Yoga is an excellent form of exercise for pregnant women because it helps relieve stress, practice breathing, increase flexibility, maintain muscle tone, and alleviate aches and pains.
Among prenatal yoga videos, Shiva Rea Prenatal Yoga (*Est. $13) earns the most recommendations thanks to its excellent instruction, calming routine and gorgeous setting. A popular and well-known Vinyasa yoga instructor, Rea leads a 50-minute session with modifications for each trimester, demonstrating poses while pregnant assistants make adjustments. The DVD includes 30 minutes of gentle stretching followed by 15 minutes of standing poses, and Rea concludes with a guided meditation session. Some of the modifications require accessories such as a blanket, yoga block, strap or chair since a woman's center of gravity and range of motion change as pregnancy progresses. The video is filmed indoors.
Rea's Prenatal Yoga DVD gets more than 650 customer reviews at Amazon.com alone, posting a rating of 4 stars out of 5. Users say the poses help them feel relaxed and centered, and the routine can alleviate minor aches and pains associated with pregnancy. They also appreciate the modifications being so easy to understand. However, some call the routine boring and not challenging enough. "While the video is extremely relaxing, it felt like I was stretching more than I was actually working out," says one viewer.
Element's Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga (*Est. $12) is another favorite. Led by Elena Brower, a certified Anusara yoga teacher, this DVD features two sessions designed for women who are pregnant or have recently given birth. It's filmed in a relaxing outdoor setting overlooking the ocean and gets excellent ratings from more than 120 reviewers at Amazon.com. They say the routine keeps them active and eases tight, tense muscles. "A lot of the pressure in my hips and lower back was relieved," says one user. Brower's voice is soothing and she thoroughly explains each pose. "She takes the routine at a nice pace that is easy to follow," another viewer adds.
Fit Pregnancy magazine also recommends Element: Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga, with editors particularly enjoying the serene oceanfront location. However, some reviewers in their third trimesters find the poses too demanding. "I tried this DVD at seven months pregnant and it was too much for me," posts one at Amazon.com. Others say you should have some experience with yoga before trying this video.