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Yoga During Pregnancy

Posted on 9/12/2013 in Well Being
If you’re keen to stay fit during your pregnancy but don’t fancy lifting weights, bouncing around on a step or hoisting yourself onto gym equipment, yoga might be the go for you. Whether practised alone or as part of an overall fitness program, yoga can provide some surprising physical and mental benefits. 



Benefits

Any appropriate exercise in pregnancy could be beneficial – increasing your energy levels, strengthening your back muscles, improving circulation and posture, helping to manage stress and to keep your weight under control, and preparing you for the labour ahead. It may also help you recover more quickly and easily after the birth. 

But perhaps the best thing about yoga is that in addition to helping with fitness and strength, it can help with mental calmness. And that can be a bonus once the novelty of the pregnancy wears off, you begin to feel like a beached whale, and everyone and everything is beginning to irritate you!

Specific yoga benefits can include increased strength and flexibility, achievement of mental and emotional calmness, and improved breathing techniques – which might be particularly helpful during labour. And if you go to a yoga class specifically for pregnant ladies, you also get the social benefit of meeting and mixing with other mums-to-be.



Types of yoga

The safest styles of yoga for pregnant women include Hatha yoga which focusses on building mental and physical strength through postures and exercises, and ‘Ananda’ – similar to Hatha yoga but with added spiritual elements such as meditation, subtle energy and chakra harmonising, and silent affirmations. 

During pregnancy you should avoid ‘hot’ yoga types – such as ‘Bikram’ – which involve doing poses and exercises in heated rooms. It’s also advisable to avoid ‘power yoga’ which can be very fast-paced and demanding on the body.

Joining a class

There are special pregnancy yoga classes, but it’s not always necessary to go to a yoga class designed for mums-to-be, especially if you are a seasoned yoga practitioner. However if you do attend a general class make sure you let the instructor know that you are pregnant and how far along you are. 


Safety precautions

As well as rigorous and hot types of yoga there are certain poses you should avoid during pregnancy. During this time your risk of joint injury is increased due to the loosening of ligaments that comes as a result of hormonal changes. It’s important to avoid over-stretching, especially of abdominal muscles. Back-bends should be avoided, and any forward bending should be done from the hips. 

In any case, be guided by your own body (stop if something hurts!) and the advice of your doctor as to whether yoga is suitable for you during your pregnancy.
Let’s face it, getting a good amount of exercise during pregnancy isn’t always that easy. Hot weather or a difficult pregnancy can make it even tougher. Exercising regularly also takes discipline – and that can be harder than usual to muster as you become less comfortable.

Are you finding it easy to exercise regularly during your pregnancy? Share your tips or your struggle! 
 



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