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  • Writer's pictureAlessandra Della Scala

Pregnancy and Yoga … from my perspective

My first blog and I am so excited!!! I am writing this 32 weeks into my pregnancy, I have been sharing insights here and there virtually on my IG account, if you are interested it's all there now..

Here is the hindsight summary of the journey taken so far...

First trimester

When I found out I was pregnant,I was delighted and felt content, to be perfectly honest with you, it couldn't happen at a better time.I felt I am now more equipped with everything I need to get me through it all. Two of my challenges from my previous pregnacies were gaining 50KG, yes you read it right 50kg and struggling with postnatal depression. Over the years, I have worked in support of the Samaritans and have received numerous training to help me through my experience, which also enables me to support others. I am now a fully qualified Prenatal Yoga teacher and very active in my day to day life.

The shock of my life was waking up and feeling my body tight, as if I was wrapped up in a bandage like Egyptian mummy. I couldn't for the life of me practice my normal practice, yoga felt impossible, my attempts looked like someone who has never practiced or even heard of yoga before. I got off lightly on the symptom front, was constantly exhausted and was napping at every opportunity. I then decided to pause all of the physical part of my practice and retrieved into regular meditation mostly yoga nidra (if you have never done it before, please try it and you will thank me later) and breathing exercise, yogic breathing (another one I would highly recommend weather you are pregnant or not). Funnily enough, I was fine doing weight lifting and pilates, of course I was doing it prior to getting pregnant and it's a big no no to start anything new specially in your first trimester.

Second trimester… when the cloud started to lift

It felt like the past 12 weeks never existed, I mean what tiredness, what morning or shall we say day sickness, I was a brand new person. Scan revealed, we are having a girl, which I was delighted as I already have a son and deep down, I was thinking, time to make a yogi…

When I laid my mat to practice, I felt goosebumps all over my body, it almost felt like the first day I attended a yoga class.I was able to continue with my normal practice,listening to my body and how poses felt and of course didn’t want to push too hard. Laying on my stomach was a big no no, I was showing by around 14 weeks.

As the weeks added up, and a bigger bump was out there, all I did was modify modify modify. Legs had to be wider and no more chaturanga (do we need any more excuse to escape chaturanga hahhaha). The focus, at this stage is towards strengthening and creating a support system for the ever growing bump and listening to my body. Activities were shortened to a minimum of 30 min maximum of an hour, with loads of breaks in between to normalise my breathing and keeping the heart beat to a slightly elevated but still can hold a conversation guideline.

Third trimester … well few weeks of it

At around week 28, I was tested positive for Covid and everything had to stop! I had mild symptoms however i still felt exhausted and it took all my energy, and will power to recover. The human body (especially female body, no offence) is simply admirable. I think we all deserve a medal and a crown for simply existing. When I saw the positive result, I could feel my heart beating so fast and utter disbelief, because I have been extremely careful. After an hour of reading all the guidelines on the NHS website, I felt much better and started disinfecting the whole house and half way through i realised, this is the time for meditation and calming myself down and taking things easy. As the week progressed, I worked more on my breathing and getting my lungs strong and ensuring that I was taking all the vitamins to help my body defend and fight the virus.

Should you or should you not then practice yoga while pregnant? Good news you can and I highly recommend that you do at least one part of yoga, listen to your body and go for it. If you are new, well first speak to your health care provider and for the sake of the teacher and the general guideline, start at week 14, and please don't be disappointed if you get turned down, if you wish to start earlier. It's for the greater good, as they say. However, if you have been attending classes and have been practicing for a while, before you got pregnant then, listen to your body, modify where possible and do not let your ego catch up or let you compare your practice to others.

The burning question, to invert or not to invert? Instagram has a way of showing you all pregnant yogis going upside down and performing all the advance postures, and the rule of thumb is, you listen to your body, remember, everyones body type and pregnancy is different and what you don’t want is awaken the ego and end up doing what your body is not ready to do. To make you feel better you can however do, gentle inversions like legs up the wall and Supported Bridge which in turn help you to relieve tired, aching legs and swollen feet caused by the extra weight of pregnancy and circulation changes.

In my humble opinion, pregnancy is not the time to be challenging your body to try anything new (It's already creating life! That's amazing enough!) The risk of injury is greater during pregnancy due to hormones which are working to relax ligaments and tendons to create room for the growing baby and in preparation for birth. Pregnancy and motherhood require a great deal of surrender and letting go of ego-based goals.

Happy practicing! Namaste

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