I am pregnant. Is it safe for me to practise yoga?
If you already regularly practice yoga then it is safe for you to continue – but be very gentle and practise with awareness especially in the first trimester (see below). If not, you can start to practice yoga but only under the guidance of a teacher who is trained to teach yoga to pregnant women.
Yoga can help you to prepare for labour by strengthening and toning muscle, improving circulation, building stamina, and helping you to relax and to control your breathing. Pranayama can help you to manage any pain.
During the first 12 weeks (1st trimester), either do no yoga or do very gentle yoga practice with an experienced and trained yoga teacher. If you are experienced in yoga – a gentle modified practice (no jumps, inversions, twists or harsh movements) is ok – and Ujjayi breathing is helpful (10 mins a day).
During the 2nd trimester (13 to 27 weeks), is a good time to start your antenatal yoga practice if you haven’t already. Make sure you get advice from a qualified antenatal yoga instructor as to the best ways for you to approach yoga.
The last 28 to 40 weeks is a time when you may be feeling challenged by the state of pregnancy. Its still ok to practice though – but just make sure you do so with the instruction of a professional antenatal yoga teacher.
There is an excellent article on yoga and pregnancy here: http://www.yogajournal.com/practice/879
Can my children come to yoga class with me?
Yoga is great for children. Bringing your child to a regular adult yoga class is probably not the best way to introduce them to yoga. Adults and children approach yoga differently and have different needs from a class. We would recomend finding a class for children ( preferably in your childs age group). This means that they will be able to learn yoga in an appropriate and fun way, and you will be able to fully focus on yourself and your own yoga practice during your class as well.
Is it ok to practise yoga with high/low blood pressure?
Low Blood pressure is likely to make you feel a bit dizzy or even nauseous when moving from sitting to standing or inversions to upright. You may also feel a bit light headed from time to time during any type of exertion. Choose a yoga practice that is gentle (such as Hatha), inform your yoga teacher that you have low blood pressure, and she / he can help you to modify movements or postures to help reduce any symptoms. Its helpful to bring the head level with the heart, pause there for a monent, and take a breath, and then move to an upright position. When moving from forward bends or inversions to standing or upright.
High Blood pressure
This needs to be regulated first by your health care practitioner.
Yoga can help lower blood pressure (go here to read about scientific research about this http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/260699.php)
Once you have seen your GP and checked that it’s ok for you to practice yoga, find a yoga class which includes pranayama (breath work), and relaxation techniques. Hatha yoga is a good place to start. Probably best to avoid strenuous inversions like head stands. Make sure you let your teacher know that you have high blood pressure.
Always check with your GP before you take up any new form of exercise.
My osteopath / doctor / chiropractor, physiotherapist advised against me doing the head stand in yoga. Why?
Doing a headstand incorrectly and without sufficient strength in the neck and upper body will put enormous strain on your spine. It is not advised in a general yoga class by Pure Energy World either. There are many preparatory exercises that you can do which bring health benefits to the body without performing such strenuous and frankly dangerous postures. Even very practised and strong yoga students, should approach the headstand with great caution – and always under the guidance of an experienced teacher.
I always fall asleep during relaxation, do you have any tips to help me avoid this?
Falling asleep during relaxation often means you perhaps need to sleep more! But otherwise,tips for helping you to stay awake include actively participating in the technique – so if the technique is focusing on different body parts – really try to feel each part, feel that part of your body – imagine how it feels on a cellular level, imagine tension draining away from the area, feel the area fully relaxing.
Relaxation (rather than sleeping) is a skill and technique. The more you practice the better at it you will become. Don’t be harsh on yourself for falling asleep though – just enjoy it …..otherwise there isn’t any point!
My tummy always rumbles in relaxation, is there something wrong with me?
Tummy rumbling is a good sign that you are starting to relax! Enjoy the symphony in your tum!
What’s the difference between meditation and relaxation?
Meditation is a form of mind training which usually falls into three main categories: mindfulness, concentration, and contemplation, based on the principle that the quality of your mind is what detremines your life. meditation can be used in a secular way or can be deeply embedded in spritual or religious practices. A side of meditation might be physical relaxation – but it is not the aim.
Relaxation techniques are those that enable us to release tension from the body and calm the mind. Some relaxation techniques may lead to a meditative state.