Despite all the best laid plans (and daydreams) for getting pregnant and parenting, seeing those two red lines on both the little white sticks, was still a shock. Some small part of me thought it might never happen, or at the least it might take some substantial time for us to hit the ‘ovulation window’. So once the news had finally sunk in – that inside my womb was a teeny little being (at 4 weeks it was apparently the size of a poppy seed – soooo tiny!) , next a slight panic set in…. while I’ve been teaching yoga for pregnant women for a number of years, I didn’t really know what my own body could, or should, do in those first few weeks. The preciousness and delicate nature of the first trimester really dawned me as I found I stopped enjoying my regular yoga practice, kids yoga felt like hard work, and my beloved swim school sessions were just uncomfortable – this was a time for listening to my body, and starting to slow down to baby’s pace. A restful pace. Over those initial weeks, while I fought to hide an ever-burgeoning bulge around my midriff, I put together a plan of the yoga that worked for me. And for all mums-to-be.
So here’s my top 5, early pregnancy yoga tips: up to 13 weeks, but also perfect for 2nd and 3rd trimester too when you want to go a little slower.
I found quite early on, the breath was becoming shallow. As the uterus continues to expand, some gentle seated side stretches are lovely to make space for the lungs, organs, and baby.
Seated breathing techniques like belly breathing or full yogic breath (starting with the breath in the belly and then moving up to the ribs and chest) allow the mind the slow down. This could be followed by a practice of meditation.
In terms of moving the body, cat curls, or most yoga positions on hands and knees are great for simply creating length in the spine and a stretch in the hips. I found I really enjoyed pelvic circles and figures of 8 with the hips, side stretches with an adapted side plank and even lunges/runner’s stretch , before working up towards an adapted downward facing dog – if energy levels are up to it.
MAKE THE MOST OF BEING ON YOUR BACK:
Many moves on the back are also lovely at this stage; happy baby pose seems very apt, sacrum circles, bridge lift, and a hamstring stretch like this one.
And the never failing, go-to posture for re-energising after a poor night’s sleep, or for a gentle back bend and hip opener: diamond restorative pose.