Prenatal yoga is a wonderful form of exercise to incorporate during pregnancy but even more so before and after birth. During pregnancy, the breathing and body awareness help you stay connected to your changing body. The gentle stretches and poses develop strength and readiness for giving birth as well as improving your current physical health. Finally, the relaxation is so needed in our hurried and stressful world.
Since so many changes are taking place in the body during pregnancy, prenatal yoga is a time to slow down and connect with the baby growing inside. Yoga encourages pregnant women to be fully present and in the moment, a skill that will be needed as a parent as well.
Prenatal yoga also encourages women to tune into their bodies and really listen to what’s going on, to accept the changes as positive growth. It helps to be surrounded by other women going though pregnancy, to learn and to share with them.
Benefits Of Prenatal Yoga
- Strengthens the birthing muscles
- Improves sleep and blood circulation
- Increases the chances of a healthy birth
- Reduces backache suffered during pregnancy
- Helps increase energy
- Reduce anxiety
- Quickens postpartum recovery
Breathing For Birthing
Yoga is a true complement to the birth process. A birthing woman has the choice to either fight her surges or to relax into them, to go with the flow of her body, letting it do its work. The task of yoga is similar in that while your body is working, you learn to relax into a pose, to find the peace that the pose offers. During class, it would be good to visualize birthing experiences so that you have positive images of birth to replace all the negative ones that are so inundated within this culture. Women have the opportunity to picture their own perfect birth place and birth process. These images reduce fear about birth, which makes for a more relaxed birthing mama.
Many women use their yoga breathing when they are in labor to help them stay focused as well as to release when needed.
Easier Postpartum Recovery
After you have given birth, yoga remains a gentle exercise that is also beneficial for calming your mind. Practicing the poses you’ve learned in prenatal yoga helps you gain back muscle tone and flexibility. Additionally, doing yoga postpartum keeps you in tune with your body as it once again goes through some radical changes.
Even if you’re planning a cesarean, prenatal yoga can help connect with your baby, keep muscle tone and manage pain during recovery from major abdominal surgery.
Many studios integrate pregnant women into their regular classes, but those just for prenatal yoga offer opportunities to do yoga tailored to the prenatal period and to make friendships with other mums.
Find a teacher and a class where you feel accepted and encouraged during your pregnancy. Both your baby and you will benefit for years to come.
Get In The Habit
Start with a firm determination. Yoga begins and ends in the mind. Make a determination that you are going to give yoga a fair try and you are going to practice because it is important to you.
Do It Together With Some Friends
Learning how to give and share is an important part of yoga, so if possible, find one or two friends who would benefit from practicing yoga and do it together with them. The goos thing about practicing with others is that if a day comes when you are not motivated to do the practice, the enthusiasm of your friends will carry you along and you will do the practice with them.
Stick To Your Schedule
Yoga is not like tennis or some recreational sport that you do if the sun is shining and you feel like doing it. To get the true benefits from yoga, you have to do it every day.
Do Your Practices With A Free Mind
It is not enough to reserve time for yoga with your body doing the exercises if your mind continues to worry about other things. When you stop to do your yoga, you should remember that the next 30 or 40 minutes has been reserved for yoga and for your development.
Sometimes you will feel the effects of yoga and sometimes you will not feel anything. Don’t worry too much about the immediate effects, continue to practice. It takes a while before the most profound results of yoga are realised.
It took you many years to build up your present personality and physical structure. You can’t change it overnight. But the good news is that you don’t have to wait many years to change yourself, because the regular and systematic practice of yoga postures and basic meditation can help you make great changes in a period of six months to a year.
So hang in there, start practicing, continue practicing and slowly you will notice that your regular health and well being will change for the better, and what better time to do this, but especially when you are pregnant and about to embark on motherhood.