Prenatal Yoga, or yoga for pregnant women, has been gaining in popularity. Yoga provides an ideal way for women to stay in shape during pregnancy, helping them to stay limber, tone the muscles, and improve balance and circulation. In addition, yoga can help to prepare women for labor and birth by teaching deep breathing and relaxation. Some poses, such as the Warrior poses, can also help to ease back pain and sciatica. Women have also experienced reduced swelling, back and leg pain, and insomnia through the practice of prenatal yoga.
Prenatal Yoga follows many of the basics of other styles of yoga but with some modifications to account for pregnancy. General yoga exercises are often recommended for the first two months, but changes to routine should be made after that. Poses are often held for shorter periods of time and may be assumed more slowly and with greater care. With women who are further along with their pregnancies, standing poses may be performed using a chair or wall for support, and poses which require one to lie flat on the back or those which stretch the abdominal wall may be avoided altogether. In addition, hot yoga, or yoga performed in a heated room, is not recommended for pregnant women.
A few yoga poses which are ideal during pregnancy include the Cobbler’s or Tailor’s pose (baddha konasana), the Pelvic Tilt or Cat-Cow pose, the Squatting pose, the Side-lying position, the Warrior I and Warrior II poses and the Tree pose.