By Sangeetha Saran
During the third trimester of pregnancy, it becomes more difficult for women to practice Yoga training. As weight gain increases and the belly gets larger, poses require modifications and props. Some women experience shortness of breath or find it difficult to maintain their balance; others suffer from fatigue and heartburn.
The general rule of thumb is not to do anything that causes discomfort or pain. While there are guidelines for the last trimester, there are no absolutes. A healthy, experienced Yoga practitioner will obviously be able to handle poses that someone less fit or skilled cannot.
An experienced instructor who has completed prenatal Yoga teacher training can set up a regimen to fit anybody’s needs, but there are a few general guidelines to keep in mind.
What Not to Do in the Third Trimester
• Don’t try to keep the same pace as in the earlier months of pregnancy.
• Avoid poses that require you to balance on one leg without assistance.
• Skip deep forward bends, twists, back bends and any exercise that strengthens the abdomen.
• Don’t do hot or power Yoga.
• Don’t stay in one position too long.
• Don’t do anything that doesn’t feel good.
Safe Practices for the Third Trimester
• Check with your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you to exercise.
• Use a chair for standing poses, or place your heel against the wall to keep your balance.
• Use straps, blocks, pillows and blankets to makes poses comfortable and safe.
• Focus on poses that involve standing, using the knees, or lying on your side; adapt as needed.
• Use meditation and gentle breathing exercises to relieve stress and improve circulation.
Most poses practiced during the first six months of pregnancy can be continued into the third trimester, but modifications may be needed. Also appropriate in most cases are the following hip-openers: Knee-to-Ankle Pose, Triangle Pose, Warrior II and Pigeon Pose. To increase flexibility and guide the baby’s head into the proper position for delivery, Yoga instructors often recommend Cat-Cow Pose.
Although strenuous breathing exercises are not safe, long inhalations through the nose with slow exhalations through the mouth help to relieve stress and oxygenate the blood during pregnancy and childbirth.
It’s never too late to pick up Yoga during pregnancy. A gentle practice of asanas, meditation and breathing can be helpful even when started in the last trimester.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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