What is Prenatal Yoga?

prenatal yogaIf you are pregnant, you might want to start looking for a prenatal yoga class.  Prenatal yoga is specifically tailored for women in the various stages of pregnancy. Frequently, the teacher has taken special classes so that he or she is knowledgeable enough about the changes, hormones, and common pains in the pregnant female body. This helps the instructor create appropriate class flows and suggest modifications where appropriate. While many instructors can help you and instruct you through a standard class, it would be beneficial to go to prenatal yoga if your schedule allows.

Also, please be aware that starting yoga, or any form of a fitness program, after you become pregnant is discouraged! You should begin any physical activity that you plan to continue through your pregnancy before you become pregnant. Once you do become pregnant, you should check with your doctor to make sure that the activity you have chosen is safe for you and your baby.

After you have the baby, there will be a period of time where you should rest and let your body recover. This means no yoga or exercise. Everybody agrees that following these directions is important. Only resume exercise once your doctor clears you.

When you do return to your practice, be aware that it can take quite a while before all of your pregnancy hormones leave your body. This means that the challenging awkwardness that you felt through your pregnancy might still be there after you’ve had your baby. Pregnancy hormones will go away. You will return to normal.

However, those who are breast feeding will have the various pregnancy hormones stay in their bodies for longer than those who are not.  Pregnancy hormones stay in your body for up to 4 months after you quit nursing. That means that all of the fun quirks of pregnancy that you experienced (like clumsiness and joint discomfort) could possibly be with you for a while.

If you found a prenatal yoga class that you enjoyed, when you are cleared to come back to yoga, come back to that class. It doesn’t have to be for long, but it might feel more comfortable to come back to a class where you are already established in a community and empathy abounds. As your body normalizes and pregnancy hormones reduce, try some beginning or level 1 classes to figure out where you fit best.

A Word on Videos

Workout videos of any kind are wonderful. They allow you to more conveniently fit movement into your daily routine, and I am a big fan of that. However, during pregnancy, your body is constantly changing. I know that, for myself, I felt like a stranger in my own body. One day, I would have good alignment and movement would feel easy. The next day, I would feel off center and discombobulated. It is for this reason that I highly suggest that you take class with a teacher.

It doesn’t have to be prenatal per se. Any class will work. It is so helpful to have a set of eyes scan your alignment and give you suggestions on how to hold poses and move safely.

You should begin any physical activity that you plan to continue through your pregnancy before you become pregnant. Once you do become pregnant, you should check with your doctor to make sure that the activity you have chosen is safe for you and your baby.

Other Resources

A while ago, I wrote some articles about working out while pregnant. They are:

For those looking for videos, at the end of each article, there is a YouTube video pertaining to that particular phase of pregnancy. Some of those individuals have several pregnancy workout videos. Like I said before, though, please be very careful if you are doing videos at home. Pay attention to your mind/body connection and if something feels painful or wrong, stop immediately!

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Do you have any prenatal yoga resources you would like to share? Let us know in the comments below.

Sarah Stockett is STOTT certified in Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, Injuries & Special Populations, and CORE; a Yoga Alliance RYT-200; and has studied Active Isolated Stretching. When she is not trying to discover the best exercises to get rid of pain, she likes watching movies and travelling with her family.

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