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Pregnancy places a great amount of strain and stress on the body and mind. As your ligaments loosen up throughout pregnancy due to the production of the hormones relaxin and progesterone, you can experience a fair amount of pain, particularly in the pelvic region.
One thing that you can do in order to alleviate stress and tension throughout your body in a manner that is safe for pregnancy is to take up prenatal yoga. This is a type of yoga practice that includes breathing exercises, gentle stretching, and posture work designed specifically to help you stay fit and relaxed throughout pregnancy. By taking up prenatal yoga, you might even be able to better prepare yourself for the challenges of labor and delivery.
If you have ever tried hatha or restorative yoga, you will notice some similarities with prenatal yoga as these types of practice can overlap in some ways. Each of these types of practice can help you throughout your pregnancy to feel stronger and more relaxed. It is important to note, however, that hot yoga and more strenuous styles should be avoided during pregnancy.
Here is a bit more information about prenatal, hatha, and restorative yoga to help you better understand the many benefits that they can bring to your pregnancy journey.
True prenatal yoga is mainly geared towards light stretching and improving your breathing techniques. This is especially helpful for pregnant women who are experiencing shortness of breath. The stretches you perform are to help you to find your full range of motion while other poses will gently help you to build strength and flexibility.
Learning to connect your breath to the movements that your body is performing can greatly help you to prepare for labor. Side stretches like extended triangle pose can help loosen up the sides of your body, while sitting poses like bound angle pose can assist in opening up and stretching your hips. Always remember to listen to your body as it changes throughout pregnancy so as to practice safely.
Hatha yoga is a type of practice that primarily focuses on deep stretching. By holding your poses for multiple, deep breaths, you can encourage a more complete stretch in targeted areas of your body like your hips and back. This can be a particularly helpful practice of yoga to take up early on in pregnancy while you still have much of your normal range of motion. As things progress and your belly grows, you should work with your instructor to find modifications for certain poses like forward folds and those that require you to lay on your back.
Restorative yoga is a type of practice that involves holding only a handful of poses for minutes at a time. By holding poses longer, you can relax more and encourage a deeper, more complete stretch. As you progress in your pregnancy, you can use props like yoga blocks or cushions to help you to find the right level of stretch without losing your stability.