Prenatal yoga was my exercise of choice in my last two pregnancies. I found that when I took the time out of my day to practice yoga, I felt better. I experienced fewer aches and pains, had more energy and felt more relaxed and peaceful. There is evidence to suggest I am not alone.
Yoga offers several benefits to pregnant women. The stretching and breathing is helpful for many discomforts of pregnancy and helps control weight gain. Practicing yoga in pregnancy also helps tone and strengthen the muscles for birth and increases flexibility.
If possible, or if you have never practiced yoga before, look for a prenatal yoga class. Starting off with a class is helpful for learning the proper positioning in the poses and learning which poses are beneficial for each stage of your pregnancy. If you are not new to yoga or can’t find a class in your area, you can practice with a DVD at home.
During my last pregnancy, I used Gaiam’s Prenatal Yoga DVD. The poses are shown modified for each stage of pregnancy. Chairs and blocks are used to modify the poses and provide support during the practice. Be sure to get the props you need ready before starting the DVD.
One of the best features of this DVD is there are three women, each in a different trimester modeling the poses. You can follow the woman in the same trimester to learn the optimum positioning and modifications for your stage of pregnancy. This takes the guess work out of wondering which poses are safe and which need to be modified as your belly grows.
The pace of the DVD is similar to many yoga classes I have taken and is good for beginners and intermediate yoga practitioners. The work out incorporates a range of poses including twists, standing poses, floor poses and relaxation poses. The pace isn’t too fast, so you have time to move into and out of each pose.