Saturday, June 22, 2013

Prenatal Inversions

To practice inversions, or not to practice inversions that is the question?
There is a lot of conflicting opinions out there on if pregnant women should practice inversions. Many people say a straight up no to everyone. However I believe and my midwife suggests that it all depends on your prepregnancy practice. Pregnancy is definitely not the time to be learning inversions. Even if you have practiced a few inversion prepregnancy now isn't the time to push yourself in inversions. However if you had a strong inversion practice it is fine to continue to practice inversions while pregnant. Take precautions that you wont fall over, so if you don't feel stable in the middle of the room anymore ask someone to spot you or use a wall.

 The most important thing is listening to your body. One sign to look for is a heavy pelvis or shortness of breath. These are 2 signs that you should switch your inversion to a more gentle one like legs up the wall. For me the first 16 weeks of my pregnancy I rarely practiced inversions, I would only demo them for a second while teaching. However at 17 weeks I started to feel better but my back was killing me and I started to practice inversion again and I have been loving them.

Benefits of inversions while pregnant:
  • Ensures proper blood circulation to the uterus
  • Creates space in the pelvic cavity for the baby to move around. (Many midwifes and doula's suggest handstands if the baby is breach to help the baby flip into the optional of head down)
  • Relieves venous pressure in the legs which can relieve and prevent varicose veins
  • Promotes hormonal balance by increasing blood flow to the head and neck. This is especially good for the thyroid gland, as a deficiency in thyroid hormone can lead to miscarriage.

Legs Up The Wall (Viparita Karani):

20 weeks pregnant
This inversion is an exception to the rule of don't start practicing inversion for the first time in pregnancy. This would be a phenomenal pose to practice regularly while you are pregnant regardless of your previous inversion practice.
When you are pregnant one of the reasons you get so tired is because your heart is working twice as hard doing this pose assists your body in pumping blood from your feet to your heart without fighting gravity. This pose is also great if you experience swelling. Geeta suggests doing this pose everyday for 10-20 mins. She also suggests doing shavasana 2x a day for 10-20 minutes. You could do legs up the wall for one of your shavasanas and get the extra benefits of inversions. This pose is also beneficial for insomnia and depression.

18 weeks pregnant
pre pregnancy

Geeta Iyengar's Yoga: a Gem for Women
David Coulter's Anatomy of Hatha Yoga
John Friend's Anusara Teacher Training Manual

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