Prone poses. Certain belly down poses are fine, like bhujangasana (cobra pose), as long as the practitioner is grounding the pubic bone and elongating through the lower back and actively using her legs, the lower belly is not getting direct pressure. However poses like danurasana (bow pose) and salambhasana (locust pose) both put direct pressure on the uterus and should be avoided.
Deep twists. This family of poses is wonderfully therapeutic for the nonpregnant body since it provides an excellent means of compressing the internal organs which stimulates and cleanses the organs. Even though the uterus is still fairly small and situated in the pelvis, I recommend avoiding deep belly twists. Instead focus on twists of the upper back, keeping the “baby” pointing forward and twisting above the bra strap line.
Deep backbends. These poses should also be approached with caution since they too, compress the uterus and can over stretch the abdominal muscles.
Jumps and jerky movements. These movements can disturb implantation.
Abdominal strengtheners. At the Prenatal Yoga Center, we do not teach abdominal work to first trimester students. My reason being, that during the first trimester there is the high incidence of miscarriage. I have never come across data that states abdominal work will cause miscarriage, but I know that many women are protective of their belly region and concerned about any hardening activity of this area. I would not want anyone, should they suffer the loss of their pregnancy, to think that the ab work they did somehow caused the miscarriage.
We do focus quite a bit on transverse abdominal work in the second and third trimester. We believe abdominal work at this time in pregnancy aids and prepares the mother for the second stage of labor (pushing) and supports the back as the uterus continues to grow.
Certain pranayamas. Avoid pranayamas that involve breath retention and deep forceful movements of the belly like kapalabhati or bhastrika (bellows breath) Alternate nostril breathing is fine as long as you DO NOT add retention. Ujjiyi breath should not be practiced if the mucus membranes are swollen causing stuffiness. Most laboring women breathe in through their nose and out through their mouth. Since the one of the focuses of prenatal yoga is to help prepare for labor, I encourage the students to practice mouth breathing in their asana practice since it will be familiar to them for their labor and birth. 14 months ago
So I realized that practice makes perfect – or at least good. I skipped a week of my yoga practice and I have only practiced today. It was not great. My hamstrings are tight and my arms are not as strong. Worse, my core is soft (my belly bulge is showing!).
Same as with the rule of life, if I want best results I should work hard. Yoga should also be my priority. I should make time. 15 months ago
My personal meaning of yoga is a combination of an ever-evolving mental, spiritual and physical exercise. A lot of self-awareness and self-control is involved whenever I practice as there are a lot of distractions and wandering thoughts. When my practice deepens, everything else becomes silent except for my breath. A level of maturity has also been obtained as it suppresses or diminishes the ego. These benefits weave into the reality off the mat, i.e., dealing with our everyday lives, our relationships, work, etc. Yoga helps me cope with challenges and lets me look at life in a different way. It also changed the way I eat! 15 months ago
I always have self-talks whenever I practice. I can’t seem to silence my mind. They just sneak in, scurry around, and quietly leave.
In my last practice, I thought that I may not be good enough anymore. I felt ignored by my other yoga teacher. And I also felt that I want to go to other yoga shalas so I could grow.
But this self-talk changed when I saw the other side to this argument: my teacher maybe left me alone because I’m good enough.
So I thought earlier if I could break some rules. I did some poses wrongly and finally I got noticed! My teacher even assisted me to my most challenging pose – the kurmasana.
I also tried to figure out how is it different to practice in a shala than practicing at home. Of course, there are no distractions. All you see and hear are all related to practicing yoga. During my asana practice earlier, I experienced the purest joy from just doing it. I relished in the pain of my unstretched limbs, every breath, every contraction of my mula bandha, the soft landings of my jump throughs… and the achievement of stilling my mind through the audible ujjayi sound.
No more egos or competition between me and other good practitioners and worse – competition within myself. I just let things be. If I can’t do the pose, then there’s next time. No pressure. I’m doing this for the sake of practicing.
I hope I could recreate this mindset when I practice again at home.
I also told my teacher that I plan to get pregnant soon. No more kapalabati, uddiyana bandhas… and jump throughs even. Another challenge to overcome but I have set a different priority. I’ll shelf my plans of being a yoga teacher for now. But I promise to be a yogini forever. 16 months ago
Since my yoga teacher left, my practice stagnated.
Yoga is still meaningful for me and a constant commitment. I still practice it at least once a week.
As with my discontent, while I was practicing earlier, I felt my tears welling up. It was a humbling experience. I cannot do it alone… whoever I was before, it was because my teacher was there to support and inspire me. He believed and me and saw me grow.
Now, it has become more like a stilling and a strengthening routine. My new teacher seems to be not keen about my progress anymore. Perhaps she was stuck to the idea that I used to be good before.
I have tried a number of things, became good at it but I did not become great. I could have leveled up by joining a teacher training workshop but other priorities sprung up like I’m planning to have a baby this year.
Finding another good teacher may need time, some additional budget, effort, etc. For now, all I have is myself. I should strive harder to be better. 16 months ago