Can You Practice Regular Yoga during Pregnancy?

yoga during pregnancy

Yoga has plenty of benefits for the body and mind. Therefore, it’s often recommended to practice yoga during pregnancy. It can help you maintain strength, work on your stress and anxiety levels, help you connect with your baby, as well as provide many other benefits.

However, now you may be wondering whether you should go to Prenatal Yoga or you can keep practicing regular yoga during pregnancy.

While prenatal yoga can be an excellent option, there may be reasons why you can’t or would not like to join a Prenatal Yoga class.

Let’s take a look at the differences between prenatal yoga and regular yoga and whom each is best for.

Prenatal Yoga vs. Regular Yoga

The essence of regular classes is going to greatly depend on their type. Vinyasa, Ashtanga, and Power Yoga, for instance, are going to be faster-paced, more dynamic, and strenuous. In the meantime, Hatha Yoga will be much gentler and slower-paced, and styles like Yin will be very slow and meditative.

Much is also going to depend on the yoga instructor and their personal teaching style.

What you need to keep in mind though is that not all yoga teachers will have the experience and knowledge to work with pregnant students. So, not every yoga instructor will be able to provide safe advice and modifications for yoga during pregnancy.

Regular yoga classes are open to the general public. Some may be adapted to various levels based on student experience. Others, however, will be mixed-level. Especially if you live in a smaller location that may not have enough attendance to separate classes by levels.

Prenatal Yoga classes, on the other hand, will normally offer gentler sequences that will be adapted to meet the needs of a pregnant woman’s body. They will usually be taught by teachers who are specifically trained in Prenatal Yoga.

The sequences will include poses that are particularly beneficial during pregnancy. Prenatal Yoga instructors will also know what yoga poses you should avoid when pregnant. So, don’t expect such poses as closed twists, deep backbends, and inversions.

Also, expect to be instructed on how to use a wide variety of props. The mobility of a pregnant body greatly changes, so, you will find out that modifying certain poses will make them more comfortable and accessible.

When Should You Practice Prenatal Yoga?

If you have never done yoga before getting pregnant, starting with Prenatal Yoga classes may be best for you as it will offer you the safest practice.

As I mentioned before, instructors who teach regular yoga classes may not have the knowledge or experience to safely guide you through their classes. Often, you will be advised to listen to your body.

However, if you are new to yoga, you may not know exactly what you are or aren’t expected to listen to.

As a result, Prenatal Yoga may offer you a more balanced practice than regular yoga classes.

Some studios and teachers will even advise you not to practice during the first trimester of pregnancy. In this case, joining a Prenatal Yoga class can be a great way to make sure you don’t stop your practice.

Another reason to join a Prenatal Yoga class can be meeting new, like-minded people – yoga and healthy living oriented future mommas. You can make new friends and form a support group that can help you throughout your pregnancy journey.  

When Can You Keep Doing Regular Yoga?

Realistically, not every location will have a Prenatal Yoga class. So, you may not have any other option but to go to a regular one. If that’s your case, I recommend going to gentler classes such as Hatha or Beginner Yoga.

I do, however, advise against going to heated yoga during pregnancy as it increases the risk of malformations in the development of the baby. If you love those, it’s best to wait until after your little one arrives.

Yet, you may have a strong yoga practice. Prenatal Yoga may seem too easy for you and you may crave something more dynamic. Or, you may simply want to continue with your current teacher whom you already love and who knows you and your practice.

There’s nothing wrong with going to regular yoga classes and have a safe practice as long as you approach it safely and mindfully and take a few things into consideration.

Things to Consider When Practicing Regular Yoga During Pregnancy

1. Talk to Your Yoga Teacher as Soon as You Find Out

As soon as you find out that you are pregnant, make sure to let your yoga teacher know. Many teachers ask about any injuries, health conditions, or pregnancies before class.

Nonetheless, it that’s an established group that you have been a part of for a while, the teacher may not do it because they already know everyone. So, don’t be shy and simply come up to them before class.

Talking to your teacher will help you to find out what their stance on having pregnant students is, whether they have the knowledge and experience to teach pregnant women, and similar.

Make sure to respect their wishes if your teacher asks you not to practice yoga during the first trimester or if they don’t feel comfortable teaching you. This will be a safer option for both you and the teacher.

2. Take Your Practice Easy

While there is nothing wrong with making progress, pregnancy isn’t the time to make it your main focus. Instead, make sure to be mindful with your body and not push through your limits.

3. Learn How to Safely Modify Your Practice

There are certain things that pregnant women should and should not do. There are also poses that are more beneficial throughout pregnancy than others as well as those that you should avoid altogether.

Even if your teacher has indicated their willingness to guide you through your pregnancy, knowing things that you should and shouldn’t do can help you know what’s going on and why, feel more confident, and know how to adapt your yoga practice if your teacher is unavailable by, for instance, assisting another student.

4. Make Space for the Baby

As flow through your practice, keep in mind that anything that you do should aim towards making space you’re your baby in the belly area rather than contracting or constraining the space. Opt for variations of the poses, different poses, or skip altogether anything that feels like limiting space for your baby.

5. Focus on Stability Rather than Flexibility

Your body will undergo a plethora of changes during pregnancy. One of them will be increased flexibility due to the hormone relaxin. It is needed so that your body can have an easier time birthing the baby. However, increased flexibility can also mean an increased risk of injury.

So, instead of pushing your flexibility limits, focus on developing stability in your joints. Do this by engaging muscles properly and back down on flexibility if you experience pain or too much discomfort.

6. Never Practice through Pain

While some discomfort due to developing strength and flexibility is OK, pain is not. You should keep this in mind at any stage of your yoga practice, but especially when pregnant.

Since there are lots of changes going on in your body, make sure to be extra cautious. Your joints are looser than usual making you more susceptible to injury. Thus, even things that you were doing before you got pregnant may not be optimal right now.

Therefore, always stay on the safe side. And, if you ever experience pain, stop immediately.

7. Feel Free to Mix Things Up

If you love Prenatal Yoga, but sometimes crave something different to spice things up, feel free to take regular yoga during pregnancy. Make sure to talk to the teacher beforehand and modify your practice accordingly.

8. Listen to Your Body

I know it’s kind of cheesy. But no one knows your body and your yoga practice as well as you do. So, if something does not feel right, don’t do it. If you feel like taking a break or a different pose would feel better, go for it.

Have a safe pregnancy and yoga practice!

Mamaste 🙂


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