Discover the physical and mental benefits of prenatal yoga during pregnancy, which yoga poses are safe when you’re pregnant, and how to do yoga safely. Set aside your ego and honor where your body is at today. Practice loving compassion for yourself and baby. Prenatal yoga is one of the best things that you can do for yourself, as well as your growing baby. It’s important that you find the right yoga practice for you. Whether it be going to a yoga studio, finding a DVD, or developing your own practice at home.
Listen to your body and do what feels right to you. Prenatal yoga classes are more popular than ever. When paired with a cardiovascular exercise such as walking, yoga can be an ideal way to stay in shape during your pregnancy. This age-old practice keeps you limber, tones your muscles, and improves your balance and circulation, with little, if any, impact on your joints. Yoga is also beneficial because it helps you learn to breathe deeply and relax, which will come in handy as you face the physical demands of labor, birth, and motherhood. In fact, one of the first things you learn in a yoga class is how to breathe fully. The breathing technique known as ujjayi requires you to take in air slowly through your nose, filling your lungs, and exhale completely until your stomach compresses. Learning how to do ujjayi breathing primes you for labor and childbirth by training you to stay calm when you need it most. When you’re in pain or afraid, your body produces adrenalin and may produce less oxytocin, a hormone that makes labor progress. A regular yoga practice will help you fight the urge to tighten up when you feel pain, and show you how to relax instead. Yoga Asanas or exercises are ways of moving or holding the body in different positions.
Yoga has several exercises or postures that work wonders on a woman’s health and in pregnancy conditions. Varying widely in application and style, these exercises (postures) gently stretch and explore all parts of your body.During pregnancy, yoga Asanas are a gentle way to keep active and supple. The remarkable effects of these postures in pregnancy show the power of yoga for ensuring a smooth pregnancy, natural childbirth and restoration of body shape after childbirth. There are forms of yoga to suit any fitness level. It’s safe to do in pregnancy, and with the right modifications, can help you to stay fit, strong and supple.Most yoga classes begin with a warm-up session to stretch your back, arms and legs. After that, postures will help to boost your strength and endurance. Classes usually end with a relaxation or guided meditation session to help you to wind down and feel refreshed. Most yoga classes last for about 90 minutes.
Benefits of Prenatal yoga:
Relieving edema (fluid retention) and cramping which can be quite common in the last months.
Influencing the position of the baby and turning it in advance if needed. Strengthening and massaging the abdomen which help stimulate bowel action and appetite.
Raising the level of energy while also helping in slowing the metabolism to restore calm and focus.
Helping to reduce nausea, morning sickness and mood swings in combination with pranayamas (yogic breathing).
Focus on relieving tension around the cervix and birth canal.
Focus on opening the pelvis to make labor easier and quicker.
A typical prenatal yoga class may involve:
Breathing. You’ll be encouraged to focus on breathing in and out slowly and deeply through the nose. You may also practice different breathing techniques and making deep sounds, such as humming or grunting. Prenatal yoga breathing techniques may help you reduce or manage shortness of breath during pregnancy and work through contractions during labor.
Gentle stretching. You’ll be encouraged to gently move different areas of your body, such as your neck and arms, through their full range of motion.
Postures. While standing, sitting or lying on the ground, you’ll gently move your body into different positions aimed at developing your strength, flexibility and balance. Props — such as blankets, cushions and belts — may be used to provide support and comfort. You’ll also continue to focus on your breathing.
Cool down and relaxation. At the end of each prenatal yoga class, you’ll relax your muscles and restore your resting heart rate and breathing rhythm. You may be encouraged to listen to your own breathing, pay close attention to sensations, thoughts and emotions, or repeat a mantra or word to bring about a state of self-awareness and inner calm.
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