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Pregnancy can be a time of equal parts joy, frustration, and confusion. Whether you are a first-time mom, or anxiously awaiting your third child, you can benefit immensely from a variety of yoga poses to improve your strength, flexibility, and mindfulness.
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” - Rumi
A healthy mind is crucial for a healthy body. A healthy body influences the mind. The body and mind are irrevocably connected. Research has proven that emotional stress can manifest in many ways—from small physical ailments to chronic disease. During pregnancy, it is critical that you manage stress appropriately, but let’s face it, stress is an inevitable fact of life.
Stress will be there before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and after pregnancy. But, with proper management, it can become less of a burden. Practicing yoga poses, or asanas, can offer a dual benefit of spiritual practice and exercise during an exciting nine months. However—it is up to you whether to embrace both.
For mothers who are seeking a new practice, yoga can provide both a calming mindset and exercise routine that meets your needs wherever you are in life. Try these five asanas at home for a more relaxed experience during pregnancy!
Your lower back can begin to ache as you arch your spine more and more to support your growing belly. Practicing Mountain Pose will improve your standing posture by creating a straight spine—a necessary positioning that allows more room within your body for your lungs to expand and your womb to grow.
This pose improves flexibility for the hips, which is important in pregnancy. It also helps to stretch the back muscles, back of legs and lengthen the spine. When separating your feet in this pose, be mindful of your balance. It can vary according to your stage of pregnancy.
Cat Pose provides multiple benefits for the pregnant body. Not only does it help relieve back pain, it also works to strengthen the lower abdomen so it can better support your womb. An ideal exercise for beginners, this pose can help create emotional balance in everyday life.
Frog Pose is a hip-opener that helps to release emotion and increase flexibility. A powerful beginner pose, you will feel the welcomed stretch in your hips, groin and inner thighs. You can modify this pose by placing a folded blanket under the knees or elbows.
Although this pose may feel slightly uncomfortable at first (and is recommended only during your first trimester), it will serve to relax your body over time, allowing you to feel more open—both mentally and physically. This deeply relaxing and restorative pose can help you release negative emotions while increasing your flexibility.
No matter what pose you choose to practice or what atmosphere you choose to practice in, it is important to remember that the foundation of all yoga poses is the breath. Try focusing your attention on your breath during asana practice, inhaling and slowly exhaling through your nose—making an ocean-like noise with each inhale and exhale.
Don’t forget to carve out at least five minutes of your day to do the poses. Making time for yourself is essential during your pregnancy to create a sense of calm and manifest inner joy. Whatever works to soothe your soul.
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.