Q: I have been told that yoga is an excellent form of exercise for a pregnant woman. I am two months along and have never done yoga. Is now a good time to start?
A: Yoga’s many benefits, which include strengthening muscles and joints, improving sleep and digestion, and increasing flexibility, make it an excellent form of exercise for expectant mothers. It’s low-impact as well. Yoga can also help reduce some of the emotional and physical stress that women experience throughout pregnancy, such as anxiety and back pain. Breathing methods practiced in yoga may also be helpful during labor. It is safe to start practicing yoga now as long as you join a class taught by an instructor who is certified in prenatal yoga. It’s also very important to make sure the teacher knows you are pregnant, as certain postures, such as those that require lying on your back or stomach, should be avoided. Do get your doctor’s OK first, and always pay attention to your body’s signals. There’s no need to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable; no yoga pose is “essential.”