Pregnancy is an exciting time – but also a time when you might be feeling an extra need to relax and recharge…

Pregnant? Congratulations! Now is the time to take some time for you (before bub comes along!)

A yoga retreat can be an excellent way to feel connected to your body as it goes through many changes, as well as an opportunity to bliss out and unwind. While everybody’s journey is unique, here are some tips and tricks to getting the most out of a yoga retreat when you’re pregnant.t.

1. Seek a medical practitioners advice beforehand

According to Better Health Victoria, yoga is an activity that is generally considered safe during pregnancy – along with walking, swimming, pilates and ‘aquarobics’ (water-based aerobics). But before you click ‘book’, chat to your GP. It’s important to get the all-clear from your chosen medical practitioner before you commence any kind of exercise routine while pregnant – especially if you weren’t doing it prior to your pregnancy. They’ll advise what’s best for you and your body. Yoga instructors will also want to know if you’ve got clearance from your doctor, so get that ticked off your list!

2. Do as little (or as much!) as you like

Remember, this is about you and how you’re feeling and there’s no right or wrong way to complete a yoga retreat. The Inner Joy Retreat has a schedule that includes yoga, yoga foundations, meditation, yin yoga, a drumming circle and yoga nidra – but the activities are by no means compulsory. Take it a day at the time and attend the activities you want to. Rest when you need to, and attend activities when it serves you.

3. Take extra snacks with you

You’ll enjoy the most delicious, nourishing vegetarian food while you’re on the Inner Joy yoga retreat – and there’s plenty – but if you’re pregnant, it’s a good idea to bring some extra snacks along – especially if you’re experiencing nausea and morning sickness. Whatever has been working so far to curb nausea – dry crackers, salty pretzels, boiled lollies – bring them along. You’re eating for two, after all, so do-away with any ideas of what you ‘should’ eat on a yoga retreat. (I personally brought along dried mango, salty pretzels and Salada crackers to keep me going throughout the day). You could also make these ginger and turmeric bliss balls.

4. Research some yoga-friendly poses beforehand

Your yoga instructor will of course guide you through pregnancy-friendly poses, but for a bit of peace of mind, it doesn’t hurt to research the adjustments you may need to make when you’re pregnant so that you’re feeling prepared. How much you need to adjust your yoga practice will depend on which trimester you’re in and whether you’re experiencing any complications. Generally speaking, if you’re in your first trimester and comfortable, most poses will be the same. Once your belly shows and it becomes uncomfortable to do so, you won’t be lying on your back or stomach, and your yoga instructor will suggest modifications.

5. Inform your yoga instructor before each class commences

Every yoga teacher is different – some will ask beforehand if there are any injuries and or if anyone is pregnant, but some will jump right into a class. Five minutes before class as you’re setting up your mat and space, just let your teacher know so they can give you some pointers without needing to pause the class. If class has already started, just raise your hand and let them know – it’s always better to tell them you’re pregnant than not!

6. Bring a pillow from home

As comfortable as the beds are at Happy Buddha, you might be finding that sleep is getting harder and harder to come by. If you’ve got a comfy pillow at home that you love, consider bringing it with you. A familiar pillow just might help you drift off into dreamland.

7. Treat yourself to your own room

If ever there was a time to treat yourself to your own room, now’s that time. Spread out and enjoy this time on your own, as alone time will be harder to come by in months to come. Use any spare pillows for your belly, and no need to stress about waking up your roomie when you need to get up and use the bathroom throughout the night.

8. Wear extra stretchy yoga pants

Now is not the time to be wearing those tummy-tucking, figure-hugging tight yoga leggings. You want to be giving your growing belly as much room to breathe as possible, so to speak. Tight clothing can sometimes bring on nausea, so make sure you have some yoga pants that are nice and loose or stretchy. Being comfortable is a number one priority!

9. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t do every activity

Similar to point two – this blissful recharge is all about you and what’s best for your body. Sometimes that means sleeping in instead of doing the early morning class, or enjoying a mid-afternoon nap, or even taking yourself on a walk for some fresh air in the beautiful Blue Mountains. Listen to your body and spend the afternoon in a starfish shape in bed if that’s what’s going to make you feel good.

10. Drink loads of water

This is important on a yoga retreat anyway – but especially when you’re pregnant. Stay hydrated during the retreat by drinking plenty of water. Bring a water bottle with you and stay sipping throughout the day. There’s also a great herbal tea station on the retreat, which is another great way to keep your fluids up, but double check with your doctor how much herbal tea you can drink per day, and which ones are off limits.