Yoga for Expecting Mothers© Sonnhof European Ayurveda

Yoga for Expecting Mothers

by Lisa Mauracher - Director of the Yoga Centre at Ayurveda Resort Sonnhof

Many pregnant women see Yoga as a perfect exercise during pregnancy. Physically, mentally and emotionally - Yoga helps to identify what is good for your body and what you should avoid during your pregnancy. Here are some tips, tricks and simple exercises.


The First Trimester

Especially in the first trimester, i.e. the first three months of pregnancy, you should not at all or only gently practice yoga. There is a simple reason for this: Many pregnant women do not have the feeling of "being two instead of one" in the first months. However, that is the necessary basis for a safe yoga practice. In pregnancy you have to pay attention not only to yourself, but also to a second life, that is growing inside of you.

Mamasté instead of Namasté

Many expecting mothers develop this new body feeling fairly quickly and switch to a gentler yoga practice, such as a prenatal course, straightaway. Even though there's nothing wrong with having a slim body during pregnancy, any kind of exercise becomes a risk, if you are driven by the fear of having a few kilos too much.

The following aspects should be considered during a Yoga class:

  1. You should never feel like you have to try hard to keep up - this indicates overexertion. You can control this with the help of your breath: it should be able to flow calmly at all times. As soon as deep breathing becomes difficult, you should take childs pose. During guided breathing exercises you should skip the phases of holding your breath and continue to breathe calmly.
  2. You should also avoid any exercises that squeeze or twist the abdomen. This includes abdominal exercises such as the boat pose and extreme turning postures.


The Second Trimester

The second trimester is often described as the most beautiful time of pregnancy. The morning sickness is gone, the pregnancy is clearly visible on the outside and the child starts moving. Often, expecting mothers are full of energy during these months - and you can practice any form of Yoga now.

However, there are some taboos for the yoga class:

  1. No exercises lying on your stomach
  2. No jump exercises
  3. No turning exercises to the closed side (for example, to the side of the bent leg)


The Third Trimester

Now, "belly freedom" is very important.

During the third trimester the abdomen becomes bigger daily and many women struggle with heartburn, water retention and shortness of breath. You should avoid all reversal postures, as the center of gravity of your body has shifted considerably by now.

Especially at the end of the pregnancy, not only physical discomforts but also anxieties might occur. Meditations and breathing exercises like Brahmari help to calm your thoughts and emotions.


Here is a Compilation of the Best Asanas for Pregnancy

Your body will clearly signal you how long you can practice yoga during pregnancy. If it feels good, you can do yoga exercises even until birth.


Viparita Karani - The Gentle Shoulder-Stand

This exercise helps when your legs are swollen and has a preventive effect against varicose veins. It stimulates the blood supply to your head and therefore improves the brain performance.

How it works:

  1. Lie on your back. You can also put a pillow or blanket under your buttocks, if this feels better.
  2. Now stretch your legs up and leave the upper body on the ground.
  3. This position should be kept for 5-10 breaths.


The Tree

This exercise strengthens your sense of balance.

How it works:

  1. Stand on the mat and focus on a firm footing.
  2. Lift the right foot and pull it onto the inside of the left thigh.
  3. Then join hands in front of the chest.
  4. Repeat this exercise on the other side as well.


The Cat

This exercise relaxes the back muscles, the legs and the mobility of the spine. In addition, it promotes blood circulation and stimulates the detoxification of the body. 

How it works:

  1. Get into the all-fours position with your back straight.
  2. When inhaling, lift one leg and hold it there.
  3. Try to keep your back straight and avoid making a hollow back.
  4. As you breathe out, lower your leg again and repeat with the other leg the next time you inhale.


Adho Mukha Svanasana - Downward Facing Dog

This asana is very well known and cannot be missed in any session. For many it is one of the most relaxing exercises in Yoga practice.

How it works:

  1. Start in the all-fours position, with hands and feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. While exhaling, lift your hips up so that your arms and legs are stretched out.
  3. The shoulders pull away from the ears and the heels push to the floor gently.
  4. Hold this position for about 20 seconds.


With Yoga, you cannot only keep yourself fit and flexible during pregnancy, but also experience and enjoy this phase of life more consciously.

It helps to relieve your back and joints. Through the interaction of physical exercises, breathing exercises and meditation, pregnancy symptoms can be eased in a gentle way.


published: 05/11/2018

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