Twice in my life I have received emails from someone I hadn’t heard from in close to a decade, expressing how grateful they were for the impact I had on their lives. They described who I was to them when we had known each other and how I had inspired who they are today.
I was stunned. And deeply moved.
To hear authentic acknowledgement from others is one of the greatest gifts we can receive. And today, thanksgiving, can be about the giving of this gift. Sure, we might all sit around the table and say what we are grateful for… but why not go deeper? Here’s another idea that we invite you to join us in over the next week:
That’s it. Who’s in?
Yoga provides many benefits during this exciting and transformative time. Benefits like stress reduction, improved circulation and increased spine health, are particularly important to both mother and child. Plus, the practice gives you an opportunity to check in with your changing body and connect with your little one growing inside! Here are a few things to be mindful of when practicing yoga while pregnant.
Less Is More– A hormone called relaxin is produced in pregnant women as a way to prepare the body to stretch out and make room for the growing baby. This means you are extra flexible during this time and need to be extra mindful to not go beyond your edge and over stretch. A good rule of thumb is to practice at 75-90% depending on the day.
Base Your Practice Off Experience– A general rule when pregnant is to avoid new physical activities, but continue those you do regularly. Yoga can be an exception to this rule. If you regularly practiced yoga before pregnancy, feel free to keep up with your regular classes, but be sure to inform the teacher you are pregnant and tone down your practice as appropriate. It can also be great to seek out a prenatal teacher or join a prenatal class to learn pregnancy-specific modifications. If you are new to the practice, honor this and start with a prenatal class. From there, discuss with the teacher other classes that might be appropriate to try.
Snack Before Class– In traditional yoga it is recommended that you not eat or drink 2 hours before yoga. However, during this time you get to bypass this rule. If you find you get a little light headed during classes be sure to have some fruit, juice or a light snack before you hit your mat. Also, make sure when moving from sitting to standing to take it slowly. Tucking your chin can also help regulate your blood pressure as you move.
Poses to Avoid- You generally want to avoid Deep Twists. As shown in the pictures , an open twist can be a wonderful alternative because it still gives your spine the opportunity to promote blood flow. Forward Folds, especially deep, seated forward folds, should be taken gently. Abs– Take it easy on heavy abs sequencing, although it is recommended to do some core work. As you know, lying on your back and belly are not recommended. This does not mean you miss out on sweet Savasana. Just make sure you roll over to your side to enjoy this peaceful space. For extra comfort, place a blanket or bolster between your knees! Any restrictions your doctor has given you are held through your yoga practice.
Inversions- Getting your feet above your head is wonderful to assist with circulation, blood flow and swelling. During pregnancy, focus on the gentler inversions and make sure to use the wall for support. In the picture we show some safe and gentle options to get your feet over your head while stretching out. Take note of the picture with the strap around your thighs. This option provides support, so the work of holding your legs is taken over by the strap (a belt or scarf can work just as well).
Build community– Yoga veteran or not, joining a prenatal yoga class will allow you to connect with soon-to-be Moms in your area. What a great way to meet a stroller buddy, find and share resources, and bond over all the changes happening in life.
We’d love to support you in your pregnancy practice, so let us know if you have any questions or comments! And also be aware that the little baby coming into your life is already a yogi! Support their natural yoga practice with some Mommy & Me classes after he or she is born!