7 yoga tips for a happy pregnancy
Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful experiences gifted to a woman. Yet this nine-month journey brings with it a variety of changes and emotions to juggle with. Yoga can help you cope with this journey, making it smooth and enjoyable!
As is evident in the case of Meghana Bragta, yoga enthusiast and first-time mother, as a would-be-mother she was better able to accept the changes during the nine months. She shares, ”Meditation helped me a lot, especially in the last trimester. It helped me accept my body and all the changes happening. Nadi Shodhan Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing) helped me relax and handle anxiety. I would practice Butterfly Pose and in the latter half of the pregnancy, when my feet would swell due to water retention, I practiced some yoga postures lying on my back.”
Like Meghana, you can use yoga and meditation as effective guides for your journey.
Here are a few quick tips on how you can include yoga in your other ’must-dos‘. However, it is best to practice yoga postures under a trained yoga instructor and keep your doctor informed about your yoga practice.
Yoga poses that you can safely practice during pregnancy
Sukhasana (seated yoga posture)
Marjariasana (Cat yoga pose)
Vajrasana (yoga posture) with ujjai breathing
Tadasana (yoga Mountain Pose)
Trikonasana (Triangle yoga posture)
Veerbhadrasana (Warrior yoga posture)
Paschimottan asana (seated forward bend)
Titliasana (Gentle butterfly yoga posture)
Viptritkarni (against the wall)
Shavasana (Final Relaxation)
Yoga Nidra (yogi sleep)
Consult your doctor and yoga teacher before practicing yoga postures. Practice of yoga postures also depends on whether you have practiced yoga poses prior to your pregnancy.
Benefits fo yoga during pregnancy
1) Yoga postures can help ensure easier delivery. In the first trimester, opt for standing yoga postures as they help strengthen the leg muscles, improve circulation, increase energy and can also help reduce leg cramps.
Do not practice yoga poses that put pressure on the abdomen and difficult yoga postures during the advanced stages of pregnancy. Do not overstretch the abdomen; the emphasis of your twisting poses should be on the shoulders and the upper back and not on the abdomen. Avoid doing inversions. It is also not advised to practice yoga postures from the tenth through the fourteenth week of pregnancy.
2) Relax with breathing techniques. The second and third trimester is the time to relax so draw energy from breathing techniques such as Ujjayi Pranayama (Victory Breath), Nadi Shodhan, and Bhramri (Bee Pranayama). They will help you deal with emotional changes and relax the mind completely.
3) Staying happy is the key. It is important for the baby too! Yoga and meditation will help you stay relaxed and cheerful. You can meditate on your own or try a guided meditation online. Also, take time out to meet friends, watch a good comedy and listen to the soothing music of veena and flute.
4) Fix routine for meals, exercise and sleep. Set a daily schedule for yourself during pregnancy – pick a time that suits you and stick to it. Keep some time aside every day as ‘yoga and meditation time’! Go for daily morning walks, followed by some gentle exercise or a refreshing swim in the pool. Daily exercise has greater benefits in strengthening the body and mind rather than sporadic ventures. In the latter half of pregnancy, it may not be easy to sit or stand continuously. Listen to your body and only do as much as you comfortably can.
5) Sit with the back straight and chin up. As the baby grows bigger, its weight is felt more and more on the back and legs. To avoid back pain, it is a good idea to keep your spine, head and neck aligned. Attend to how you stand, sit or walk as every posture makes a difference. When you stand distribute your body weight equally on both feet. Check if you tend to lean more towards one side. Regular practice of yoga postures can help improve your posture and body balance.
6) Eat healthy. Lots of green leafy salads, fruits and water will keep constipation and cramps at bay. A light and easy to digest vegetarian diet is preferable. Consume plenty of yoghurt and milk to keep the calcium levels up. Contact an ayurvedic doctor to know what suits you best.
7) Listen to ancient Sanskrit chants. Vibrations of chants are considered to have a positive and profound impact on the growing baby. It activates the subtle energy centers in your body producing a soothing, purifying and energizing effect. That’s why chanting is often considered the yoga of sound.