Yoga Sun Salutations During Pregnancy 1st-2nd Trimester
August 11, 2019
My practice and experience during my pregnancy 4-18 weeks
As soon as I found out I was pregnant I modified my practice straight away. Some people will carry on as normal, some people will be advised not to practice during their first trimester especially if they haven’t got a regular practice already, and some like me carry on but take things down a notch. The reason for my decision is I have had a regular 5 x per week, 2hrs per day practice of full primary and second series Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga for 5 years so my body is very used to the practice. I also did some research specifically for Ashtanga Yoga and there was a lot of advice not to practice in your first trimester but I couldn’t imagine stopping for 3 months! Plus my doctor and midwife told me if my body was used to it then it’s fine! A really useful book, which I would highly recommend, is “Yoga Sadhana For Mothers” by Sharmila Desai and Anna Wise with lots of great Ashtanga Yogis sharing their experience of pregnancy, practice and motherhood.
Whilst 6 weeks pregnant, I travelled to India and someone told me they had trained with Sharmila and what a great teacher she was – very nurturing of pregnant women and mothers. Your body will tell you what it wants and doesn’t want to do and it’s important that you listen! If, like me, you suffered a lot with nausea, sickness and tiredness in your first trimester you almost won’t have a choice but to take it a little easier (for more information on nausea, my experience and how to cope see my blog on the Inline Health website http://inlinehealth.co.uk/blog/2019/08/11/top-tips-for-nausea-during-pregnancy/). I personally found some of the advice to be over cautious but everyone is different and it’s important to follow what you are comfortable with.
I have done my Pregnancy Yoga Teacher Training and it was a brilliant course and taught me the BIG do’s and don’t’s, some good pregnancy modifications along with lovely exercises and sequences to do. I will be taking you through what I was taught, some of these exercises and how I changed my practice in a series of blogs starting with the sun salutations. At the moment I haven’t had to change the sun salutations too much – you might be different. Later on in my pregnancy I will post a video of how my sun salutations and practice has modified and changed as the bump gets bigger! I will also post some non Ashtanga exercises and sequences that have been useful to me.
Forward fold: I felt quite comfortable in a normal forward fold but you may feel like you are compressing your baby or your bump might be bigger. If this is the case place the hands on the thighs or shins rather than the floor and don’t fold so deep.
Stepping forwards and back: If jumping was in your practice I would advise you to start stepping. Jumping uses a lot of core strength and bandpass. Us Ashtangi’s have strong pelvic floor and that is a good thing, we want them to be strong, but not too strong!! We need to start letting go a little bit if we want to get that baby out at the end of the pregnancy. There will be lots of hormones getting the abdominals ready to stretch to make room for the baby so we don’t want to work against this process and there is not much point in strengthening them until the post natal stage. As the baby gets bigger it will put pressure down on the pubic symphysis and pelvic floor so stepping is safer especially if you are experiencing pelvic pain.
- Stepping back from a forward fold might get tricky so I would recommend starting from the back of your mat and walk the hands forward after your forward fold;
- Put your knees down once you have stepped back or walked the hands forward to do Chataranga Dandasana;
- If upward dog feels a bit much I would recommend replacing with cobra instead;
- Moving from upward dog to downward dog can feel uncomfortable. To alleviate this I put my knees down and tuck my toes under, which reduces the strain on my core and lower back;
- Downward dog could be a child’s pose if it feels too much or you are feeling nauseas;
- If stepping forward feels like it is compressing your bump then I would recommend walking the hands back to the feet; and
- In Sun Salutation B to step one foot forwards into the lunge/warrior 1 you might need to put the knees down first then step a little wider with the foot. If you are suffering with pelvic pain here keep knees on the floor in an upward kneeling position and lift the arms from here instead.
Hope the above is useful and helps you with your yoga practice during pregnancy. If you have any questions, or tips of your own, please comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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