Growing tiny humans is a serious superpower and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. But with this superpower comes strain on the body (lots of stuff NO ONE told you about) and the serious need for TLC and self care. Something we as moms and women don’t always allow for ourselves but SHOULD, pregnancy or not. And this means dads and dudes too.
So maybe you already have a yoga practice, maybe you don’t, but I always get asked – WHY? “My doctor says I should try it, but WHY bother going to prenatal when I can just pick up a yoga class at my local gym or studio?” “I already have a yoga practice, WHY should I seek out a prenatal class?”
Well here are a few of my reasons WHY you need prenatal yoga…
Community. Maybe you are here away from family? Maybe you are the first to be pregnant in your family or circle of friends? Maybe you just need another expectant mom to share your questions, concerns or complaints with? I learned more from my prenatal yoga class community than from anywhere else about all the stuff that no one likes to talk about. Heartburn? Try aloe vera juice. Need a good body pillow recommendation? Got it. Feel like strangling the father of your unborn child because he has NO CLUE how you are feeling? Me too!
Class adapted to you, not you adapting to the class. Beyond community I think this certainly one of the most important reasons to find yourself in a prenatal class. The class is designed for YOU, an expectant mom, and is geared towards all trimesters. Your teacher is geared and trained for YOU. Beside the obvious baby bump your body is adapting and changing everyday making room for, and getting ready to have, baby. This means poses to find more room in an already cramped body, fluid movements to gently work joints and stretch muscles, truly relaxing restorative and savasana poses molded to your body and pregnancy. We are talking specific poses to address specific concerns within pregnancy.
Strength and stability. No doubt maintaining or even increasing your strength through your pregnancy is an excellent idea. But you need appropriate strength moves. Moves that don’t create unnecessary strain on specific areas of the body that standard class moves could – your core has enough going on, it doesn’t need the planks. We are talking moves that will ease the weight of baby and create stability. The hips and pelvis take on ALOT during pregnancy. Strength combined with stability exercises help to keep or improve proper posture or skeletal alignment during pregnancy as we carry that extra weight. Prenatal yoga can set you up not only for an easier pregnancy and birth but also an easier recovery post-partum.
You gain tools to take into your practice elsewhere and beyond. Prenatal Yoga Education is what I like to call it. The do’s and don’ts to keep you safe in your home practice or in your favorite local class. What poses are ok, what should you avoid, and what falls into the “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” category. Learn how to use all those yoga props to your advantage – blocks, blankets, bolsters. Props are your best friend when you are pregnant and you can learn how to adjust them through all three trimesters too. Furthermore, how to adjust a pose to meet your growing belly, like adjusting to a wider stance.
And while I don’t mean to scare anyone, some poses in a typical class may seem ok but they may cause more harm and strain than good. Thanks to relaxin in the body, you can actually take a stretch a little further than you really should – your focus should be on strength and stability in a pose and not necessarily increasing flexibility. And if your current teacher isn’t trained in proper modifications they could inadvertently and innocently enough get you in some no-no positions trying to adapt you to the class. Prenatal yoga teaches you not only how to practice safely but to advocate for yourself – to change and adapt a class you are taking to you and to let the teacher know, hey I got this.
Stress and pain relief. Read – restore and relax! Breathing to calm the mind and body. Stretches to move baby and find relief from day to day aches and pains. Myofascial release to help address fluid retention, decreased circulation, restricted mobility, and muscle tension. Restorative poses to let it all go and rest and still be properly supported. Mindfulness exercises to calm anxiety and bond with baby. Extra time in class for all of this!
Whether you are first time mom or a second, third, or fourth – self care is of the upmost importance! Its ok to spoil yourself a little – you are growing a human! Pregnancy is an incredible time. Enjoy it! Cherish the moments. But when we are stressed, anxious, tired, exhausted, aching… we forget to revel in it! If you can take time at least once a week for mindfulness or to relax and take care of yourself it will make a world of difference. I am speaking from personal experience here and countless research on what mindfulness can do for you. Imagine what several times a week can do when you repeat it at home and in class!
At the end of the day, the goal of the prenatal yoga class is to create an environment of community, practicing yoga in a way that is beneficial and adaptive to you, your changing body, and your baby. It is also special time for you to bond with your baby in a different way throughout your pregnancy. It is restoring and relaxing. Its meant to carry you through a healthy pregnancy and set you up for a fast and easy recovery post-partum. Prenatal yoga is one of the best things you can do for yourself and baby in pregnancy, its a whole mind-body approach, and why doctors, doulas, and midwifes recommend it so often!
So if you are expecting, I HIGHLY encourage you to find a prenatal class in your area. Give at least one class. And if you can’t find it, ask your local studio, they should be able to find you an instructor to offer privates or has been waiting to start a class.
If you are local to me (Plano, Richardson, Allen, McKinney, North Dallas area) – guess what??! We are starting a new prenatal series this November in Plano at the Mindful Journey Counseling & Wellness studio. We will be meeting Mondays at 9:30am.
Classes will be small to allow for individual instruction. No previous yoga experience is necessary. You can drop in as needed, or join us all month long.
We just ask that you sign up online ahead of time so we know you are coming.
I would love to see you there or if you have a friend that is pregnant, we would love for you to share the news and see her there!
And as always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions over on our contact form.