Yoga and pregnancy: can I do inversions?

Yoga and pregnancy: can I do inversions?Is yoga good for pregnancy? Which asanas should not be done? And if there is a risk of miscarriage, can I do yoga? What do you say about inversions? What to do if I don’t feel good practicing Sarvangasana? I receive such questions quite regularly. So, I think, that’s time to answer them here.

Sure, yoga and pregnancy are an ideal match J. And the answer to the question “Is yoga good for pregnancy?”  is obvious: yes, of course, it’s very useful to practice yoga when you wait for a baby. Yoga and pregnancy are absolutely compatible and good for the health of both mother and baby. Asanas, breathing techniques and meditation contribute to trouble-free pregnancy and childbirth. Moreover, the practice of yoga is extremely useful in the postpartum period when each woman needs to strengthen the abdominal muscles and recover her shapes.

So yoga provides comprehensive support to women before, during and after childbirth. This is a complex of benefits, including physical, physiological, mental and emotional support. However, there are some rules which are necessary to follow. Besides yoga poses for pregnancy that are good for each woman, there could be some contraindications in your case. It’d better to ask experienced yoga teacher to build sequence personally for you.

And there are asanas and exercises that are forbidden during pregnancy or just at some period of it. For example, long practice of Padmasana (Lotus pose) is not recommended, because it reduces blood circulation in the legs.

Inversions are usually also not recommended as yoga poses for pregnancy. But if you are experienced yogi and feel good in inversions you can continue to practice them. Just be attentive to your body. For example, if you feel in Sarvangasana as if blood rushes to your head and hear some kind of noise in your ears, you should go out of asana – immediately, but carefully. In fact, these sensations shouldn’t appear in any asana, and not just at pregnancy period – in any other conditions! Tinnitus and other kind of noise in this asana often indicates high blood pressure which is a contraindication for Sarvangasana! This is also can show imbalance of Wind (Vata) in your body. Let your yoga teacher, Ayurvedic doctor or yoga therapist to find the answer.

Stress also causes unpleasant sensations in inversions, again via increasing blood pressure. There can be other reasons: the lack of sleep and food, or, conversely, a lot of junk food on the eve of practices. Meat-eaters shouldn’t keep Sarvangasana for a long time. If in Shoulder stand you feel strong muscular discomfort, it may occur due to overexertion. Make face and throat more relaxing, sometimes it is enough to improve your feelings in Sarvangasana.

In any case, don’t keep Sarvangasana longer than 5-10 minutes, especially during pregnancy. Watch yourself during another 2-3 classes. If the discomfort will emerge again, it is necessary to cancel Shoulder stand until the full restoration of health and cessation of symptoms. Fortunately, there are more sparing inversions such as Viparita Karani, Halasana, Naman Pranamasana etc. Listen to your body and baby, let them make the right choice. And remember: I’d better to discuss any question about yoga and pregnancy personally with your yoga teacher, because this is an area of individual solutions. Sometimes inversions are very good for pregnan woman, sometimes they are forbidden. I just answer positively the spread question: is yoga good for pregnancy? Yes, of course, don’t have any doubts…

Best regards,

Liya Volova



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