Yoga for pregnant women is considered to be the most beneficial form of physical activity which is practiced by many women during and after their ordeal of pregnancy. Since it entails stretching of muscles and attaining mastery of breathing and relaxation techniques, the combination of yoga and pregnancy is often chosen over the combination of yoga and exercise as an ideal preparation for birth. Pregnant yoga not only prepares the body for enduring the labor pains but also alleviates the discomfort associated with pregnancy like morning or evening sickness and sciatic pain so that this crucial journey is one of relaxed enjoyment and better health.
Although yoga for pregnant women may enhance the flexibility and the energy levels of the practitioner, there are certain precautions which need to be adhered to for this program to meet its desired objective. The foremost criterion in this regard is that the practitioner should always be alert about her body and the changes taking place in it. It is this sensitivity which would warn the practitioner of any discomfort experienced during the session thus prompting her to stop and then resume only after appropriate modifications to the poses have been decided upon in accordance with the physical changes taking place in one’s body.
While practicing asanas, one must avoid causing the abdomen to compress and also avoid asanas which entail the practitioner to lie on the back or cause the abdominal muscles to stretch too much. This is because lying on the back may cause the blood supply to the uterus to be cut off and unwarranted strain on abdominal muscles may cause damage to the physical health of the baby.
A common precaution which is usually incorporated while practicing yoga for pregnant women is to practice the standing and balancing asanas next to the wall which can be leaned on for support in case of sudden dizziness and loss of balance. Similarly, asanas which require the body to twist should be performed by twisting more from the shoulders and back rather than involving the abdomen.
Breathing forms an essential part of pregnant yoga and should be carried out by lengthening the distance between the breast bone and the pubic bone and keeping the pelvis upright while causing the chest and the front of the thighs to stretch. Pregnancy is the time when one’s muscles are particularly subject to strain and this knowledge in itself should act as a red flag while performing asanas during pregnancy.