1. Focusing on breath, learning to breathe. Breath is important for all of us, however, focusing on our breath has some amazing benefits. During pregnancy, as baby grows it is easy to become short of breath, however, holding the breath can create a state of dis-harmony or illness in the body. Becoming aware of how you are breathing and being able to adapt that breath for full health is a great aspect of yoga. Also, different breathing techniques performed in yoga can be used during labor to help move through the contractions smoothly. It's important to remember to breathe, never hold your breath.
2. Strong Body. Being a mom takes strength; physically, emotionally and mentally. Yoga helps with all of these, but let's talk about the body. As you progress through trimesters there are noticeable differences in the body that create an opportunity for more props and modifications in your yoga practice, however, it also makes you stronger and adaptable! We know that exercise is important during pregnancy, yoga helps increase circulation, strengthen arms and legs and even helps to open up the hips in order to prepare for delivery. If you get too hot during a session (do not do hot yoga during pregnancy), you may try to breathe through the mouth, move into a resting pose for a bit or just sit comfortably and sip on some water.
3. Pain Relief. Yoga can assist in alleviating low back pain, leg pain, neck pain and even wrist pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome that sometimes occurs with pregnancy. By moving the body with the breath, noticing what is happening inside and allowing it to leave the body through the practice of yoga allows for increased circulation, strong and flexible muscles. Awesome!
While there are many benefits to yoga during pregnancy, it is also important to find an instructor you trust and who has an understanding of pregnancy, the human body and yoga modifications. It is a good idea to consult with your pregnancy care provider before attending a yoga class. It is ideal to attend a prenatal yoga class over a "one size fits all" type of class. I also find it important to remind women, that they know their bodies better than anyone else. Respect your body, if you need to stop during a class, stop. If you feel that a pose is not ideal for you, don't do it. The time is always right to just sit quietly and connect with your baby and your breath, so do that if that is what you feel.
Blessings on your journey - enjoy every moment!