What happens during a typical prenatal yoga class?
Yoga practice during pregnancy is designed to help moms build strength and fitness while accessing the inner resources to face the challenges of labor with confidence and calm. A our prenatal yoga class might involve:
- Breathing. Prenatal yoga breathing techniques might help you reduce or manage shortness of breath during pregnancy and work through contractions during labor.
- Stretching. You’ll be encouraged to gently move different areas of your body, such as your neck and arms, through their full range of motion while standing, sitting or lying on the ground.
- Strength Work and Dynamic Movement. Moms in prenatal yoga are working to maintain fitness for a comfortable pregnancy as well as train for the endurance event that is labor and birth. Holding your bodyweight in postures while working against gravity is a great way to build strength. We’ll also do pregnancy appropriate vinyasa, moving with breath, to build fitness.
- Cool down and relaxation. Every prenatal yoga class sets aside time for conscious relaxation. You’ll relax your muscles and restore your resting heart rate and breathing rhythm. You might be encouraged to listen to your own breathing, pay close attention to sensations, thoughts and emotions, or repeat a mantra or word to bring about a state of self-awareness and inner calm.
Is Prenatal Yoga Appropriate for Beginners?
Absolutely. Our classes are all levels, with variations offered for newer or more experienced students. We have plenty of props and adaptations ideas for moms who are not super flexible and offer postures and exercises specifically tailored to pregnancy and beginning students. All students should be cleared for exercise by their healthcare provider.
Why take a Prenatal Yoga Class in the Age of Online Media?
An in-person prenatal yoga class with a qualified instructor offers benefits you simply cannot reap on your own in front of a dvd or streaming video. Personalized sequencing, a watchful eye for alignment corrections, and customized adjustments complement camaraderie of a group class. Breathing Space prenatal instructors are also knowledgeable about birth, babies, and resources in Washington DC.
When Should I Start Taking a Prenatal Yoga Class?
Pregnant moms are welcome anytime and we often have moms in class who are anywhere from a few weeks along to counting down the days to to baby. During your first trimester, you may find you prefer your regular yoga class or fitness routine or that are too tired/uncomfortable for exercise. Consequently, we start seeing moms most often during the 2nd trimester, because they start feeling better or because the growing belly and pregnancy discomforts compel them to seek us out. We also have moms who start class in their final month. It’s never too early or too late.
I’m an Experienced Yogi. Do I Need/Will I Get a Workout in A Prenatal Yoga Class?
Prenatal yoga classes focus on the fundamentals because so many women start yoga for the first time during pregnancy. We work to build flexibility, strength and fitness through modified postures and movements designed for pregnancy. We focus on exercises that might address common pregnancy discomforts and prepare for the endurance event moms are training for: birth.
More experienced yogis who take care to adjusting for their changing bodies may try to keep up their non-prenatal weekly class well into pregnancy. That’s fine, but I still recommend adding prenatal yoga to your routine.
The breath-exercises, concentration, and therapeutic work we do is not typical of a non-prenatal asana or vinyasa class. Also, the pregnancy-customized postures you learn can be incorporated into your non-prenatal yoga classes when the group instruction isn’t appropriate for you.
What worked for me (Jen) was continuing my one regular weekly class (with self-modifications as my belly grew) and one prenatal class for pregnancy and birth specific techniques and to be in community with expecting moms.
Where Are Prenatal Yoga Classes Held?
Our pregnancy yoga classes are held at Realignment Studio, 641 Pennsylvania Ave SE, lower level. The studio is within one block of the Eastern Market metro stop and convenient to many bus routes along Pennsylvania Ave SE and 8th Street SE. Read more about locations.
What Should I Bring to Prenatal Yoga?
Students should wear comfortable clothing for movement that is not too stretchy and be prepared to practice in bare feet. Our venues have yoga mats to share, but carrying your own may be preferable. We have all the other props you might for exercises during class. Please bring a water bottle and you may wish to bring a small towel or cloth to cover your eyes during relaxation.