Prenatal Yoga FAQ
From the desk of Rachael Lappen, RYT...
Q. What are the benefits of prenatal yoga?
A. Prenatal yoga is a form of exercise that often combines stretching, strengthening, relaxation, attention to body awareness and posture, and focused breathing. Research suggests that prenatal yoga is a safe form of exercise during any stage of pregnancy and can result in improved sleep, reduced stress and anxiety, increased strength, flexibility, and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth, decreased lower back pain, nausea, carpal tunnel syndrome, and headaches.
Q. What occurs during a typical prenatal yoga class?
A. A prenatal yoga class may include gentle stretching, muscle strengthening, practicing yoga postures and learning safe modifications, focus on body awareness to support healthy posture at all stages of pregnancy, relaxation techniques, as well as breath work that may reduce or manage shortness of breath during pregnancy, calm the nervous system, and work through contractions during labor.
Q. Are there special safety guidelines or contraindications for prenatal yoga?
A. Before you begin a prenatal yoga program, make sure to speak with your OB/GYN. You may not be able to do prenatal yoga if you have a history of high blood pressure, miscarriage, back pain, joint pain, preterm labor, placenta previa or premature rupture of membranes. Make sure to set realistic goals, pace yourself, stay hydrated, and avoid certain postures. Q. Are there certain yoga poses that should be avoided during pregnancy?
A. An experienced yoga instructor will be able to guide you to practicing yoga safely. However, you may consider avoiding certain positions such as lying on your belly or back, deep forward or backward bends, or twisting poses that put additional pressure on your abdomen. Avoid inverted poses, which involve extending your legs above your heart or head. As your pregnancy progresses, use props during postures to accommodate changes in your center of gravity and ask for assistance.
Q. How do I choose a prenatal yoga class?
A. If you're interested in taking a prenatal yoga class, look for a class taught by an instructor who has training in prenatal yoga. Consider observing a class ahead of time to make sure you're comfortable with the class sequence, the instructor's style, the class size, and the class environment. Ask for a referral from your OB/GYN, midwife, or another yoga student.
Rachael Lappen, RYT
Registered Yoga Teacher
Rachael, a lifelong fitness and wellness enthusiast and former competitive swimmer with a degree in Biology from Clark University, has been practicing and studying yoga for the past eight years and teaching for the last three. From her first moments on the yoga mat, she was instantly drawn to the balance of dynamic and meditative movement of energy and the constant evolution of body and mind. And, with her background as a Scientist, she is specifically interested in the intricacies between science and yoga and the balance between the two. She has completed Level 1 and Level 2 Power Vinyasa Teacher Training with Baron Baptiste, and is a Registered Yoga Teacher at the 200 hour level through Yoga Alliance and a Certified Senior Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga Teacher.
Rachael currently teaches Power and Vinyasa-based Yoga classes to students of all levels and ages. She is a member of the Assistant Team at the Baptiste Power Yoga Institute in Cambridge and Brookline, and enjoys teaching in community service venues. Additionally, Rachael continually enriches her professional training and personal journey through workshops with some of the best-known Yogis in the field.
Rachael's classes are accessible to all students with an emphasis on proper alignment. She encourages students to connect to movement with breath and body awareness, a light heart, and to be open to new possibilities. Rachael incorporates her yoga practice into all aspects of her life and is endlessly grateful to all of her teachers and mentors. She is honored to share her passion with her students, encouraging them to cultivate their personal authenticity as well as physical health.