Yoga is tremendously popular throughout the world. If you have been taking yoga classes and now are pregnant, you will have to make some modifications but there probably is no need to quit.
Many places where yoga is taught have prenatal yoga classes, called hatha yoga. This type of yoga offers pregnant women many benefits.
• Meditation and relaxation techniques reduce tension; this allows you to sleep better.
• Yoga increases the flexibility and strength of the muscles involved in delivery.
• Yoga may help reduce normal back pain
• The breathing techniques you learn in yoga class may help you breathe better during pregnancy and may help you handle labor pains in the future.
It really is important, however, to speak with your doctor before starting a yoga class. If you have had a loss, are at risk for a premature birth, have a heart condition or chronic back pain, it might not be best for you to do yoga.
Consider the following when trying to pick a yoga class:
• Before registering for a class, ask if you can watch a session. That way you will become familiar with what goes on during a class.
• Look for a class taught by an instructor who has experience teaching pregnant women. If in your local yoga school there is no class specifically designed for pregnant women, ask the instructor what experience she has in this area. A good instructor will help you modify exercises and positions so they do not represent a risk for you or your baby. As your pregnancy advances, she will continue to modify the positions and will teach you how to use blankets and cushions so you can feel more comfortable.
• Start slowly and don’t try to assume postures you find uncomfortable. Be aware of any discomfort in your body. If you start feeling shortness of breath, reduce the number of positions and exercises.
• Make sure you don’t feel too hot. Drink lots of water to keep hydrated.
• As with any exercise, if you should start to bleed, feel contractions, or think your baby is moving less, stop doing yoga and call your doctor.
Even if you have been practicing yoga for a while, once you are pregnant verify with your doctor that it is all right to continue. Remember that even if you are a yoga expert, certain postures are not recommended during pregnancy, such as lying on your back or your belly, doing deep forward or backward bends, twisting or inverse positions.