Let’s start off by saying yoga is AMAZING during pregnancy. It helps with backaches, pelvic floor strength, the journey of labour, achy shoulders, relaxation for better sleep, increased calmness and plenty more other sparkly benefits. There are however certain things to avoid, and certain things to focus on to make sure you’re comprehensively looking after yourself. Pregnancy yoga online is a safe way to navigate your pregnancy and can be far better than heading to a class as you have the flexibility of when, where and how long you practice and as long as you’re doing it right, you’re good to go! So let’s check over some do’s and don’ts!
Pregnancy yoga online, what can and can’t you do?
A few things to be aware of…
When you’re in the beautiful world of pregnancy, your body is going through a whole heap of changes you may or may not be aware of. Your body produces a hormone called Relaxin which enables your muscles to become more flexible to make space for baby to grow and come into this world. This means you’ll probably find yourself closer to the splits than you’ve ever been before… but it’s important to be conscious of not over-stretching. This awareness is key before kicking off your pregnancy yoga online practice so that you don’t overdo a stretch.
Your body also starts to compensate for the changes coming it’s way – your posture may change, your stance, your centre of gravity and all your core muscles. These changes often come with some discomfort which can be lessened and improved with a pregnancy yoga practice! It’s also important to be aware that during this first 12 weeks of your pregnancy your internal workings are changing a lot and a yoga practice altogether is best to avoid unless you’re an avid student, in which case a very gentle practice is advised. You can find first trimester practices here in Yoga LIVE Pregnancy.
So, awareness of the changes in your body is key here to enable you to tap into the beauty of yoga during your pregnancy and enjoy all the benefits it has to offer. Keep an open mind and listen to what your body is relaying and you’ll be good to go! Remember that no matter whether you have a teacher there with you or online, you’re the only one that is feeling the level of stretch, so take a moment to turn inward and get in-tune before you start your practice.
Pregnancy yoga poses to avoid
As your wee babe gets comfortable growing you’ll notice you’re more aware of your belly – this is where we focus on avoiding certain poses to give your baby a calm experience in your womb and to keep the newly tender spots of your body happy.
Any poses that rest on your belly are a big no-no, right from the get-go (no prone postures). This means poses like Cobra, Upward Dog or Bow are best kept until quite some time after giving birth. Instead, you can focus on a beautiful Cat/Cow for a mild backbend or a Baby Camel if you’re wanting something a little deeper.
Big closed twists are always best to avoid too. You can still totally do mild twists like a Seated Twist or Chair Twist to ease back pain and increase strength but poses that involve you twisting your entire spine or that involve pressure on your belly shouldn’t be in your practice. In Yoga LIVE Pregnancy you’ll see lots of delicious seated or relaxing supported lying twists but no Twisted Triangles or intense Twisted Low Lunges. They just cause too much strain on your lower back and baby.
It’s also best to avoid lying completely flat for a long time. Lying on your back can cause a lot of strain and tension in your body, so when you’re doing any kind of lying pose it’s best to use props. You can lift your upper body slightly onto a bolster, or bend your knees and place your feet on the floor. You can even roll onto your side (left is best so we don’t squish your vena cava vein) or come into childs pose.
Avoid intense active inversions. We love a bit of Downward Dog when you feel comfortable, especially on blocks or a wall, but handstands, shoulder stands and arm balances are left well-alone. It’s much harder to balance when you’re pregnant so the risk of falling is higher, plus we want to keep baby and uterus happy and anything completely inverted can pull at the muscle that holds your uterus in place. Legs Up the Wall, Downward Dog and Standing Forward Folds are all lovely inversions to try instead!
A couple of other things to be aware of…
It’s best to be led by an experienced online teacher who will know to avoid a certain few other things and knows the correct cues to give you to mentally adjust yourself. This is where you’ll feel the most benefit (as opposed to someone physically moving you – if you know how to correct and adjust yourself at home you’ll get heaps more out of your practice!).
If you are totally giving it a go yourself be aware of no intense ab exercises (we don’t love weighted crunches for example…), have support for any balances and don’t hold for more than 3-6 breaths and be mindful of moving slowly between poses.
It’s also important to make adjustments if you have any sciatica or sacroiliac joint pain. Keep knees bent and spine tall for sciatic issues and try to keep the pelvis neutral and stable within any wide-legged poses – try not to stretch deeply. We cover this in-depth in Yoga LIVE Pregnancy so if you’d like to explore this further check it out here!
Pregnancy yoga practices to love!
Other than those above you’ll find you can really involve yourself in most other yoga poses! I do always suggest to keep it simple and gentle so you can totally immerse yourself in your practice and listen to what your body needs. Below are yoga practices to totally throw yourself into and receive all the goodness pregnancy yoga has to offer.
Fall in love with your breathing. Become really involved in some refreshing breathing practices. Fall-out breath, belly breathing and equal breathing are all great ways to calm yourself down. You can also explore alternate-nostril breathing as a way to soothe your mind and body. When you pair breathwork with slow and simple movements you’ll begin to feel more aligned and ready to take on your day.
Get to grips with your posture. Keeping a lovely long lower back goes a long way in helping your pelvis stay happy, your core and balance stay strong and your lower back feeling fresh. Keep the weight nice and even between your feet with your toes turned forwards when you’re standing and you’ll be golden!
Start a pelvic floor practice. It’s never too late! Practice holding in and up and play around with how long you hold, how many times you pulse and whether you can increase and decrease hold. It goes a long way in recovery, incontinence and pleasure! We cover this in Yoga LIVE Pregnancy within our sessions too!
Strength, flow and relaxation are also super important. Build a nice coherent practice into your life with these 3 main focuses – you can find a free session on the Yoga LIVE Pregnancy page for each so you can get a good feel of pregnancy yoga. Check them out here!
The most important thing to remember is to listen to your body, if anything feels uncomfortable or painful, gently adjust your posture. Don’t over-stretch or overreach your level of effort and keep in mind every day will look and feel different. Keep things chill, gentle and loving and you’re good to go.
Yoga LIVE for your Pregnancy
And if you’re needing extra support to look after yourself during your pregnancy, try Yoga LIVE Pregnancy. Each week we meet live for 3 sessions, in our own homes. We’re all there supporting and guiding each other, and our challenges are great ways to stay motivated whilst moving and staying fit and relaxed. Join us here for $8 a week and get your 2-week free trial. You’re totally capable of feeling better amongst the exhaustion, and your starting point is here. Join Yoga LIVE here.
Continue learning + growing daily with Yoga LIVE
Join in our live 20 minute sessions and start to feel like yourself again. Ease achy necks and lower back so you can sleep better. Re-charge with some much needed me-time. Look in the mirror and feel beautiful because you’re glowing from caring for yourself. For $32 a month, join a group of women looking after themselves at home, and start to let the good vibes in.