Yoga for Pregnancy

Which Yoga Poses Are OK for the First Trimester?

Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa offers advice for practicing yoga during pregnancy.

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Q: Should I completely suspend my hatha yoga practice during the first trimester? If not, which asanas are best for this period? —Mayte

Read Gurmukh’s reply:

Dear Mayte,

Absolutely not. One of the best things you can do during your first trimester is continue your yoga practice, or even begin a new yoga practice. However, listen to your body. If you are experiencing morning sickness or if you are extremely tired, then lose all your shoulds and listen to how you feel. Movement can often help lift morning sickness and raise your energy. Experiment and see how you react.

There are a few exceptions. If a doctor recommends that you go on bed rest or minimize your exercise, talk with her about whether you can continue with your yoga practice. If you’ve undergone in vitro fertilization or if you’ve had multiple miscarriages, yoga may not be right for you at this time. Even if you can’t continue your practice, you can still enjoy the benefits of meditation.

As far as asanas are concerned, go with everything that feels good to you in the first 18 weeks of pregnancy, in whatever school of yoga you practice. On the 120th day after conception, when the soul of your baby comes in, your practice will need to change a little. At that time, we recommend avoiding all abdominal strengthening exercises, such as sit-ups; long-held inversions, such as Headstand or Handstand; breath of fire; heavy abdominal breathing; and pulling of the lower locks (as in mula bandha).