However, if you are new to yoga or are starting yoga further along in your pregnancy (past 20 weeks), you may just want to stick with a prenatal yoga class. I have found that students who are pregnant and haven’t tried yoga before are definitely best off in a prenatal yoga class, especially when they are further along.
Some things to be aware of when you are practicing in a regular yoga class (that prenatal yoga will always follow):
- No breath retention or kapalabhati breathing (rapid exhales through the nose)
- No hopping back and forth in a sun salutation
- Inversions- a contentious point among yoga teachers. Only do what feels right for you. Generally, pregnancy is not the best time to learn headstand or handstand. If you are used to practicing these poses, you may find they become uncomfortable after just a few breaths. I recommend only holding any inversion (even downward dog) for no longer than 5 deep breaths. Shoulderstand is usually not considered to be a fun pose while pregnant, neither is plow.
- No deep twists- you can do mild seated and supine twists, but deep twists are not recommended, especially past 12 weeks.
- No belly down poses past 12 weeks without a blanket under the hips. I teach cobra and sphinx pose to my pregnant students in my regular yoga classes, but have them place a blanket under the pelvis to avoid putting pressure on the belly.
- Don’t lie on your back for longer than a minute or so, unless you feel comfortable there. If you feel lightheaded, don’t lie on your back.
- As you get into your third trimester, hold back a little on side bending, to not overstretch your ligaments.
- No deep backbends- poses like updog and camel and wheel can strain the SI joints and stress the rectus abdominus muscles, contributing to diastasus rectus (splitting of the abdominal wall).
Those are the basic guidelines that I teach, among many others. Please feel free to contact me for more in-dept discussion or description of the poses.