YOGA, PREGNANCY & POSTPARTUM – part I
After 8 months of postpartum recovery, I will finally start writing to you on a number of topics that are important to anyone considering pregnancy or who are already pregnant, and to all women in the postpartum period. I’ll put together a lot of pertinent information, and bring you interviews with experts for a better understanding of certain important issues in pregnancy, as well as for postpartum recovery.
For many years I have been teaching Ashtanga Yoga to women in pregnancy, when I started it were mostly students who already practiced and who decided to keep classes during gestation. With the continuation of the years and with the recognition of Yoga in general, I received more and more pregnant who had never practiced before. It is with great joy that I realize that almost all my students participate in classes until a few days after childbirth, and also that many, in a few months after having their babies, are back in practice.
Whether you have never done Ashtanga Yoga, or if you are already a regular practitioner, know that –
1) We will ask you not to come to class during the first trimester of pregnancy, especially if you have a history of spontaneous abortion or are in high risk pregnancy conditions.
2) You will have to ask the direct advice of your doctors or the specialists who follow your pregnancy about the beginning or continuation of the physical practice of Yoga adapted to the pregnancy.
3) After medical confirmation prepare yourself to learn how to breathe, to conjugate breaths with movements and postures, to develop a Yoga practice that will work your body in order to help you to be active throughout the gestation, as well as prepare you for childbirth, and for postpartum recovery.
4) If you are already regular practitioners, know that you will be able to maintain your Yoga but there will inevitably be some changes necessary for you and your babies to be safe.
5) It is recommended to eat something light before your class, do not come to practice on an empty stomach. You should eat something to help regulate blood sugar levels.
6) Bring comfortable clothing, neither too tight or too broad.
7) You will be asked throughout the class to drink water to avoid dehydration.
8) You will always be in the coolest place of the room, in order to avoid overheating.
9) If you feel dizzy, with nausea, you should immediately stop the position where you are, tell your teacher and adapt a posture where you can rest until you identify that everything has returned to normal.
10) If you feel very tired, with headaches, cramps, pressure on your belly, or bleeding, you should stop practicing immediately, or do not come to class and talk to your doctors.
11) Breathing is always continuous and free, do not retain air.
12) You will not make movements that can lead to compression of the uterus, but also any postures where you feel uncomfortable. You will learn to listen internally, and to be connected to your body and your baby.
13) Let your teachers know if you have morning sickness, and that they can make the necessary changes in the practice. Do not be scared with all these indications if you are already a regular practitioners, you will be able to do your practice but you really have to take these general guidelines into account, and then, well every woman and pregnancy are unique so do not have any fear, this stage of your life is incredible and a such a deep learning in knowing yourselves as women and human beings.
14) There are several changes in the Yoga postures and many positions are no longer taught to pregnant women because they are not beneficial or safe at this stage of your lives, so you will need to learn from an experienced teacher. To know a little about the person you have in front, it will be enough to ask how long he/she have been practicing and studying Yoga and who their teachers have been, and you will be able to understand a little of their professional background. Usually choosing a Yoga teacher depends on knowing and recognizing that they are really an experienced and knowledgeable person, but it is also a decision made by the existence of empathy and connection.
15) The teaching is done not only to think about the pregnancy and baby, but also as preparation for childbirth and postpartum. You will learn to breathe diaphragmatically, to relax and contract the pelvic floor, to identify muscles that until then could be totally unknown. You will learn small postural adjustments that will be of great support for your column, among other information that a good professional will know how to teach.
16) It is important that after practice, you ingest nutrients and liquids to rehydrate.
There is much more to be written about Ashtanga Yoga and pregnancy, but here is the first information for you to reflect and soon i will give you more to put in practice.