The simple answer to this is: no! Anyone can do yoga whether they are flexible or not. You do not have to look like the cover of a Yoga magazine to be doing yoga “right.” In fact, the most important thing about practicing yoga is that it feels good for your individual body when you are doing it--not what you look like. Practicing prenatal yoga regularly will help give you and your baby the space and comfort needed to grow and prepare for birth.
Every day our body changes in its capabilities and sensations. Some days you might have lots of energy and feel really flexible and other days you might just want to lay on your back, relax, and breath. Both of these sides of the spectrum, and everything in between, are yoga. You are listening to your body and are giving your body what it wants and needs.
During pregnancy, a woman’s body naturally increases in flexibility due to the hormone relaxin. Relaxin causes ligament relaxation throughout the body and is released in increased amounts during pregnancy. Ligaments are connective tissues that hold bones together at the joints. When relaxin is released, the ligaments can loosen, creating extra space and flexibility between the bones of the body. This increased flexibility is necessary during pregnancy because it allows the pelvis to spread and make room for the baby as it grows and prepares for birth. However, the ligaments of the pelvis are not the only ligaments affected by relaxin. All the ligaments of the body become more flexible during pregnancy, and as a result many women find that they are more flexible than ever throughout.
While you can use this time to enjoy the sensations and benefits of increased flexibility, it is important to also be careful to avoid injury. Injury can result from tearing or overextending your already flexible ligaments and muscles. Physical sensations of the body during yoga should never include sharp pain. If you are ever in a pose that is causing you any kind of sharp or localized pain (as opposed to a generalized sensation, be it strengthening or stretching), slowly come out of the pose and try to relax. If the pain persists notify your doctor.
During your pregnancy, let your own intuition help guide you to strengthen and stretch at a level less than your maximum capacity. Remember that you can still do yoga even if you aren’t pushing your body 100%. Try to use these 40 weeks to enjoy relaxation and connection with your body and growing baby. When it comes time for delivery, your body and mind will already have the necessary practice to help guide you gracefully through the challenge.