So you find out your pregnant (yay!) and now everyone keeps mentioning pregnancy yoga, amongst other things. Of all the helpful and not so helpful unsolicited advice you get (trust me it’s a lot) I cant argue with the pregnancy yoga one. I do however have some advice as simply jumping into any yoga class when in your first trimester is likely to leave you feeling either exhausted or board out of your brain!
So here is some practical advice – if you want it!
Never done yoga before
- Do wait until after 14 weeks if you have never done yoga before, even if you are physically very fit. I know is a buzz kill but better safe than sorry!
- I would suggest where possible starting with a dedicated pregnancy yoga class, this way you know the teacher is confident in what she is teaching, and you will be accommodated whatever your stage of pregnancy.
- If you cant find a local pregnancy class that suits your timings then chat to teachers who run general classes and see if they would be comfy with you joining. Its important that your teacher has the correct training and experience to accommodate you and any specific needs that might occur during your pregnancy.
- Once you find a class to suit then do keep it up at home. A once a week class isn’t going to reap you much benefit but a little every day can make you feel a whole lot more mobile and trust me building strength whilst cultivating an inner calm can not be overrated, especially when birth comes along.
- Find a class you enjoy! Sounds silly but not all pregnancy classes are the same. Some will focus on breathing, some on movement, some will be very relaxing, others will be more challenging. If you dont enjoy one then try another. Its important you find the right teacher and class for you.
Already doing yoga
Now you will get a huge amount of conflicting advice on going to yoga in your 1st trimester when you already have an established practise. So here is my take on it – its completely your choice! (I know, shocking).
I decided to carry on as normal with all of my exercise when I was pregnant however I was lucky to feel energised and have no sickness. The important bit is to listen to your body. If your vomiting and feeling like you need to sleep for England a hardy Vinyasa class is probably not for you. However, going to a nice slow flow might just be what you need. Take it one day at a time.
If you have a usual class you want to attend, I would suggest talking to your teacher, quietly in a corner if needed and letting them know your pregnant. That way they can advise on any poses or breathing practises that wont suit you. But again – its your choice!
Some important things to note are however –
- Relaxin in you system is going to make you feel a little more of a bendy Wendy. Its an illusion! Try to work at about 80% of what you think you can work at. Don’t push deep into hip flexors, forward folds etc as once the relaxin leaves your system your body will not thank you for it!
- Tingley arms – you might experience tingling in your arms and legs if they are elevated for too long so keep poses more dynamic and don’t feel like you have to hold your arms up in warrior one for instance
- You can use the core – it is a myth that using your core strength during pregnancy is a no go. Obviously you don’t want to be doing thousands of crunches (who the hell does) and putting pressure on your lower abdomen, however its perfectly OK and actually beneficial to work on your inner strength, work the abs, pelvic floor and back muscles so you can be a strong mama bear. Just get advice from the experts, read up on the facts and see where you feel comfortable working to.
Remember all mama’s are different and what works for you might not work for someone else and visa versa. You might be feeling radiant and full of life, you might feel like sitting and watching friends on Netflix for the next 9 months! Both are just fine!
Just try to keep moving, keep fit and health, enjoy any and every yoga class you can get to that suits you, your body and your baby! Just be prepared to have a future little yogi in your belly.