Effective Yoga Poses Suitable for Pregnant Women and Postures Not To Do During This Period
So, probably you have read many positive things about pre-natal yoga and decided that’s a physical activity you would enjoy while pregnant. I hope you’ve already understood that the best for you is to enroll in a proper prenatal yoga group and stay safe under the supervision of a trained instructor.
But, even in this case it’s important that you know what asana (yoga poses) are good for you, which should be modified and which can be avoided at all times.
Benefits of prenatal yoga practice
First of all, let’s go through the benefits yoga can bring your body during pregnancy. They are numerous!
If done correctly and in safe manner pregnant yoga poses will help you to get more aware of your body, which is very important at times when you feel that you’re losing control over it. As any physical activity in general, it makes the blood circulate through you and your baby’s bodies, bringing more oxygen to the tissues.
And teaching you to use your muscles consciously it prepares you for the process of the childbirth, when you’ll need to work some groups of muscles while relaxing the others. With all being said the list of pluses includes:
- increase of overall strength and flexibility;
- reduction of the lower back pain;
- less swelling and inflammation around the joints;
- help with keeping your emotional level stable.
The yoga postures and pregnancy
Though real yoga is a complex philosophical knowledge system, let’s say that for the purpose of this article we will focus mainly on one aspect of it – asana, or as you might call it – the postures. If you’re a beginner there is a plenty of easy poses to start with even for the people who were not doing any sporting activities before pregnancy.
What yoga poses are safe during pregnancy? Here are 5 best yoga poses for pregnancy which can be easily learned and perfected by any yoga newcomer:
- Sukhasana (easy pose).
- Badhakonasana (bound angle pose).
- Virasana (hero pose).
- Balsana (child pose).
- Vrksasana (tree pose).
Now let’s describe good yoga poses for pregnancy separately.
Being a perfect relaxation pose, this posture is good for opening or closing a yoga session. This asana is considered as one of the most safe yoga poses during pregnancy.
It gently opens the hips and the chest area which is important as it allows deep breathing. You can stay in this position as long as you wish, but be sure to change the leg on top every now and then.
To enter an easy pose:
- Sit on the floor with your legs stretched in front of you.
- Cross your shins and flex your feet, don’t let your knees be higher than level of your hips. (for this you should sit on several folded blankets).
- Bring your knees closer to each other until your feet are under your knees, lengthen your torso and bring your hands to your heart.
- Lift your chest and broaden your collar bones.
To come out of the pose uncross your feet and stretch your legs. This posture is the easiest one from pregnant yoga moves.
Bound angle pose
In yoga pregnancy workout it is also called “Butterfly pose” and lets you stretch the inner thighs, stimulates hip opening process, relieve the back and neck pain. It also believed to be a good help for improvement of the posture and stabilization of the pelvis.
- Start seated in Easy pose with your legs crossed and back straightened.
- Inhale, slowly uncross your legs and bring the feet together in front of you.
- Grasp the big toes and bring your feet as close to your pelvis as possible.
- Gently push on the knees to direct them towards the floor, but do not force them to touch it.
- Bounce the legs slightly, this will allow the hip area to open. Hold the position for 4-6 breath.
To come out, inhale, lift the knees back and stretch the legs to the starting position of the Easy pose. This pose is included in the shortlist of restorative yoga poses for pregnancy.
Next pregnant yoga position which is called “Hero Pose” is perfect for stretching back, neck and shoulder area. This simple pose is also good to bring circulation to your legs for relieving legs and ankles swelling.
- Kneel on the floor, thighs parallel and knees touching. If it’s too hard you can use the blanket to put between your calves and thighs.
- Slowly move your feel apart, a bit wider that the hips. You big toes should be directed towards each other and the top of each foot has to touch the floor.
- Align your head with the rest of your spine and keep the pose for 4-6 breaths. Gradually you can extend your stay up to 5 minutes.
To come out, put your hands on the floor in front of you and lift your hips a bit higher that the heels. Stretch your legs one by one behind you.
This yoga asana for pregnancy is comically famous for being the most relaxing and easy pose for inflexible losers (See “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” for the reference). But this is an undeserved reputation.
While it’s true that child pose is perfect for getting rest in-between of other postures it also lets you stretch the lower back area which is extremely important for pregnant women.
- Kneel on the floor, sit up on your heels and then move your knees on the width of your hips.
- Exhale and slowly lean forward, stretching the back.
- Lay your hands in front of you on the floor and relax your shoulders, you should feel how the shoulder blades widen, stretching your upper back.
- You can keep this pose up to several minutes, while it’s still feels relaxing.
To come out, inhale and lift from the tailbone and into the pelvis. So, it can be considered as one of the most useful posture from other yoga poses for lower back pain during pregnancy.
This posture is all about balance. As your pregnancy develops, your center of gravity will change drastically and practicing tree pose is amazing for adjusting to this changes. Your posture will benefit from it too.
Be ready to use something you can hold on to, until you feel that your sense of balance is good enough to go off props.
- Standing up with your feet together and arms straightened along the body, shift your weight slightly to the left foot.
- Bend your right knee and grasp your right ankle.
- Slowly place your sole against the inner thigh, don’t try to go so high – the balance is the most important thing.
- Hold onto something to keep your position or place your hands in praying position in front of your chest. Hold the position for 4-6 breath.
To come out, simply return to starting position.
These poses will help you to enter the world of yoga for the first time, but your practice does not have to be limited with them. There are plenty of others, the next step for you will be asana such as:
- Viravhadrasana 1 (warrior pose 1);
- Virabhadrasana 2 (warrior pose 2);
- Anjaneyasana (low lunge);
- Utkatakonasana (goddess pose);
- Malasana (full squat pose);
- Savasana (corpse pose).
In this video you will find more interesting and useful yoga moves for pregnant ladies:
Now when you have an idea about safe yoga poses for pregnancy let’s move to what yoga poses not to do when pregnant?
Poses to avoid
Though the list of the poses allowed to pregnant women can be really long and includes vast majority of asana, there are certain types of positions you’ll have to avoid during pregnancy. Generally, the list of yoga poses not to do while pregnant includes the following asanas.
Deep forward bends
This can squeeze the blood vessels in the uterus area which would be dangerous for you and the fetus. Thus, this asana should be eliminated from yoga positions in pregnancy.
Twists, for example across the knee, can also break your blood supply, which can result at light-headed state at best. Therefore, this asana should be excluded from the list of yoga positions for pregnancy.
Lying on your back
Once again, lying on back during pregnancy – yoga exercises that could be dangerous, the main issue is a blood flow. With the increasing weight of your uterus it can compress the blood vessels around the spine column and results in elevating blood pressure, light head and lower back pain, not mentioning limitation of nutrients supply to the fetus.
Working your abs
If you overdo your abdomen muscle training during the pregnancy you might develop state called diastasis as a result. Which means that your abs would go apart, not being flexible enough to stretch together with your growing uterus.
With your ever-growing belly, your center of gravity also constantly changes. So, inverted yoga poses during pregnancy should be out of practice or modified that way that you can always hold onto something in case of losing your balance.
Though this type of asana is not really prohibited, it’s not recommended for the yoga newbies, but if you were an experienced yogi before you might find a great relief from the back pain in those.
We strongly recommend you to watch the following video, since it will help you to know more about positions that should be avoided from your workout:
I hope that with these advises you will find it easier to start your first pre-natal yoga class. Remember, in this activity the muscle workout is not all there is.
Don’t miss out on the breathing and meditating techniques, you might find that in labor they will be even more helpful than any flexibility and endurance preparation.
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