yoga motifications for pregnancy

One of the first concerns I had when getting pregnant was being as careful as I could to safeguard a pregnancy. I wanted to be sure nothing I did would compromise that little life growing inside me. But I also didn't want to give up the yoga studios I love to find a prenatal class (which neither of my two studios currently offer). I worried that prenatal would feel way too slow to me, since I was used to faster, intermediate flow classes. I also love inverting, and didn't want to give that up.

I did a lot of searching because I wanted to find the best modifications for an experienced yogi to be able to continue her practice while expecting. I wanted to be active and keep up my level of fitness throughout my pregnancy. Most of the information I was finding seemed geared towards brand new or beginner practitioners, but I managed to find two great articles that I trusted, and who's information rang true for me. Plus I made sure to talk with a few of my yoga teachers. I thought I would share the advice here, in case others find themselves in the same position.

Here are the main points:

1st Tri: Not too many adjustments needed at this point. Avoid taking your twists and back bends too deep, and avoid jump backs or jump switches (unless you have already mastered "floating" down) which could be too jarring. It is also recommended that you avoid inversions from 9 - 13 weeks, when the placenta is attaching, as inverting could promote placenta previa.

2nd Tri: As your uterus gets bigger, you will have to modify floor work. At first you might be able to lay down blankets for extra padding, or use bolsters to keep the weight off your uterus. Certain poses, like dhanurasana (bow), can be done on your side; others, like locust are better avoided (maybe switching to balancing tabletop instead). You'll also need to adjust your stance a little wider for certain poses like forward folds to accommodate your growing belly, and the changes in balance. Inversions may need to be moved to a wall. Towards the end savasana will probably need to be done on the side, adding bolsters under top knee as needed.

3rd Tri: The same as 2nd tri, but a step further as your balance changes even more. Stop inverting in the last few weeks, since the baby moving down at that point is encouraged. And really be careful not to push too far, as ligaments really start loosening up and injury becomes more likely.

Most important... listen to your body! Trust your gut. If something doesn't seem accessible or safe, trust that instinct and let go of that pose for the time being. As your body changes, things that were easy will get hard, things that felt good no longer will. Listen to your body, accept your limitations, don't let your ego end up causing you pain. 

Yoga Modifications for Pregnant Mamas with a Strong Vinyasa Flow Practice
Pregnancy Modifications for Experienced Students
And my yoga teachers!  :-)

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