A recent review of our dvd on amazon advised women to go to a class before doing yoga by dvd at home. Although she enjoyed the dvd and gave it a good review, she found that her pelvis had begun to hurt a little after the practice. I can not emphasise enough how important it is to be easy on yourself with yoga for pregnancy. During pregnancy a hormone called relaxin is produced by the body that works to soften the ligaments in preparation for birth. Whilst this is ultimately beneficial, as it helps the pelvis to open for birth, it also means that you need to exercise caution when doing any exercise as the potential for over-stretching is there. I always say in my classes, and on the inside of my yoga dvd, it is essential that you work gently and well within your comfort zone. Before starting yoga practice, with a teacher or at home, seek advice from your midwife. For the vast majority of poeple, gentle yoga will be a help not a hinderence during pregnancy, but only so long as you are not already suffering from sdp or dsp, and that you do not get over-excited by your potential newfound flexibility and push yourself accordingly.
The beauty of yoga is that it does not require you to push yourself hard or to be in outlandish positions to be effective. You can do moderated or simplified versions of each pose - with your legs together and knees bent etc- and still the physical benefits of improved posture, circulation, a stronger more aligned pelvis and spine and better breathing. Additionally, the benefits of yoga are not simply physical but also mental. The time to focus on your breath, your baby and yourself is essential- and in our fast paced world somewhat rare. It is also necessary during birth to allow the back part of your mind, that primal instinctive brain that tends to take a back-seat in day to day living, to come to the fore and play its essential role during birth- and the best way to aid that process is with gentle yoga practice before the birth.
So in all ways during pregnancy, be gentle on yourself and allow both your body and your mind to release and relax slowly and with ease. And if you find that even gentle practice causes you any pain at all, then please discontinue doing yoga and speak to your midwife.