Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Practicing yoga during pregnancy -- Some useful Tips for Prenatal yoga

The Creation of a new life inside a mother's womb is one of the greatest miracles. Yes I know, some religious preachers have used the miracle term so many times that the analogy has its own share of jokes. Keeping all those jokes aside, the very consciousness of a living being breathing and growing inside a woman is simply amazing.

The moment a life is conceived inside a mother , her entire consciousness and focus changes. The entire attention goes to the life within. This makes the months of carrying a child , also called pregnancy or Prenatal or antenatal phase (right from fertilization to the birth), precious in a woman's life.

Pregnancy is a time of big changes in a woman. These changes take place not only on the physical  level but emotional & mental level as well . Call it the great designs of the Supreme Consciousness , or God or absence of any such Entity, a woman is bestowed with or possesses great patience to endure all these difficult changes.

In all my years of Yoga teaching, I have found that Yoga or prenatal yoga helps a pregnant woman endure these difficult changes with more ease. I have found that prenatal yoga helps a pregnant woman have best possible pregnancy and delivery (parturition).

How Prenatal Yoga Helps ?

The anxiety and tension can lead to various problems during pregnancy.Yoga can be very beneficial to address these issues. Prenatal Yoga helps regulate breathing. Regulation of breathing relaxes the body and various body muscles , which in turn can help adjust to the physical demands of pregnancy, labor, birth, and motherhood. With the practice of regular yoga , pregnant woman can calm down her mind and body. This means less emotional and bodily stress. When Breathing exercises and specific low stress Yoga postures are incorporated to a Prenatal Yoga plan, feel good chemicals are released in the body and a state of deep relaxation is reached. This state of relaxation not only keeps at bay the depression, so common during pregnancy, but it also helps the expectant woman get over from anxiety and fear of birth. Prenatal Yoga is actually preparing the body for the birth, while benefiting from the positives during the pregnancy as well.

Other benefit of yoga during pregnancy are increase in stamina, strengthening of the muscles of abdominal wall, peritoneum,and the lumbar spine.

Some useful Tips and precautions while practising Prenatal yoga :

  1. Make sure to inform your yoga teacher about your health conditions. Every pregnancy is unique, hence it's important to stick to what your Doctor has advised you. That's why it's important for your Yoga teacher t know what your Doctor has prescribed you.
  2. Join Yoga classes which are meant for pregnant women. Remember not all Yoga poses are not meant for expectant mothers.
  3. Avoid deep back bending yoga postures (spine bending backwards). It can reduce blood flow to the uterus.
  4. During pregnancy body produces certain hormones to accommodate the baby. Avoid poses that stretch the muscles too much, particularly the abdominals.
  5. Kindly listen to your body. Understanding your body limitations is important. If you feel any discomfort, stop. Even those yoga poses which are advised during pregnancy must not be done under discomfort. 

In general, these poses are safe in pregnancy:

  • Butterfly stretch
  • Cat pose
  • Cobra (in the first trimester, if you feel comfortable doing this face-down pose)
  • Seated forward bend (with modifications )
  • Side angle pose
  • Standing forward bend (with support )
  • Triangle pose (with support )

Happy Pregnancy!

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