So you’ve just found out you’re pregnant? Congratulations! In my yoga classes, I often get asked what modifications to take during pregnancy. Firstly, I’d like to start off by saying that every woman, every pregnancy, and every body is different. What seems right for one, may not feel right for the other. As much as our yoga practice is about tuning into the body and its needs, during pregnancy, we need to be extra vigilant.
Start from where you are
If you’re completely new to yoga my recommendation is to keep the practice very gentle, as the fetus is still implanting and the risk of miscarriage is highest. So the timing to start a new physical activity may not be right now.
If you’ve been doing regular classes even before you got pregnant then keeping up a regular routine with modifications should be fine provided there are no complications in pregnancy. Learn to trust your instincts: If something feels bad, stop. If something feels really, really good, keep doing it!
Some women may not feel like doing physical exercise during their first trimester, so make sure to listen to your body. Respect your needs more than ever and know when it is best to just rest. Remember, your body is making a human!
Yoga poses for your first trimester
So here are a few selected recommendations of postures to include in your practice during the 1st trimester. I’ve also listed some postures you may wish to avoid, however, if it feels good then it is safe to still include them in your practice.
Generally speaking, strengthening the leg muscles and the pelvic floor is important preparation for later phases of pregnancy, and it encourages good circulation in the legs to prevent cramping as blood pressure starts to drop.
This short sequence will probably become your best friend! It’s the perfect way to tone your abs safely throughout pregnancy and prepare for delivery.
1. Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)
2. Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana)
3. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
4. Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
These poses should be a key focus because of the flexibility needed for delivery, so you may as well start now! Bear in mind not to overstretch.
1. Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
2. Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend (Upavistha Konasana)
… with bent knees for tight lower backs:
Avoid overstretching, as connective tissue starts to soften during pregnancy
Also, be mindful doing anything that might compress the uterus or overstretch the abdominal muscles. For some, this may not apply and you feel comfortable doing these postures, but here are some pointers:
- Avoid standing twists that put pressure on the abdominal cavity
- Avoid Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana), pictured below. Instead, you may start to wind back with Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) or Camel Pose (Ustrasana), also pictured below.
- Avoid Boat Pose (Navasana) because of the delicate situation in the uterus
Join the Yogaia + Manduka community to access our Pregnancy Program or try a free Pregnancy Yoga class!
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