What to expect in a prenatal yoga class
by Elise Bowerman
Prenatal yoga is often recommended in pregnancy by friends and healthcare providers, alike. It is proven to be a great way to alleviate common pregnancy discomforts, prepare for childbirth, and promote greater well-being for birther and baby.
If you’re pregnant and nervous about going to a prenatal yoga class – you are not alone. Many start exploring the yoga practice in pregnancy. Those who had a regular practice before pregnancy will already know how to adjust, and you’ll see them doing their own thing. This is what is extra beautiful about group prenatal yoga classes… the instructor guides for multiple abilities and phases of pregnancy and you will incorporate what is fitting to you now in this pregnancy.
Where / who is teaching prenatal yoga? How do you find classes nearby?
Ask friends and family members who have been pregnant if they have recommendations. You’ll be surprised at how many have gone to prenatal yoga.
(Keep in mind their experiences will be different than yours. Give teachers a chance by having your own experience with them.)
Google search ‘prenatal yoga near me’ or the cities nearest you. Check out the websites and reviews. Even if a local studio doesn’t offer prenatal yoga at the moment – give them a call. Ask if they have any recommendations.
Ask your midwife, doctor, birth doula, or childbirth educator for recommendations.
Live virtual and recorded online classes can be found with quite a few local (and not so local) yoga businesses. It's better than you think :-)
What to wear and bring?
Wear comfortable breathable clothing you can move around in. (To bend forward, sit, lean over, and lay down.) Layers in cooler months work best to not be too hot.
Yoga is practiced barefoot. If you are uncomfortable with this, there are sticky socks you can purchase online so you don’t slide on your mat. Your safety is particularly important.
Yoga mat (not a thick foam fitness mat)
Phone, bags, etc. usually have a special spot for practice away from your mat. Be sure your phone is off or on silent to avoid the awkward walk to turn it off in the middle of class.
Yoga props are typically provided by the studio. Although, you may always bring your own. They're great to have at home.
What happens during class?
First – you may leave the room anytime to use the restroom and take care of yourself. No need for permission.
Second – listen to your instincts. What feels ‘good’ for one person may not feel as beneficial for another. Your teacher will provide options and understand everyone is participating at their own pace.
This is a general idea of how prenatal yoga classes flow:
- Introductions from each person, and sometimes a topic of reflection offered by the teacher.
- Guided physical practice
- Breath awareness / inward attention
- Movements and stretching
- Breath exercise or guided meditation
- Restful pose (5-10 minutes)
- Breath exercise or guided meditation
- Close of practice time
There is a method to the way prenatal yoga is structured and guided. If this is your first pregnancy in prenatal yoga, keep going with the flow. About three to five classes in, and you will feel way more confident about yourself. You’ll likely understand the ‘why’ of many things in prenatal yoga late in pregnancy, during childbirth, or after childbirth in reflection of all the preparation you did to welcome baby earth-side to be the conscious parent you are.
Ask your teacher questions. That’s what we are there for. We love getting to know you better, and TMI is out the door when discussing all things pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. This is your yoga teacher’s specialty. The practice of yoga supports your walk in this sacred time of life.
Have a great time taking care of yourself and baby…. and making new friends who ‘get’ this phase of life.