When you discover you are pregnant, it can sometimes seem as if there is a whole world of things that you suddenly can’t do anymore.
From drinking alcohol, eating soft cheese and even changing the kitty litter, it’s as if you’re not allowed to do anything. And although in the case of changing the cat lit, you might be rather relieved about this, on the whole, it can be rather depressing to have to change your entire life.
When it comes to exercise, the advice now is that pregnant women should do more of it. However, there are still restrictions as to exactly what you should do and what you shouldn’t.
For yoga practitioners, there may also be questions. Particularly as some positions are out, but others are not.
Maybe it might be tempting to give up altogether and just sit on your ass for the whole nine months, munching on ice cream.
But you shouldn’t! Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater (so to speak) because there is still a lot of benefit for the pregnant woman and growing fetus, from yoga and yoga massage.
Here’s what you should know to practice yoga safely in pregnancy.
TELL YOUR INSTRUCTOR/ THERAPIST
As soon as you know that you are pregnant, you should tell your yoga instructor or massage therapist.
This way, they can tailor the treatment, or class, specifically for your needs.
Not all massage centers will be able to cater for pregnancy, but some will. Likewise, most yoga instructors should be able to point you in the direction of a class or treatment which is either designed for, or is suitable for pregnancy.
HOW YOGA CAN HELP
Most styles of yoga focus on elements such as; breathing, posture, strength and flexibility. These are all things which will help both you and your baby as your pregnancy progresses.
By finding a specific class which has been designed for pregnancy, you will also get the opportunity to meet other mums to be, which can only be a good thing!
SUITABLE TYPES OF YOGA
If you cannot find a specific pregnancy yoga class, the following are considered suitable for pregnant women;
Hatha yoga is very gentle and slow. For this reason, it is popular with those new to yoga. It may also be the choice for those who are not incredibly mobile – the elderly and anyone who is unaccustomed to exercising.
It should be the ideal choice for anyone who is pregnant and not wishing to overexert themselves.
This style of yoga mixes up poses from other schools of yoga. It is used with chanting, meditation, prayer and breathing. It is seen as a style which is easily adapted to pregnancy.
This shares some similarities with hatha yoga. Ananda yoga brings together both the spiritual and physical and helps your body as it transitions into motherhood.
Meditation is a key element of Ananda yoga and you will focus on your breathing and mantras to help your mind, as well as your body.
MORE ADVANCED YOGA
If you are ready to take yoga a stage further than the basics, there is more you can discover and these types of yoga are seen as suitable for pregnancy;
Lyengar yoga utilises props such as benches and blocks to support the body whilst it is in certain positions.
It concentrates more on postures than it does other elements and should be for those who are willing to do more than merely breathing and relaxation techniques.
They are all safe for pregnancy, but can be fairly precise to achieve.
By contrast, bhakti yoga is more spiritual and focuses more on the mind. The end goal is to improve concentration and this is achieved through chanting and meditation.
Sivananda is more than just yoga and more of a lifestyle. This involves a vegetarian diet and positivity. It focuses on the sun salutation pose and involves chanting mantras.