Breathing is the most important key in practicing of any yoga. During pregnancy especially, the ease and depth of breath is the first and foremost factor women need to be aware of. Women who breath deeply with full awareness during prenatal yoga are able to be really present in their bodies and connect with their unborn child. Through breathing, prenatal yoga has a calming effect on the mother, which is, in turn, transmitted to the baby. Also by focusing on the breath, women may feel empowered and more in control of their thoughts and body.
"Because it is the mother who gives us breath – it is the mother who gives us life, it is through the mothers breath that the child is nourished inside the womb, and it is througth he power of the mothers breath that the child leaves the womb and comes into the world to take its own breath. The mother breathes for two whilst the baby is inside the womb, and the patterns of her breath during birth and infancy have the most profound intimacy with the baby, a closeness that creates the environment of sound and feeling inhabited by the baby. When the mothers breath is short and panicked the child within the womb experiences this. When the mothers breath is smooth and deep, the child experiences this too. When the child moves from the womb to the mothers arms it is the mothers breath that carries the voice to soothe the child, and it is the mothers breath that carries the voice to warn the child of danger. The mothers breath is our intimate link to the source of all life, energy comfort and protection. Pranayama is the key to open the door of conscious awareness of this link. " (Quotation by Uma Dinsmore Tulli)
Pregnancy yoga differs from general yoga classes, in that many of the classical poses are adapted to accommodate the changes in the body. Poses are soft, graceful and fluid to create a space in the body. Relaxation and meditation are essential in the practice to relax the whole body and still the mind. Many of the postures focus on pelvic awareness and strengthening pelvic muscles. For example, squatting and butterfly pose are helpful to open the pelvis and strengthen the upper legs. Some postures are also useful to overcome common discomfort during pregnancy such as the cat pose which helps to relieve backache or lower back pain.
1. Always 'listen' to your body. It is of utmost importance to never force yourself and not to push yourself too hard. If you feel dizzy, nausea or tired, immediately stop the practice and take rest. Do not do any pose that you feel uncomfortable. If you feel that certain pose is not right for you or your baby, it is best to respect that feeling and take a pause. Remember to always trust yourself and trust your body.
2. Skip any movements that require you to lie flat on your back for longer than a few minutes, especially after the first trimester. Lying on your back can put pressure on your inferior vena cava, the vein that returns blood from the legs to the heart, which can cause dizziness and shortness of breath.
3. Skip any positions that stretch the abdominal muscles too much, such as deep forward and back bends and deep twists. It is important not to over stretch your joints because during pregnancy the joints are more loose and thus at risk of injury.
5. Avoid balancing poses because your center of gravitiy keeps changing during pregnancy. Always use the support of a wall or chair to help you comfortable to stay in the poses.
6. Be sure to stay hydrated all time!