Is it safe to practice hot yoga while pregnant?
It’s important to speak to your healthcare provider about fitness activities during pregnancy, but a general rule of thumb for low-risk pregnancies is that it’s considered safe to continue any fitness activities that you were practicing regularly prior to the start of your pregnancy, if it feels good to do so. The majority of yogis who fall pregnant are able to carry on their practice well into their pregnancy. Talk to your instructor before class or attend some prenatal-specific yoga classes to get a better idea of what you should or shouldn’t practice.
What are the top ways a continued yoga practice can benefit moms through pregnancy and birth?
Pregnancy is a really special time, but it can also be a time of uncertainty and anxiety, especially for first time moms, so yoga offers the perfect space to connect with your body and your baby, and check in with how you’re feeling. If you practiced yoga regularly before you were pregnant, it also offers the chance to carry on with a routine of normalcy in a time of change and to show you how strong and capable your pregnant body is. In Pure Yoga’s pre-natal yoga workshops we also focus on how yoga, active meditation, mantra and breath can help through the birth process.
Are there risks of practicing hot yoga while pregnant?
Dehydration is a risk for everyone, but when pregnant can cause complications for mother and baby, so pregnant people need to consume more water than the average person to begin with, and be hyper aware of their water intake. Stay well hydrated for the days leading up to the class you are planning on attending, drink plenty of water during class, and continue to drink water afterward. Relaxin and other pregnancy hormones work to soften ligaments and tissue in the body, which can make you feel more flexible but can actually allow you to over-stretch. A good rule of thumb when pregnant is to listen to your body closely and to go into any given pose up to 50-80% of how far you could actually go.
What poses are great for pregnancy, and which should I avoid?
Wide leg child’s pose and malasana squat pose are amazing for pregnancy, as they create space for your belly and release tension in pelvis, spine and hips. Legs up the wall pose is also a great one to get the benefits of an inversion and can relieve the pressure of swollen feet and ankles from pregnancy. Avoid deep twists and core exercises on your back, and avoid lying on your belly. Pregnancy is not the time to try to improve your fitness, it’s about maintaining your current strength and flexibility! Instead of pushing yourself to go deeper in challenging poses, focus on creating more space for your growing belly, and breathing deeper.
Are some classes better to attend than others?
It’s definitely a good idea to stick to less rigorous class styles. At Pure, Flow classes led by a teacher with a slower pace are great. As belly grows, it’s harder to move quickly on your mat, so you will probably appreciate the slower pace because it gives you more time to place your body. Stay away from core-focused or power classes. We run pre-natal yoga workshops periodically throughout the year, which offer mental and physical support for pregnant moms. Sign up to our newsletter at the bottom of our website (if you haven’t already done so!) to hear about our workshop programming.
This blog was put together with help from our fabulous resident pre-natal yoga specialist and doula, Natalie Edward (the gorgeous mama who is featured in these images). Natalie is currently on maternity leave with her second baby, but if you have any further questions or would like information about her wonderful doula services, you can find her here: http://natalieedward.net/