Last week, we talked about the things to avoid in yoga to keep pregnant women safe. That's always the first concern, of course. But once you are safe, there are loads of things you can do to ease the experience of carrying a pregnancy (which requires stability) and giving birth (which requires the pelvis to open up in a truly spectacular way).
Here are the top six things to emphasise in prenatal yoga, or in a general class that has pregnant students in it:
1. Focus on opening the hip and groin area by doing hip opening postures like Butterfly Pose, Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend and Deep Squat
2. Strengthen the muscles around the pelvis by doing stabilising postures like Chair Pose, Semi squats and gentle Variations of Bridge Pose
3. Get the thighs ready for the hard work during labour by doing lots strengthening standing postures like Warrior Poses and gentle flowing movements like Salutations to the Sun (modified)
4. Focus on opening chest and upper back area and relaxing the other main areas or the upper body (shoulder, head and neck) to counterbalance the weight of the baby pulling the upper body forward and to open the 'heart space' in order soften any emotional tensions.
5. Practice Preparational Birthing Practices and pelvic floor awareness to prepare and empower the pregnant woman for labour by doing lots of challenging postures with calming breathing and Visualisation practices.
6. Practice useful Breathing Techniques that will help the mother to be to calm down the nervous system and to soften the belly and pelvis area during pregnancy and labour.