By Nuala Woulfe
As with any exercise, you need to take certain general precautions when you’re pregnant.
The safest way to practice yoga during pregnancy is to look for a specialised prenatal class. These classes are designed for pregnant women. Based on your individual needs and stage of pregnancy your instructor will modify poses and your yoga routine.
If you cannot join a prenatal class, try to find a qualified yoga instructor, who will be able to and guide you through your pregnancy in a safe and gentle way.
Remember, each individual is different and each pregnancy unique. Avoid following yoga advice given through books, television shows and CD’s during pregnancy. If you are not able to follow the instructions or if you do the exercises incorrectly, you may end up doing yourself more harm than good. Only a trained yoga teacher can guide you properly based on your physical state and needs.
Here are some general safety guidelines on practicing yoga during pregnancy:
• Pregnancy is not the time to start an inversion practice – so avoid headstands, handstands or shoulder stands,
• You may want to skip any movements that require you to lie flat on your back for longer than a few minutes, especially after the first trimester. Lying on your back can put pressure on your heart, which can cause dizziness, shortness of breath, and nausea.
• Asana‘s which requires you to lie face down on your stomach should also be avoided.
• Skip positions that stretch the abdominal muscles too much, such as deep forward and back bends and deep twists. You’re more likely to tear and strain muscles now because the pregnancy hormones that allow the uterus to expand also loosen other connective tissue.
• Breathing techniques which involve breath holding, breath-retention or asana that involve vigorous breathing are also not recommended during pregnancy.
• Also, as your abdomen grows your centre of gravity is affected. Poses that require balance should be modified or done with the support of a prop, chair or wall.
• Twisting poses should be avoided or practiced with modifications especially in the second and third trimester.
• Steer clear, too, of Bikram or hot yoga classes, in which the room is heated to 90 degrees or higher, since this could cause dangerous overheating,
• Avoid any sauna’s that involve jumping, jump-backs or rolling.
• Avoid any form of yoga that is vigorous, aerobic in nature or intense. As a rule follow your body’s cue and stop if any posture causes discomfort.
Nuala Woulfe is one of the most respected and sought after beauty professionals in the country.
With over 21 years’ experience she continues to personally train her team of highly skilled expert therapists in both Nuala Woulfe Beauty Salon and Nuala Woulfe Serenity Day Spa.
For more information: