Prenatal Yoga for Every Trimester

The journey of pregnancy is truly a wonder and a gift. Not only is your body going through physical changes, but your mental and emotional states are fluctuating as well.

Women commonly experience a whirlwind of emotionsexcitement, joy, even anxiety and fearwhen they find out they're pregnant. Yoga can help pregnant women manage all of those emotional states, prepare for a new baby and maintain a sense of their current life.

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Practicing yoga prepares women for motherhood by teaching them to let go of expectations and surrender to the present moment.

"Practicing yoga during pregnancy can develop the tools and habits that one can carry off the mat and into the always changing, never predictable, sometimes confusing, but often beautiful states of parenthood," says Holly Hadden, a mom and yoga teacher.

Each time you practice yoga, your body and mind will respond differently. As your pregnancy progresses you will have to continually modify your practice. Acceptance is key to this transformation, and as you learn to let go of control on the mat, it allows you to enjoy the pregnancy more fully.

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Yoga connects you with your mind, your body and your baby. Practicing yoga brings more body awareness, allowing you to better understand you and your baby's needs.

It reminds you to breathe more deeply, to slow down and to listen to your body and intuition. Yoga gives you energy during your pregnancy, brings peace of mind and clarity and balances the emotions. As you build physical strength and stamina you inevitably create more courage and confidence within.

First Trimester (0-13 weeks)

A gentle yoga practice or no yoga is recommended for the first trimester. Nausea and fatigue can decrease the motivation to practice. A gentle practice can help you feel more balanced and energized.

You want to be more mindful of the intensity of your practice even if you're an experienced practitioner due to the increased sensitivity at this time to the development of your baby.

It's recommended to modify or eliminate inversions, twists and jumping so you don't disrupt the implantation of the fetus and placenta. Omit headstands, and opt for bridge pose instead of bow pose during the first trimester. Step back and forth, don't jump, during Sun Salutations.

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