Pregnancy yoga anytime anywhere!
Setting up your yoga practice when being pregnant can be tricky. There is so many reasons why you should be doing something completely different. You are tired. Your back hurts. You need to clean up that closet in the kitchen that was waiting for you to be cleaned up for more than a year. A lot.
And it is all true. Yet, even more because of all those things, you may want to consider making some time for you and your baby. When you switch off the ‘being in a rush’ mode, and instead get some rest, relax and maybe do something for yourself. There is many ways to do it, yoga is just one of those ways.
If you decide to give it a go, you may find some of the tips below handy:
Whether you practiced yoga before or not, it is handy to start with a pregnancy yoga teacher. It can be in a yoga class, or following a tutorial online. It’s important, as when we are pregnant we adjust yoga poses for precisely that – being pregnant. It’s not only about making space for your belly, but about overall alignment – how we sit, how we stand, how we approach our favorite yoga poses.
Once you started, the trick is to make time for it now every week. If you found a studio and a teacher you like – see how you can adjust your schedule to be there at least once a week. If you follow an online tutorial – decide when in the week you will do your practice, and stick to that time.
Now that you got your weekly routine going, it’s time for a step up. Pick up three poses, or practices that you like from your class and see how you can incorporate it in your daily routine. It doesn’t have to be a block of 20 minutes every day. Split it. Let’s say you like squatting – see if you can incorporate some of that when watching TV or eating dinner. Or pelvis movements – how about moving your pelvis in circles when washing the dishes.
To make your practice more successful at home, use your creativity and see how you can use your home furniture instead of fancy blocks from the studio. Pillows instead of blocks. Roll up blankets instead of long bolsters. Find a part of a wall where you can lean on for adjusted Trikonasana, or support yourself when in Shiva stretch. It is very likely that you will spend big part of your labor at your home. Just imagine how much easier it will be for you to use your yoga practice then when you are already familiar not only with practices, but also with the surroundings.
Pay attention to your posture. Most of us spend majority of our days sitting. The trick to avoid having a back pain is to sit with neutral spine – don’t exaggerate either way, keep it neutral. You will help your baby to find the optimal position for birth, and help yourself to avoid lower back pain when your belly starts growing.
Practice pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegels. If you don’t know it – think of a feeling when you need to go to toilet, but you cannot. You squeeze. Same here. The idea is that you exercise your birthing muscles, make them stronger. There are many ways to do it. You may try a simple squeeze and release for 10 times, then rest and repeat few more times. If you want to synchronize it with the breath – squeeze on the inhale, release on the exhale. This practice really can be done ANYTIME, ANYWHERE. When you work at your laptop, do the dishes, brush your teeth. Just pick one, and stick with it. This way you are less likely to forget about it. And if you do, the moment you remember – just do it. People really can’t see ;)
Get a sitting ball! Either borrow it, buy one or ask for one for your birthday, nameday, Xmas, baby shower, name it. Just get it. It’s your friend when you are pregnant. You keep a neutral spine naturally when sitting on a ball. You can lean on it when in labor. There is plenty of practices when you can relax while leaning on a ball, and sometimes ask for a massage from your partner to help with lower back pain. So yes, get a ball.
Make time for relaxation. It seems easy, you lie down, put some good music and switch off for 15-20 minutes. Trust me, it’s the most difficult from that list. Somehow when we do something, move, exercise, make an effort in any way – it is easier for us to do that, than to do nothing. First 2-3 minutes are a nightmare. At 5th minute you are wondering if you should get up, and do the laundry or start cooking, or stay there. Somewhere around minute 7 you make a shopping list for your baby room. And maybe at 12 minutes you surrender to actually enjoying the relaxation. It’s not an easy one, yet probably the most beneficial for you when pregnant, for your baby, and a beautiful preparation for birth. Eventually, what you want when you are in labor is to be relaxed, to open. The chance you actually do that is much higher, if it comes naturally to you. And that comes for most of us with practice..
I leave it at that. Again, setting up your practice requires some effort, but the motivation when you are pregnant may be just what you need to get it going. And who knows, maybe you like it so much, that it will become your new normal, that will get you through not only your pregnancy, early days after birth, but also throughout the whole motherhood journey. When everything is changing every day, your kid starts crawling, walking, talking – it’s not a bad thing to have in your life, this one thing that stays the same. You and your practice.