I Started Doing Yoga While Pregnant and Here's What Happened

Guest Post: Isabelle Marsh

When I was just a few weeks pregnant, I could feel my hips expanding in ways I didn't think were possible. My back was sore and getting up after a long night sleep was painful. I had been a previous yoga-dooer, but was afraid to start back up again because I wasn't sure my body could move in every which way anymore. But, I decided to take a little risk (which I learned later was not a risk at all) and begin a prenatal yoga class. 

Here's what changed in a matter of weeks:

1. My mind was clearer and more focused

Pregnancy brain is one of those concepts that is often debated upon. I will tell you from personal experience that my mind was often foggy (still is) and my memory seemed to be far shorter than it once was. Prenatal yoga helped focus my mind by focusing on the present moment. My breath and concentration improved as I was able to relax rather than restrain. 

"Learning to do ujjayi breathing primes you for labor and childbirth by training you to stay calm when you need it most. When you're in pain or afraid, your body produces adrenalin and may produce less oxytocin, a hormone that makes labor progress. A regular yoga practice will help you resist the urge to tighten up when you feel pain, and make it easier to relax instead." [1]

2. My back felt more relaxed 

With light and gentle movements, I could slowly feel my back opening up and becoming more open to movement. My trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night felt less painful. I held each pose as directed by the instructor and listened to my body. When I felt tired, it was clear I was tired and needed to rest. The same happened when I would wake up in the middle of the night. I realized I was no longer in a rush to get back into bed. Instead, I tried focusing on the present moment and slowly returning to bed without the risk of injuring myself.

3. My ability to stretch increased 

I learned a little bit about what poses were comfortable and safe. For example, standing poses with my heel against the wall felt the most comfortable. I utilized a chair more often to ensure I had stability, which also made me feel more comfortable stretching and moving using different motions. I used props, blocks and straps to ensure I had stability. When I used these props, I saw myself changing and increasing my range of motion. 

I'm still on my way to finding a yogic balance. There are times when my body does not wish to move in ways it once did. I've come to realize that is a part of this process. My ability to believe more in my body's movements is what continues to shock me as I bring new life into this world.

Kristina Caputi