Congratulations on your pregnancy! As a Prenatal Health Coach and Yoga Teacher, one of the questions I get asked all the time is: “What are your favorite Yoga postures for a healthy pregnancy?”
No matter whether you’re new to yoga or an experienced practitioner, yoga is my most recommended form of exercise during pregnancy. Yoga helps you stay in shape, prepare for labor, minimize discomfort and back pain, ease morning sickness, control weight gain and connect to your baby. Studies show that moms-to-be who participate in prenatal yoga have a lower incidence of prenatal disorders, low birth weight babies, and lower pain and stress.
I practiced yoga through my 3 pregnancies and really loved how it made me feel. If you choose yoga as a prenatal exercise, make sure you always listen to your body: stay safe, avoid compressing your baby’s space and explore where your “new body” wants to take you.
In this article, I will explain some principles to follow and some of my favorite prenatal postures (Note: also check my post “Yoga Postures And Practices To Avoid During Pregnancy”).
Practices for your Prenatal Yoga Practice:
- Turn on your intuition. You are now practicing for two bodies and souls. Every day will be different. Try to listen to what your body needs today: if you’re feeling stressed, offer some restorative practice. If you’re tired, throw in some energizing breath work. If you’re nauseous, stay close to the floor with some grounding postures. Listen to your body and don’t push your limits.
- Be patient with your “New Body”. Very quickly, you’ll realize your practice has to change and be modified. You might be short of breath, or less flexible, or you might not be able to hold your body weight as effortlessly. It’s all good, mama. Breathe, take it easy and be patient.
- Some practice is better than no practice. I’ve had pretty challenging pregnancies in terms of morning sickness. Very often, I was tempted to skip my practice and lay down in bed. While some days I did rest, I found that “convincing myself” to practice a little was always beneficial. Even if it’s just some breath work and a couple of stretches. Avoid stagnation at all costs because it will aggravate your discomforts. Movement (even if mild and soft) and breath are always beneficial.
- Trust yourself. While caution is definitely important, let’s remove some of the anxiety and pressure that sometimes comes with rules/guidelines. Remember, you know what is best for you and your baby. With modifications as your belly grows and throws off your center of gravity/balance, there are lots of poses to play with during your nine month gestation.
My favorite postures for your Prenatal Yoga Practice:
- Sun Salutations. Although you might want your practice to slow down, keep it flowing. Since your blood volume increases so much, embody the water element and let it flow. Your new body calls for liquid movement and dance.
- Standing, power poses. You want to be strong and focused for labor and motherhood. Standing Poses will help you develop those skills: Warriors I, II, and III (next to a wall for balance), Extended Side Angle, Chair Pose, Goddess Pose with squats.
- Hip Opening Poses. Staying flexible and supple will be instrumental for your delivery and beyond, as well as help you prevent lower back and sciatic pain during your pregnancy. Pigeon pose, high and low lunge, lizard lunge, garland pose (Malasana) and half splits are my recommendations.
- Grounding Postures. Those will give you power and help you connect to your inner strength and power. My favorites are Mountain Pose (Tadasana), child’s pose, bound angle (Baddha Konasana), Wide Leg Forward Fold and Down Dog.
- Breathing. Connect to your breath more than ever. Practice deep belly breathing to help you calm down and build focus and strength, which will be very much needed for labor and motherhood!
- Meditation. Use any sitting posture or lying down on your side (preferably left side). Practice breathing, visualization and connection to your baby. Use lots of pillows, blankets, bolsters and blocks to help you feel comfortable and supported.
- Modified Savasana. As the baby grows and puts pressure on the Vena Cava, you’ll need to modify your Savasana. Use a bolster/pillow between your legs, a pillow to support your belly depending on how far along you are and a block to support your head.
I am so excited for you and really hope you enjoy the benefits of yoga during pregnancy. It will definitely help you stay in shape, calm and connected to your baby.
Want more? Click here to download my top tips for a healthy and radiant pregnancy. Find me at @soniaribascoach for more insights on pregnancy and mom health.
Yours in motherhood,