Yoga and Pregnancy
Yoga can be a great exercise routine, both for pre-pregnancy and post-pregnancy moms. Yoga is much more than contorting your body into positions that you may believe are impossible to achieve with your particular body. In truth, yoga has been used for virtually centuries to enable a person to center themselves as well as relieve stress. In our incredibly stressful world, that tends to be a major issue. Not only can yoga relieve the stress of life in general, not to mention the added stress of pregnancy, but can also allow you to stay flexible and properly prepare for the birth of your new baby.
When you stretch and cultivate the muscles you will use during birth, you are ensuring that your birth experience will be easier, and that your muscles will work much more efficiently while you are in labor. The relaxation skills which are taught with yoga will also allow you to remain calm during your labor. Even better, there are specific yoga poses for the variety of discomforts you experience while pregnant. For instance, there is a specific yoga pose for sciatic pain, one for ligament pain, and even a pose which is particularly for morning sickness. Attending regular pregnancy yoga classes can increase your energy in ways you cannot even imagine, as well as reducing the aches and pains of pregnancy, and prepare your body for birth. It's hard to think of a reason not to practice yoga during your pregnancy.
Consult Your Physician
As with any new exercise program, you should consult your OB/GYN before you begin your yoga practice if you have not been a regular devotee of yoga prior to pregnancy. With the exception of not lying directly on your back or stomach following your fourth month of pregnancy, there should be few foreseeable problems with engaging in yoga during your pregnancy.
The Five Tools of Yoga and Pregnancy
There are five basic tools which can help you out during childbearing. The first are the yoga exercises themselves which work in a gentle manner on the reproductive organs and pelvic region to ensure the smoothest pregnancy and easiest birth. Yoga exercises also send the perfect amounts of blood and nutrients to your developing baby. The breathing techniques of yoga make sure you get the right amount of oxygen, which helps both you and your baby. The third technique of yoga involves something known as mudras or bandhas which are positions of your body which influence the energies of your body and mood. The hands and fingers are held in certain positions, but the entire body is a part of the mudra, and it is typically used while you are meditating and sitting in the lotus position. Mudras have been used in the East for thousands of years, most particularly in the practice of Buddhism, and are considered to be a spiritual practice which sets you on the path to enlightenment, therefore perfect for the pregnant woman. Meditation helps you resolve the common fears and conflicts of pregnancy and brings an awareness which helps you connect to your unborn baby. Finally, deep relaxation, also known as yogic sleep can be of great help during your pregnancy to allow you to mentally and physically relax and prepare yourself for childbirth.
To recap, practicing yoga during your pregnancy can improve your sleep, reduce your stress and anxiety, increase the strength and flexibility of the muscles you will need in childbirth, lessen your lower back pain, shortness of breath, nausea and headaches, and significantly reduce your risk of preterm labor as well as hypertension brought on by pregnancy. There really is no downside to practicing yoga while pregnant.