Benefits and Modifications of Prenatal Yoga

It’s no secret that yoga increases health benefits, even during pregnancy.  It helps to increase mind body awareness and helps people find relaxation.  Even during pregnancy, prenatal yoga has been helpful in ensuring smooth deliveries and safe pregnancies.   Yoga can help people to reduce stress which can add literal years to life, increasing longevity.  Yoga can also help to improve the quality of breath and increase the range of motion for people.

Yoga teachers spend a lot of time learning how to deliver safe and effective prenatal yoga classes. Learning how to sequence a vinyasa class is a challenging task and one that yoga teachers must master before leading a group through a yoga class.  Finding a good prenatal yoga class is important for increasing health outcomes and preventing disease.

Prenatal yoga teachers have to get a special certification to be able to teach prenatal yoga classes.  Not just any yoga teacher knows how to modify yoga poses and sequence a prenatal yoga class.  Becoming a prenatal yoga teacher is not an easy task and takes almost 100 hours of specialty training.  Many prenatal yoga teachers have taken more hours than that and multiple trainings to learn the complex nature of teaching prenatal yoga classes.

In prenatal yoga, it is best not to do deep twists.  Pregnant women should also never lie flat on their backs because it can cause complications with the placenta and umbilical cord.  Slight backbends are permitted during prenatal yoga, but pregnant women should not go too far into backbends.  Also, when modifying a yoga class for pregnant women, it’s important to make sure that the feet are a little closer together in standing poses.  It’s also important to make sure that in downward facing dog, the legs are further apart.  Keeping the feet about the distance of the mat is recommended for prenatal yoga classes.  In forward folds, pregnant women should not go all the way because it will create imbalance.

One of the primary things that should happen during prenatal yoga is that the yoga student always makes space for the baby and the growing belly.  You also want to make sure to never lie flat on the belly.  A lot of women decide to modify with a chair for many yoga poses during pregnancy.  This is also easier on the joints because there isn’t so much up and down from the mat to a standing position.  A lot of people have found this helpful in the past.

Breathwork can be helpful during pregnancy and can actually help to prepare the mom-to-be for birth.  Sometimes during prenatal yoga classes, birthing breaths are even practiced.  It is important that pregnant women not practice any vigorous breathwork because this can be dangerous for both mom and baby.  The closer that the pregnant woman gets to delivery, the slower the practice should be.  Prenatal yoga classes shoudl be slow and mindful, giving the mom-to-be sufficient time to move from one posture to the next.

While there are many precautions that pregnant yoga students must take to be able to practice safely and effectively, there are just as many benefits of a prenatal yoga practice.

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