The first trimester of all four of my pregnancies were marked by that terrible pregnancy exhaustion. You only truly understand this exhaustion once you have experienced and when you sneak off to catch a cat nap in the loos at work.
After my 3rd baby I spent a year getting back into shape and managed to bring my weight down and get the centimetres off. I finally started liking what I saw in the mirror. Then I fell pregnant again. From the moment I found out I was (and still am) determined to keep up with my exercise routine and not put all the weight back on.
All went well until the exhaustion hit and all I wanted to do was crawl into bed but fortunately the toddler had different ideas so getting him out the house to the gym play area was actually good for us both – it forced me into the gym and got him out the house for a bit.
I am nearly at the end of the first trimester and am still battling with getting through my routines on my own which is why I started going back to regular yoga classes. Someone else is telling me what to do for an hour, I get a good work out and there are so many benefits to yoga and I can do it until well into the last trimester.
Benefits of Yoga During Pregnancy
Yoga helps reduce stress. We have quiet time at the end of the class where we focus on our breathing for up to 10 minutes, the key to this exercise is to shut your mind and focus only on the breathing. This 10 minutes, for me, is so vital to helping me reduce stress and anxiety.
Yoga strengthens. I have watched me who can lift all the weights in the gym battle to stay in yoga poses because yoga uses your entire body for almost all the poses, with the focus being on your core. This strength helps when you are pregnant and have to carry extra weight.
Yoga can lessen lower back pain and increase mobility. Your abdominal muscles will stretch by over 50% of their original length during pregnancy. Yoga helps to strengthen those muscles which in term helps to support the uterus and reduces pelvic pressure.
Yoga isn’t about ego! A lot of exercises in a gym environment make you feel like you should increase the speed or the weight but yoga isn’t about that. It is about doing what your body can do. I remember my first few classes, I could barely do any of the more advanced poses but now I know their names and can get into them pretty easily. It does wonders for my self confidence when I have mastered a pose!
Yoga teaches you how to breathe. There is a lot of focus on breathing through the poses, each movement is done on an exhale or inhale. Often when I find myself feeling anxious or overwhelmed I practise the breathing exercises we do and it immediately helps to calm me down!
Even though yoga is safe to do during pregnancy, if you have never done it before check with your gynae and make sure to tell your instructor so she knows to modify certain poses for you!
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