Practice Yoga During Pregnancy By Following These Tips
Pregnancy yoga is a great thing – but you do need to be careful.
The yoga that is practised during pregnancy is called pregnancy yoga.
There are few things as helpful for the mother and her baby than physical expression through yoga. It has been thought to reduce complications at various stages of the pregnancy and also help make the experience of carrying a child more blissful.
During pregnancy, the placenta secretes a hormone called Relaxin to help the body reach relaxation. It softens the connective tissues and allows the uterus to expand – it also increases the risk of sprain, pulls and other injuries.
As a result, knowledge of your body is very important. Equally important is the need to take proper precautions. Pregnancy might be a time of great joy and resilience, but it is not a time for experimentation.
Here are some of the precautions you must follow while practising pregnancy yoga.
Avoid Lying Flat on Your Back in the 3rd Trimester
A pregnant woman should avoid practising yoga while lying on her back, after the second trimester.
Lying down flat may suppress the vena cava – the vein that carries blood from the lower body to the heart. This might trouble the circulatory system – consequently leading to dizziness.
Avoid Socks; Wear Loose Clothes
Avoid fitted yoga clothes that may cause discomfort and stunt physical growth. (Remember, that during pregnancy, different parts of the body are growing simultaneously with the abdomen).
Also, avoid wearing socks during practice. This may reduce the grip of your leg, thus increasing chances of falling down.
Use of Props
The centre of gravity of a mother’s body begins to change after the second trimester – till the point of delivery. One will need to adjust practice accordingly.
Use of props makes ‘Garbh yoga’ easy and effective. However, the inappropriate use of props might be fatal. Keep these pointers in mind:
(i) Use the wall to balance yourself when in a standing position.
(ii) Use soft pillows below the baby bump during Balassan.
(iii) Use elastic bands or dupattas when stretching.
Twist With Care
Twisting is a good exercise, but it needs to be done carefully. When practising spinal twisting, make sure that the waist is pushed slightly backwards. Avoid twisting too far back.
Props such as a dupatta or a strong ribbon can be used to make things easier.
Listen to Your Body
During practice, keep listening to the signals your body sends you. Make sure you don’t exceed any limits when your mind tells you to stop.
Pregnancy is not a period of experimentation. It’s best to avoid poses that are new for you. Similarly, inverted postures such as, Shirshasana, vrishchickasana etc., are dangerous and should totally be avoided.
Avoid Pressure to the Abdomen
As the connective tissues are loosening in this period, avoid everything extreme. The postures that put pressure on the abdomen are strictly prohibited – such as, dhanurasana, bhujangasana, et al.
Try Relaxing Asanas
Pranayama, Yognidra and meditation inspire a calming effect. They facilitate the secretion of endorphins from the pituitary gland – which in turn helps improve the general health of the baby and the mother.
A yoga session without relaxation exercises is incomplete.
Jumping of any kind during pregnancy is an invitation to danger for both mother and baby. Never attempt such an adventure.
Some More Pointers:
The extent to which you bend depends upon the stage of pregnancy). Avoid full downward and full backward bending.
When bending forward, make sure your chin is protruding. This will reduce pressure on the back.
Avoid lifting the heels of your feet (during 3rd trimester).
When lying or sitting, avoid pointing your toes as this might create leg cramps).
During the last trimester ankles are more prone to spraining. Always wear ankle pads during practice.
Make sure that the knees are not below the pelvic – but behind it – during cat and dog poses. A practitioner may place a blanket or cushion below the knees to reduce pressure.
Your Environment and Your Person
• A yoga room should be cross-ventilated, with minimum furniture.
• Maximum use of white or any light colour is suggested – such as a white mat, curtains, wall colour, etc.
• Keep your room fresh with natural fragrances.
• Play soothing music.
• Light in room should be neither too high nor too low.
• Tie your hair properly and cut your nails periodically.
• Do not use make up on the face before practice.
• Water, some juice and some form of carbohydrates should be kept ready before starting practice.
Avoid Practice of Asanas in the Case of
• High fever (above 100 degrees Fahrenheit).
• Vaginal bleeding.
• Vomiting (several times in an hour).
• Severe weakness, extreme dizziness or fainting.
• Uterine contraction within an interval of 10 minutes.
• High BP.
(Yogaguru Neha is one of the founder members of the Holistic Healthcare Foundation Society. She is a qualified yoga expert and has been teaching it since 11 years. She can be reached at theyogaguru.com and www.tygyoga.com.)
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