1) Follow your doctor’s advice. If your doctor is on board with your desire to practice yoga, seek out a prenatal class or a teacher that specializes in prenatal yoga. You can also attend gentle or restorative classes even if you are beginner, as these classes will offer a supported, mild practice.
2) Be gentle during your first trimester. If you have a history of miscarriage, avoid yoga until after. Even if you are experiencing a healthy pregnancy, you may be very tired during your first trimester and want to practice only calming, restorative poses.
3) Do not be afraid of a stronger practice. If you already have a developed yoga practice, you can keep attending your regular classes. Feel free to modify, and base your practice on how you feel. An educated yoga teacher will be able to offer you modifications. Also look over the general guidelines discussed below to help modify your regular practice.
4) Try prenatal classes or private lessons. Prenatal classes are generally geared towards poses that support you and make more room for the baby. You can still expect to do everything from active standing poses, keeping you strong throughout your pregnancy, and restorative poses that helps you to deepen your breathing and relax your body and mind. A prenatal class can offer a wonderful source of support and community.
5) Asana Guidelines. In general, avoid poses in which you lie on your abdomen, poses where you lie flat on your back without support, poses that contract your abdominal muscles and twists (except open twists). Practice poses that make room in the front of the body, poses to open your hips, and poses that activate muscles to protect joints and ligaments that become more relaxed during pregnancy. Also avoid any pose that does not feel good- good advice for any yogi, pregnant or not!
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Kara Unal, JD, RYT