types of yoga recommended for pregnancy and their benefits:
During the first trimester, yoga teachers suggest that their students do not jump when working through Sun Salutations. They also should not do twists or inversions. Students will benefit from yoga breathing and meditation during prenatal yoga to help with sleeping and to nourish their cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine and nervous systems. However, pregnant yoga practitioners should refrain from holding their breath when doing yoga breathing. It’s not healthy and could deprive the baby of oxygen.
When pregnant, Hatha is a great yoga to practice as it is gentle and not too strenuous. However, not all Hatha poses are indicated for pregnant women, so please tell your teacher beforehand that you are expecting, so that they can suggest alternative poses. Remember to take it easy during the class and give yourself the permission to sit out poses that feel too tough.
Also, as in the case of all yoga practiced during pregnancy, please remember to refrain from twists. Use your time practicing Hatha yoga to work on your breathing and mindfulness, which will help you feel healthier and less stressed out.
Restorative Yoga is also a great type of yoga to do during pregnancy as it calm and healing. Restorative poses will allow a pregnant woman to listen to and get in touch with her body.
Restorative Yoga will also slow your heart rate, lower blood pressure, increase energy and concentration, and reduce hypertension. Good poses to practice are Legs Up the Wall, Supported Child’s Pose, and Reclined Goddess Pose.
Pregnancy can be a stressful time. Your body is changing, you may feel bloated and uncomfortable, and you may have trouble sleeping.
Well, practicing prenatal yoga at home may be just the thing for you. If you are interested in expanding your practice, check out these prenatal yoga certifications. Whether you’ve been practicing yoga for a while or are relatively new to it, it can do wonders for your health and well-being, especially during pregnancy.
And, as we said above, you may find that you are less stressed and can sleep better, just from practicing yoga one or two times a week.
(Add some of these yoga flow tracks to your yoga routine to help get you through!)
Your yoga practice will help you prepare for and cope with the changes in your body and the stress of childbirth, so we hope you learned a lot from the topics we discussed:
- When should you start prenatal yoga?
- What is prenatal yoga?
- Is it safe to start yoga when pregnant?
- How often should I do prenatal yoga?
- 5 Helpful Tips for Practicing Prenatal Yoga at Home.
- Which yoga is best for pregnancy?
As we said above, just as long as you are mindful and listen to your body (plus talk to your doctor) you don’t need to stop practicing yoga when you become pregnant. You can practice prenatal yoga at home throughout your pregnancy and enjoy all peace and serenity it will bring you.