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Pre and Postnatal Yoga with Alison Johnson

Pre and Postnatal Yoga with Alison Johnson

Yoga is an ideal way to stay in shape during pregnancy. This age-old practice keeps you limber, strong, tones your muscles and improves balance and circulation, without the impact on your joints. It is not just your body, but also your mind and emotions that yoga practice will help with. Yoga will take you through this journey and beyond, preparing you also with childbirth.  Pranayama, deep breathing and meditation will help you through the labour and delivery.

During the first trimester, it is generally best to ‘step back’ into practice.  Your body is adapting to hormonal changes and you are likely to feel tired.  Use this time to discover (if new to yoga) or enjoy, if already practicing the magic of deep breathing and pranayama. Take time to meditate – just a few quiet moments to still the mind will help you with the emotions you will experience and help keep you positive throughout.

Find a reputable class and teacher. If you opt for a regular class rather than a specialised prenatal class, make sure your teacher knows you are pregnant.  Many postures have to be carefully adapted.

In the second trimester, hormone levels balance out and you will be adjusting to what is happening. Back pain is a common discomfort; yoga postures will help release the back and alleviate common aches and pains.  Your yoga practice must be adapted accordingly. Your teacher will guide you through – seating postures will help the back, standing postures to keep the legs strong and twists are great but they must all be external rotations, NO internal rotations.

During the third trimester – more adaptations. Use props and cushions if needed, go really easy on yourself, lots of relaxation, pranayama and meditation. No strong energetic moves. Continue to tone the pelvic floor muscles. Focus on hip movements to prepare for the birth. It is this time that your baby actively prepares also. Do not hold postures for long but do keep moving and do extend relaxation. It is important to keep healthy and strong and yoga will help.

Postnatal. Yoga is a great form of exercise to get you back into shape, and at the same time, keeping the mind positive and healthy.  Start with gentle yoga based movements, breathing, pranayama and meditation, but do check with your GP or midwife before resuming a practice.  

Make sure you take medical advice before starting any yoga practice during your pregnancy.  And always follow the golden rule in yoga:  “listen to your body”. Only you can really know how you feel- always come out of a posture and relax if it does not feel good.  Make sure you avoid deep backbends throughout. No prone poses – adaptations must be made.


By Alison Johnson – Hatha Yoga Teacher

Twitter:  @alisonjyoga