Home Fitness Yoga Styles Pre-Natal

Pre-Natal Yoga Styles


Pre-natal yoga

Although it may seem like pre-natal yoga is a relatively recent development in the art, this style has been in practice since the pre-classical period. Originally developed to aid the baby in its transition into the world, the style has been revamped in recent years to focus on both the expected and the expecting.

Not every type of yoga can or should be used by an expecting mother. In fact, most yoga teachers (called gurus) stress that pre-natal yoga should only be done in a class setting to ensure that no harm will come to the baby or the mother. Poses should not include any that involve the mother lying on her back or belly and care should be taken to not push the body too far into discomfort.

Pre-natal yoga turns its attention away from muscles like the abdomen and begins to focus primarily on the muscles and joints that will be utilized during the final stages of pregnancy and labor such as the hips, knees, and lower back. Wear clothes that are comfortable and invest in a yoga mat to ensure that you are comfortable and that your baby is safe.

The Benefits of Pre-Natal Yoga


Many expecting mothers have made great claims about the benefits of doing yoga while pregnant. These claims increase as pregnancies move into the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. Having a good teacher and a solid plan are both essential to being safe and successful during pre-natal yoga.

The benefits to practicing yoga while pregnant include:

  • The removal of toxins from the body when breathing, sweating.

  • Increasing the productivity of the digestive system, liver and kidneys.

  • A greater feeling of peace and reduction in stress.

  • The reduction of pain normally associated with pregnancy such as pain in the lower back.

  • Increased stamina.

  • Relief of nausea.

  • Breath exercises that may assist the mother during labor.

  • Strengthening of joints that become loose during pregnancy (ankles).

Guidelines for Safely Practicing Yoga by Trimester


Pregnancy is split into 3 sections of what are called trimesters (each being 3 months long). The way that you approach yoga will change as your baby grows and your body changes throughout the pregnancy. Below are some helpful guidelines for each trimester:

1st Trimester


Morning Sickness: A natural process of the body that informs you that you should not be moving around too much. The first trimester is critical for proper development of your baby and a successful adaptation of your body to the changes it is and will be facing. If you feel sick, reduce your work load and get some rest. Trying to fight through the nausea with exercise will only make it worse.

Classes: Pre-natal Yoga classes are fairly common in any school that teaches the art. Remember that you should wait to begin a yoga routine until you are sure that you can stick to it. The sessions will do little good if they are spread out over several weeks.

The First Part: You will not be obviously pregnant yet. If you already attend yoga classes before beginning your pregnancy, you should inform your guru so that he/she knows what to expect of you. This may be a great way to get more tips or find out about a special class that you can take.

2nd Trimester


Pre-natal yoga

Morning Sickness: Normally, morning sickness is not an issue in the second trimester. There's no cause for alarm if you still get sick in the morning but do continue to recognize that this is a sign to ease off on any heavy activity.

Starting Now: Studies have shown that individuals who have never practiced yoga before and begin to do so in the second trimester of their pregnancy, are generally in a better position to reap a larger set of benefits. The reason is that the individuals that have never practiced yoga tend to take a more ginger and careful approach to performing their yoga routines and thus, perform their yoga routines with a greater level of meticulousness and caution.

Home and Away: It's important to take classes to stay safe at first. However, you may find that you know the poses well enough to practice a bit on your own. This is fine but be sure that you have a good experience base and are staying safe.

3rd Trimester


Starting Now: Some women will wait until they get time off from work to start practicing pre-natal yoga. This last trimester is the time when you should be very careful not to work too hard as you could get injured.

If You Started Earlier: At this time, you should be familiar with pre-natal yoga and there should be few surprises to come. There are some poses that can be performed right up to the point of labor.

It's All In The Mind: In addition to physical benefits, pre-natal yoga is often regarded as being very helpful in preparing the mind for birth. Focusing on breathing and concentration can be essential to "hearing" the body and adjusting to its changes.

Common Poses for Pre-natal Yoga


Below are a few common poses and when they can be used.

Cobbler's Pose (All trimesters): This pose can lead into the goddess pose perfectly. From a seated position, draw your feet together in front of you so that your knees are out and the soles of your feet touch. With your hands, pull your feet into your groin and hold for 1-2 minutes. Remember to keep your back straight while performing this pose.

Triangle Pose (First two trimesters): This pose will not only stretch the hamstrings and hips, it will also add strength to your legs. Exactly how it sounds, your legs will mimic a triangle. Begin in a standing position. Keep your right toes facing forward while bringing your left leg out with its toes facing to the left.

Depending on what is comfortable, you can then lean backwards and place your left hand on your calf, a small yoga block, or the floor. While keeping your eyes on your right hand, lift it up so that your shoulders form a straight line to the floor. If the pose is done correctly, there should be two visible triangles from the front. (One with your legs and another formed by your left arm and leg)

Eagle Pose (All Trimesters): Not only will this pose stretch the shoulders, but it will improve balance and give the legs more strength. While standing, put your weight on your right leg. Cross the left leg over the right around the middle of the calf muscle. Bring your arms across each other over your chest to form a twist. Squat a little bit in this position and stay there for 10-15 seconds. Remember to keep breathing.

Is Pre-natal Yoga for You?


Women have thoroughly championed the positive effects of pre-natal yoga on their emotions and physical comfort during pregnancy as well as the spiritual connection with their baby during labor. Labor is not pleasant but many followers of yoga have claimed that they would not have been able to do it without yoga.

If you are pregnant, it could be helpful to try pre-natal yoga and see what you think. During your first pregnancy, you will need to adjust to a lot of radical changes and finding what works best for you is essential.

Facts and Statistics


A study in India found that, when testing 335 pregnant women, practicing yoga increased the chance of a vaginal birth by 54% and the chance of a normal birth weight (above 2500 grams) than a control group that only did simple exercises.

Pre-natal yoga

In a survey conducted in Connecticut, 40.6% of women would consider yoga as a possible treatment of lower back pain during pregnancy. 61.7% said that they would use medicine, 44.6% acupuncture, and 61.4% massage.

8 out of 10 women say that regularly performing a yoga routine has or does help relieve lower back pain during pregnancy.

Of the benefits that women claim pre-natal yoga has to offer, 76% say that the relief of pain is the most valuable. The increase in digestive system productivity comes in at a much lower 21%.