Below yoga sequence should be used as a guide by yoga teachers to create their own yoga class plans
Prenatal Yoga Sequence: Pregnancy Yoga Flow
The Prenatal Yoga Sequence can be practiced at any stage of pregnancy. This sequence uses yoga poses primarily to ensure the smooth flow of prana from the base of the spine while reducing the blockages. The standing yoga poses are for opening the upper part of the body gradually since muscles around the shoulders, neck, and the upper abdomen tend to become tight during pregnancy. In this pregnancy yoga flow, the sequence moves to floor yoga poses where the emphasis is on the hips and lower back. While ending the sequence, poses that use the support of either the wall, blocks, blankets, cushions or chair, are used since they are safe for pregnant women. Breathing plays an essential role, and so should be deep and slow. The flow of both inhalation and exhalation must be smooth and can be practiced during all stages of gestation, but with the guidance of a yoga teacher.
Q1.How is yoga useful during pregnancy?
A frequently asked question is- how is yoga useful during pregnancy? Well a woman's body during the gestation period - 40 weeks (full term) sees many changes, starting with the hormone levels. The changes in the fluctuation of the hormones bring in many other physical as well as mental imbalances. To overcome these symptoms the practice of yoga during pregnancy has proven to be both beneficial and supportive. Given below are some of these benefits:
Improves blood circulation.
Keeps control on the blood pressure.
Reduces discomfort with the physical body with the overstretching of the various muscles.
Reduces the swelling of the hands, feet, and legs.
Improves and encourages better sleep pattern.
Imporves digestion, controls mood swings, reduces headaches, and keeps the mind calm.
Prepares the body for delivery in a smooth and stress-free way.
NOTE: Safety for both the mother and the baby is always important and here, the sequence has been created with this in mind. For women who have some experience in yoga practice, they can make suitable changes to the yoga poses in order to make it more challenging. But please ensure the same is done under the guidance of a yoga teacher.
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A. Begin to work with the upper body that includes the arms, shoulders, chest and the neck.
B. From Tadasana (Mountain Pose), go to Katichakrasana (Waist Rotating Pose). Here, move the torso in a full twist turning towards the left as you inhale.
C. Once there, exhale completely. Stay here in this twist for about 6 breaths, and move deeper behind with every exhalation.
D. Release and come to the center. Inhaling turn towards the right side, exhale completely. Stay here in this posture for about 6 breaths.
E. Watch the shoulder, arms, upper body, and neck stretch and open up as you exhale.
This posture is more to help with opening the muscles and increasing the blood circulation with the twist around the upper spine and chest. As you progress in pregnancy, the spine takes a lot of stress. The body weight pushes the muscles around the spine creating tightness. Therefore working with these muscles from the beginning will ensure the muscles support the spine through the entire pregnancy.
A. Moving with the upper body, come to the wall to stand with your back towards the wall. Keep three-foot distance and stand in front of the wall.
B. Inhale and twist towards your left side just like in Katichakrasana (Waist Rotating Pose), but, with the wall behind you. Placing the palms on the wall, use this support to help you twist further.
C. Exhale completely. Ensure the feet are firm on the floor and make sure the twisting of the torso is done within your comfort. Stay in this posture for about 6 breaths.
D. Release and repeat with the other side to remain for 6 breaths.
Note: This variation of the twist using the wall for support is a great option for the second and third trimester. But make sure that the practice should be done with care if one is diagnosed with Diastasis Recti, as one does not want to put pressure on the abdominal muscles.
A. Continuing still with the upper body, practice Urdhva Hastotanasana (Palm Tree Pose), stretching the arms above the head as you inhale.
B. Stay in this posture deepening the stretch as you exhale. Focus and stay for about 6 breaths.
C. The upper movement of the arms help in breathing deep, which is essential as you progress through pregnancy. Deeper breathing using the upper body must be encouraged in the initial stages of pregnancy.