Below yoga sequence should be used as a guide by yoga teachers to create their own yoga class plans
Prenatal Yoga Sequence First Trimester
Pregnancy is usually divided into three trimesters; and the First Trimester comprises from Weeks 1 to Week 12, the weeks from the time of conception. The first trimester is considered to be the most important bit because the highest risk of miscarriage is present then. Therefore, understanding the body in this period and, accepting the changes happening and facing the symptoms of the hormonal changes is very crucial.
In the first trimester, a hormone called relaxin is secreted which loosens your muscles and ligaments. Hence, with the practice of yoga, during the first trimester, caution should be given to avoid deep stretches as there is an increase risk of injury. The focus during the first trimester should be to allow the body to accept the changes from within by practicing simple stretches of the limbs while also bringing in oxygen consciously.
Guidelines: Listening to the body during the practice of yoga is very important. Make sure breathing is done continuously throughout the practice. Make sure enough water consumption is done in order to stay hydrated.
The body is not heavy in the first trimester, but it still might cause discomfort due to the hormonal changes within; thus, this sequence uses yoga poses that are light and work towards stretching the sides of the back to help better digestion and reduce nausea.
Prenatal Yoga Sequence First Trimester: Yoga Poses, Cues, Steps, and Breathing instructions
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A. Hormone changes within the body may be different for different women and not all pregnant women have the same symptoms. Keeping this in mind a general simple stretch to the upper body moving with breath is considered here for the first trimester.
B. Standing with a bit of distance between the feet, bring the body at the centre of the mat standing comfortably. Take a few breaths here to slowly connect with the movement of the body. As you get comfortable with the breathing go into 4 rounds of connecting with both inhalation and exhalation.
C. One can stay with eyes closed if comfortable, or stay with eyes open for better comfort.
D. Beginning with Tadasana, here helps to start with calming the breath while staying still with the physical body. Yoga during pregnancy is not about gaining flexibility but to remain strong and stable with the months to come.
A. Inhale while standing in Tadasana raising your arms above you and slowly feeling the stretch of the arms and the upper body.
B. Raise the arms above your head and interlock the fingers extending the palms and remain here in Palm Tree Pose for about 3 breaths.
C. Raising the arms above the head here also reduces the tensions at the shoulders and the neck and gives room for the slight stretch to the upper abdomen improving the breathing.
D. With the arms raised here, remain breathing deep and slow and stay here for about 3 breaths and then with another inhalation, release the arms stretching from around the shoulders and relax.
E. Relax back in Tadasana taking 2 breaths here. Then inhale again and go into Urdhva Hastotanasana raising the arms above and remain here for about 3 breaths, focusing on the breath while not overstretching the abdomen.
A. After a few rounds of breathing at Tadasana, come to sit at the centre of the mat in Dandasana.
B. Seated in Dandasana, stretching your legs out in front of you, extend the spine upwards up to your body comfort and close your eyes.
C. If sitting on the floor brings discomfort, using a blanket or a soft thin pillow below the hips should be good to support the spine and lower back.
D. While seated in Dandasana, make sure the hips are comfortable and back straight, as the flow of prana upwards form the base of the spine to the crown of the head should be smooth.
E. Seated here for about 6 breaths, remain focused with the breathing and watch the breath with the movement of the spine. Energy flow is very important during pregnancy to keep the nervous system in control while relaxing the nerves.
F. Dandasana or Staff Pose, though an easy pose, should be done with proper understanding of the body aligning the legs to the upper body for better benefits.
A. From the practice of Dandasana, cross your legs at the shin and sit in Easy Pose or Sukhasana bringing the hands below the belly to connect with the embryo.
B. Seated comfortably here on a cushion or otherwise, close your eyes and begin the deep connection of the movement of the belly along with the breath.
C. Watch the movement of the belly as you inhale and as you exhale and let the entire body be relaxed including the facial muscles. Sit here in Sukhasana for about 12 breaths bringing a smile to the face.
D. Using the wall for support to enjoy this practice is advisable. If crossing the legs brings discomfort, then place yoga blocks below the thighs for better comfort.