“Yoga teaches you how to listen to your body.” – Mariel Hemingway

Yoga can be understood as a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practises or disciplines that stem from the country of India. The stretches and poses associated with yoga can be learnt at yoga near me studios across the UK and Europe.

In recent years, yoga has immerged as being one of the most popular fitness activities of the 21st century. 

Whether you’re young, old, tall, short, fat, or thin, you can enjoy yoga; it's a type of exercise that intrigues people from all walks of life. With all the different poses, breathing exercises, and mindfulness meditation, regularly practising yoga is a great way to improve your mind, body, and spirit.

Did you know that yoga is highly recommended for pregnant women? 

Many yoga studios offer prenatal yoga classes to help pregnant women continue their exercise routines even though they are expecting; the benefits are varied. 

When you’re expecting, practising yoga is a great way to be more relaxed and peaceful. Furthermore, it is essential to mention that during pregnancy, women may encounter back pain, weight gain, or the desire to improve flexibility before the big day arrives.

Since birthing a child is a significant event prenatal yoga is a great way to stay limber and keep calm. Also, it has been proven that prenatal yoga can help pregnant women prepare for the birth of their child by assisting them in improving their overall flexibility.

In today's article, Superprof is going to take a look at yoga during pregnancy; how it can help you to relieve pain, find your sense of calm, and help to do gentle stretches that are good for the mind and body of both you and your baby.

The baby's safety needs to be carefully considered and expecting mothers need to remember that not all yoga postures are suitable for pregnant women and practising yoga should only be done once you've asked the professional opinion of a medical practitioner or a doctor. Even if you think that a yoga class for beginners will be smooth and not too demanding on the body, the routine practised by the other yogis and the instructor may not be suitable for expectant mothers; there are specific pregnancy exercises that yoga teachers will cover in specialised classes.

Expecting mothers, are you ready to take a wild ride through the world of prenatal yoga? We sure hope so!

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What Is Prenatal Yoga?

For many expecting mothers, pregnancy is a remarkable experience that cannot be explained in mere words; it's magical and terrifying at the same time. On the other hand, some pregnant women have awful pregnancies with intense cravings, discomfort, and nausea that make them never want to have children again.

Prenatal yoga helps both types of mothers: the ones who are having a lovely pregnancy and those who are not. 

It is important to remember that when doing prenatal yoga, you need to listen to your body's need and the baby’s. To effectively accomplish beneficial stretches and poses, expecting mothers can even get private yoga classes with a tutor. Also, for those who like to share their experiences, there are many group classes for expecting mothers where women can freely talk about their pregnancy and future concerns.

Whatever reasons you may have for attending yoga classes at a studio, prenatal yoga is an excellent way to prepare for the miracle of life. 

Prenatal yoga classes are specifically designed for pregnant women and are available for all sorts of women during specific stages of their pregnancy. The goal for yoga instructors is to teach pregnant women about their changing bodies while at the same time improving flexibility so that when the big day comes, giving birth will be as relaxed and serene as possible.

When the mother takes a keen interest in her health and the baby's, she is creating harmony with the unborn infant that will last a lifetime. After attending various prenatal yoga classes, the mother will increase flexibility and not be so stiff when birthing.

Prenatal yoga is one of the many specific genres of yoga classes that are offered in studios or fitness centres across the country. It is essential to state that there is also yoga for seniors.

If you're expecting and need some time away from the house or are in dire need of exercise, consider visiting a yoga studio near you to enrol in prenatal yoga courses; you won't regret this choice!

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The Benefits of Yoga for Pregnant Women

Expecting mothers who have already practised yoga in the past are quite familiar with the benefits of yoga on the body such as the improvement of flexibility, the building of overall strength, increased muscle tone, enhancement of balance, prevention of back pain, and the instruction of better breathing habits. The benefits of prenatal yoga are the same are even more critical since you now have a bun in the oven!

Also, prenatal yoga can work on your hips, teach you how to breathe correctly, and improve your circulation which will all help when it comes time to give birth. It’s also a discipline designed for pregnant women; therefore, the poses, the breathing techniques, and the lighter muscle toning are all adapted for expecting mothers and are somewhat different from regular yoga sessions.

While we could go on all day about the benefits of prenatal yoga, the following are some of the most commonly experienced advantages:

  • Participating in activities that can only be enjoyed when pregnant,
  • Mentally preparing yourself for giving birth,
  • Meeting other pregnant women that are going through the same experiences,
  • Being mindful of your changing body when pregnant,
  • Seeing that pregnancy doesn’t need to be the end of an active lifestyle,
  • Making the most of the first few months to alleviate aches and pains that are so common among expecting mothers,
  • Taken things into your own hands and easing the concerns of the father during the first few months of pregnancy.

In short, prenatal yoga is a physical activity practised by a large number of pregnant women around the world before they give birth which allows them to alleviate back pain, carefully follow their pregnancy, and prepare themselves mentally for the due date.

It is vital to state the fact that there are specific yoga poses that pregnant women shouldn't do since they aren’t suitable for the baby. Nevertheless, the yoga stretches completed in a prenatal class will significantly benefit the health and outlook of the mother and growing baby.

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Advice for Doing Prenatal Yoga

learning to do yoga
Some complex yoga poses should not be attempted when pregnant. (Source: pixabay)

"Yoga is a mirror to look at ourselves from within." -B.K.S Iyengar

For those who sincerely practise yoga, it is way more than simple stretches on a mat. Yoga is a way to understand your body and the connection it has to your mind.

While many expecting mothers may have taken yoga classes in the past, it is essential to state that prenatal yoga is quite different and advice from experts should be heard to avoid any harm to the fragile mother or baby. 

A pregnant woman is more sensitive than usual and not necessarily capable of doing all the poses from a typical yoga session; this is why prenatal yoga isn’t recommended right up to the due date. You don’t want to complicate things by practising yoga stretches that could cause damage to the baby.

Don’t ignore advice and warnings about practising prenatal yoga. One of the most important things to remember is that it isn’t advised to do prenatal yoga during the final trimester; this is the time during which the baby’s nervous system is being formed, and you should avoid many types of physical activity such as running, pilates or yoga.

During the final trimester, prenatal yoga may be too physically demanding on the mother and exhaustion could result. Of course, it is highly recommended to always check with your doctor before starting any new fitness programme, including prenatal yoga. Thus, even if you want to alleviate back pain, remedy sore muscles, or increase flexibility, you need to be fully aware of the possible complications of doing yoga while pregnant.

Avoid twisting poses at all costs is of the utmost importance. Also, other yoga poses that stress the stomach should be shunned. Additionally, yoga poses that involve the sensitive parts of your body might cause more harm than benefit for you and your baby.

It’s a good idea to be aware of both the benefits and consequences of doing yoga while you’re pregnant, even if your instructor will probably know even more than you, research the topic to find helpful information. 

Don’t forget that those with physical disabilities can also do yoga!

The Best Yoga Poses for Pregnant Women

Many mothers can attest to the fact that the most common pregnancy ailments include added belly weight, back pain, hip tension, swollen feet, stress, sleepiness or insomnia, and heartburn.

What to do? 

Since the beautiful experience of growing another human inside you is not always pleasant, many expecting mothers heed the advice of attending prenatal yoga classes to discover poses that help ease aches, discomforts, and pains.

The following are the best yoga poses for pregnant women that greatly benefit the mother and baby and contribute to a more pleasant pregnancy:

  • Wild child's pose: a natural pose that can be practised by all pregnant mothers that help with the added belly weight, the wild child pose is completed by coming onto all fours, separating your knees as wide as your mat, and bring your big toes to touch. Also, sit your hips back onto your heels and reach your arms forward.
  • Cat-cow: relieves back pain that is brought on by excess belly weight, the cat-cow is done by starting on all fours and then moving towards a cow pose and cat pose. It is essential to breathe in with the cow pose and breathe out with the cat pose.
  • Ankle to knee pose: a great pose to deal with intense back pain, the ankle to knee position is accomplished by coming to a seated position, sitting tall, and positioning your legs so that your left leg is on the bottom and your right leg is on the top. Ensure that your right ankle is over your left knee and that your shins are parallel with one another. Flex both feet and make sure to fold forward with every exhale.
  • Yoga squat: a brilliant aid to help pregnant women with hip tension, the yoga squat is done by bringing your hips on a broader position than your mat with toes turned out. Drop your hips down and back, but keep your spine straight and feet flat. Bring your arms to the front of your body and keep them in the prayer position and keep your chest as open as possible when you breathe deeply.
  • Legs-up-the-wall pose: also known as the Viparita Karani pose, this exercise helps pregnant women reduce swelling in their feet. The legs-up-the-wall pose is a great restorative pose that brings relief to the feet and legs. It is accomplished by coming next to a wall and swinging your legs up and scooting your bottom as close to the wall as you can. Let both your arms rest beside you and breath deeply.

While there are hundreds of yoga poses that are recommended for pregnant women, the previously mentioned are the most common and should be practised immediately to alleviate any pain while pregnant.

If you are a visual learner, consider visiting the yoga journal to search their database for pictures and step by step directions as to how to do distinct yoga poses such as those mentioned in today's article.

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Yoga Breathing Techniques for Pregnant Women

If you are an expecting mother who has no previous experience with yoga and was convinced to attend prenatal yoga classes by another pregnant friend, you might not have realised everything that is included and covered during prenatal yoga sessions.

Nevertheless, it is a brilliant decision to keep occupied and healthy during pregnancy. Additionally, it is essential to state that expecting mothers who are practising prenatal yoga develop a better understanding of their entire body.

When you master your first yoga poses, you feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that you can still complete new things even though you're eating for two!

Also, during prenatal yoga classes, instructors focus on helping expecting mothers control their breathing and develop new techniques that will be indispensable when the big day arrives.

Breathing is an important part of any subdiscipline of yoga. Even if you are unfamiliar with yoga, many have often heard talk of pranayama which is controlling your breath as part of your yoga practice. Pranayama is said to control your life force and enable you to accomplish the following things:

  • Manage stress more effectively,
  • Adopt a better posture before, during, and after pregnancy,
  • Push your limits harder to achieve greatness,
  • Oxygenate your lungs to have better breath control,
  • Do certain poses that would otherwise be impossible in normal circumstances.

In short, breathing needs to be worked on and mastered since it is a useful tool for doing specific yoga poses. There are tons of yoga poses that you can’t do if you’re not breathing correctly, especially if you also happen to be pregnant. Of course, you should probably ask your yoga tutor or instructor for more information before doing new yoga poses and stretches to avoid hurting yourself or the baby; remember, you are a weaker vessel when expecting!

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Best Places to Find Yoga Clothes for Pregnant Women

the best pants
Finding a reliable pair of maternity yoga pants will make attending prenatal yoga classes more enjoyable. (Source: pixabay)

Since the internet has taken off in recent years, online shopping has become all the rage, and busy individuals prefer buying new clothes online than visiting the nearest mall.

Therefore, without further ado, the following are the best sites in the UK offering maternity yoga clothes that can be shipped directly to your door:

  • ASOS: the British fashion and cosmetics giant, ASOS, has been open since 2000 and has recently launched their first activewear range; this is fantastic news for pregnant women since their maternity yoga pants are highly recommended and well priced. Probably one of the best maternity yoga pants on the market, search their website for the ASOS 4505 Seamless Maternity Yoga Leggings and other goodies.
  • FittaMamma: specialising in selling maternity activewear and offering advice, FittaMamma has great flexible maternity clothes for yoga and pilates that is reasonably priced and can be shipped to your house in the UK. Check out their website to learn more.

Prenatal Yoga Instructors Are the Best Guides for Expecting Mothers

the best yoga instructors
Professional yoga instructors should be consulted before trying any new moves in prenatal yoga. (Source: pixabay)

During any yoga regular yoga classes, the instructor or tutor is an essential part of the learning process. The better the yoga instructor, the more you will get out of yoga sessions. In prenatal yoga, they’re even more essential as their advice will affect both you and your baby.

An excellent prenatal yoga instructor understands the struggles, pains, and desires of pregnant women and will have the answers to all your questions and concerns.

When you take a prenatal yoga class, the instructor is there to reassure you, make you aware of what you’re doing and the benefits of the stretches you are performing. Prenatal yoga instructors have the goal of helping expecting mothers manage their pregnancy as much as possible through yoga; the goal is to benefit the mother and the baby through the art and science of yoga.

Thus, you can do yoga when you’re pregnant, and it comes with a lot of valuable benefits. Whether you’re stressed, anxious, have cabin fever, or wanting to try something new prenatal yoga is an excellent activity to help you see yoga and overall exercise in a different light. You’ll see your pregnancy and your future baby in a different light, a more positive one.

Pregnancy is not all cramps, cravings, and pains; there are some positive aspects that need to be discovered to make the nine months pass by faster. 

It is necessary to mention that many mothers who tried prenatal yoga have stuck to the practice of yoga long after the baby was born. 

So are you ready to give it a try?

Don't forget that once you've had your baby, you don't have to stop doing yoga. While you might not be ready to start doing hot yoga, power yoga, or ashtanga yoga quite yet, there are always postnatal yoga classes that can be tried.

Postnatal yoga classes involve the same levels of relaxation, awareness, and calm that you can expect from most types of yoga, but they focus on strengthening the parts of the body that were most affected by pregnancy. For example, specific workouts are designed for women who've just had their babies and need help recuperating their body after the intense experience of childbirth.

For those interested in yoga as a form of exercise, consider looking for tutors or instructors on Superprof; you can find highly qualified yoga instructors offering one-to-one tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials. 

While one-to-one sessions at a yoga studio are usually the most effective when starting to learn more about yoga, online sessions via webcam tend to be cheaper as the instructor will have fewer expenses. Of course, with pregnancy yoga, it is essential to mention that online tutors aren't advised as they can't physically correct you if you're doing a pose incorrectly.

If these two options are too expensive, consider attending prenatal yoga classes in groups with other expecting mothers. Group classes are win-win for the instructor and the students since this allows the tutors to earn more per hour but charge each student a lower price.

With free tuition for the first hour being offered by many instructors, you can try out a few different yoga instructors before deciding on the one with who you want to continue exercising. Having a baby is a lifelong commitment, not choosing a prenatal yoga tutor!

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Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.