This week I sought out an expert, Jennifer Weiss, owner of Limber Llama Yoga, to touch on a topic I love to learn about, Yoga. Jennifer kindly agreed to be a guest writer and give Maryland Placenta Nurse readers some tips on integrating a mindful and safe yoga practice into their pregnancy.
Becoming a mother is a wondrous journey. It is a time to explore and reflect emotionally and physically. Pregnancy gives a chance to look inward not only into our selves, but also into the little being growing within us.
Yoga brings calmness, strength and balance into the pregnant body. It is a valuable tool that connects the breath, mind and body together. Balance among these three create relaxation and space for the mother and the baby.
A physical yoga practice can be strenuous and should be altered to accommodate pregnancy. Understanding your body will aid most in what modifications are necessary for a safe practice. For example, ask yourself if you feel tired, energetic, or heavy. What in the body feels good today? What does not? Honoring your body, and how it feels today, not yesterday or last trimester, will serve you best.
With a healthy pregnancy, the following modifications are general recommendations I give to my prenatal students. Please consult your doctor first before beginning a new physical practice such as yoga.
Be mindful of your body and your growing baby. Now is not the time to push yourself. Listen inwardly and connect to your future baby by nourishing your body and mind. Above all else, honor your body, stopping when anything does not feel great.
Focus on the breath in every movement.
Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout your practice.
Utilize props such as bolsters, blankets, blocks and wedges to make your practice safer and more enjoyable.
Avoid inversions, deep twisting and core strengthening.
Widen your stance for balance and stability in standing poses.
Mild backbending is acceptable if not on your back.
Be mindful of your body temperature and not allowing it to overheat.
Avoid deep squats after 30 weeks to prevent preterm labPor.
Enjoy child’s pose anytime during class. Add a pillow or bolster under your head for more space.
In the final resting posture, savasana, either lie on your left side with a pillow between legs or propping your torso up with a wedge/mat.
Keep your breath even and deep to not overheat the body.
In addition to a physical yoga practice, beginning a meditation practice is also helpful during pregnancy. Guided meditations are best for beginners because they lead students through the process without feeling lost or frustrated. One of my all-time favorite guided meditations is called “Body Scan” and is taught by meditation teacher, Jon Kabat Zinn. Practice this meditation lying down or sitting comfortably in a chair.
Yoga is a great asset for pre and post-natal care. Along with relaxing the body, it creates expansion for the growing baby and integrates the breath to assist with emotions and changes throughout the entire process.
On clear quiet days,
When mind and body
I sense her presence
Jennifer Weiss is a yoga teacher in Hagerstown, MD. She is also certified in pre and post-natal yoga. She enjoys digging in her gardens, stopping to smell the peonies and cuddling her own two babies. You can find her at Limber Llama Yoga.