Whether you’ve never stepped foot on a yoga mat or are a seasoned yogi, practising yoga during pregnancy can offer many benefits including improved sleep and increased strength, flexibility and endurance in the muscles that are needed for labour and once your bundle of joy arrives.
1) If you can breathe, you can do yoga.
If you’re reading this then, congratulations, you’re officially ready! As well as being a good form of gentle exercise, yoga teaches you breathing techniques and how to connect to your pelvic floor, all of which are helpful throughout your pregnancy, birth and beyond.
2) You won’t be the only newbie in a class.
The majority of my pregnant clients have had no previous experience. Perhaps a friend has recommended yoga or you’re curious to try it as your lifestyle and body changes – there are many reasons to give yoga a go. Just take a deep breath, introduce yourself to a local teacher and enjoy your experience.
3) Consider if a group or private class would suit you best.
If you have access to a local class they can be a great opportunity to meet other mums-to-be in a relaxed and supportive environment. Private sessions, while less sociable, enable you to enjoy a class tailored to your unique pregnancy, to ask questions and to discuss any observations or concerns as you go. Yoga Alliance UK have a great online teacher directory or feel free to contact me if you’re looking for a London based teacher.
4) Use props, if they’re available.
Blankets, cushions, yoga blocks, a strap/belt/tie! or even a pile of books, are all great props to have handy by your yoga mat. Using props isn’t just for beginners nor does it mean you’re ‘bad at yoga’. If a pose isn’t working for you, ask your teacher for help propping. You’ll be amazing how a small adjustment or extra support can transform your experience.
5) Tune into and work with your energy levels.
If you have time for yoga in the morning and feel full of beans then go for it. If it’s an evening or weekend class you might want to take things a little slower. A good teacher will give you plenty of different options and tips to cater for how you might be feeling. Listen to your body and be kind to it by taking whatever option works best for you on that day.