Exercising with yoga brings about unbelievable benefits for everyone, even those who are in the period of pregnancy.
However, did you know that there are many different kinds of yoga and just a few of them are safe for expectant moms?
In fact, there is a huge range of yoga styles. They are mainly classified by the order you do the exercises, and which point you focus on while practicing.
- Reading more: Is yoga safe for pregnant women?
In general, Ashtanga yoga can be considered as the purest yoga and the yoga form most of us are doing these days is actually an adaptation of it.
Below are the most important elements that most yoga types embrace:
Of course, each yoga style will emphasize on different elements. If you are pregnant, you had better go to a prenatal class where you can meet a qualified instructor to ensure you will always be safe during the yoga sessions.
Normally, the first trimester is the most important period of the whole pregnancy. You must be really careful when exercising at this stage.
After that, from the second trimester onwards, prenatal yoga practice will be adapted for all other periods. The main purpose is to nurture you and your growing baby, helping your mind to relax and get the best preparation for labor, birth and upcoming motherhood.
Back to the main question here: “What kind of yoga is good for pregnancy?”
If you don’t have any chance to join a prenatal yoga class, or you still want to research deeper into the types of yoga you can try during your 9-month period, refer to the following list:
1# Hatha yoga:
As most people know about this style, Hatha yoga is all about balancing your body and your mind. “Ha” represents the sun, and “tha” represents the moon, so the practice of Hatha yoga focus on joining or balancing these two energies.
Usually, a Hatha yoga class will include a set of physical postures and breathing techniques, practiced a bit more slowly and practitioners will have to hold the postures for a longer time than a Vinyasa or Ashtanga flow.
That’s why it is quite popular with beginners and highly recommended for pregnant women.
Hatha yoga can improve physical strength and posture, promote steady breathing, increase awareness and relaxation. It can be considered as one of the best yoga styles for future moms.
For a tutorial video:
2# Ananda yoga:
Similar to Hatha yoga, Ananda yoga is a combination of physical and spiritual practice. It prepares your body for meditation through a series of postures. It allows you to meditate using different parts of the body.
Above all, it aims at raising your level of consciousness by fostering the natural effects of yoga postures, and eventually harmonize your body, mind, and soul.
There are some main emphases in Ananda style:
- Safety and correct alignment
- Being relaxed at all times
- Working directly with the body’s subtle energy through every single posture
- Using the postures to raise consciousness
- Adaptation – finding the way to modify the postures based on an individual’s ability and needs
Below is an introduction video to Ananda yoga:
3# Integral yoga:
This is also a type of yoga good for pregnancy. As the meaning of its name, this form combines postures from different limbs of yoga.
Practitioners can get exercise with breathing, prayer, chanting and meditation. All the flows can easily be modified to fit the stage of pregnancy.
The integral method, in general, tends to integrate your mind, body and spirit.
It will give us the necessary tools to live peacefully, healthily, and joyfully. We will gradually be inspired to do everything and promote a peaceful existence with others.
Check out the following video for a closer look at Integral yoga. Remember to modify the poses to suit your needs and body shapes:
4# Iyengar yoga:
The above three types are all combinations of different yoga forms. If you want to focus on a specific style, you can try Iyengar yoga.
Iyengar yoga actually focuses more on particular postures than on breathing techniques.
Adela Serrano, a professional yoga instructor, said:
“Iyengar Yoga comes directly from the most classical Hatha yoga tradition, but it has evolved into a very precise and clear method that is easily understood by the modern practitioner. There is a lot of attention paid to the technical alignment of the poses to keep the mind drawn inwards, but also focused and connected to reality.”
Though this style requires learners to have strong and precise movements, it is still considered safe for pregnant women by using some props like wooden blocks, benches, bolsters and straps to support and help you extend certain postures. So, it would be a nice experience for everyone.
Link to Youtube:
This is a very physical and precise style. You can see that it falls somewhere between Iyengar yoga and power yoga. Its exercises can be considered at a ‘moderate’ level on the difficulty spectrum.
However, as long as the postures and breathing exercises are modified to suit your ability, they should be fine for the moms-to-be.
Link to Youtube:
6# Sivananda yoga:
Sivananda yoga is actually not only yoga. It seems to be more a way of life. Besides focusing on fitness and meditation, it also encourages practitioners to follow a reasonable vegetarian diet, positive thinking, prayer, and breathing exercises.
However, in fact, expectant moms are not recommended to go on a vegetarian diet. Instead, they can still apply some certain principles to ensure a healthy, comfortable and still active pregnancy. It will change your lifestyle into a more positive way.
Link to Youtube:
7# Bhakti yoga:
This is the final one in the list of types of yoga good for pregnancy, also called The yoga of Devotion. It is more spiritual and like other forms of yoga, is a path to self-realization.
Bhakti yoga combines chanting and meditation with exercise to improve concentration. It aims to connect you with the divine spirit, you will concentrate all your mind, emotions and senses on the Divine. This can be an extremely useful way to reduce stress.
The following video is an instance of a Bhakti yoga class: