Practice Loving Compassion for You and Your Baby
There are many reasons to try yoga when you are expecting a baby and a regular yoga practice during your pregnancy can enhance and enrich the experience and honour your body where it is right now, whatever stage of motherhood you are at.
Pregnancy yoga is suitable for both beginner students and experienced practitioners. During pregnancy, yoga can play a key role in enhancing the experience of this precious time and empowering the mother-to-be to have the most conscious birth experience. Yoga can help women enjoy their pregnancy with minimal discomfort, cultivate breath awareness and strengthen the body in preparation for labour. Yoga also offers you the opportunity to connect with your baby, and coming to classes is a great way to feel part of a community of pregnant women.
It can be adapted to a variety of conditions you may be experiencing including pelvic pain, back ache and even anxiety.
A few of the many benefits of pregnancy yoga include:
- Developing stamina and strength
- Relieving tension of lower back, hips, chest, upper back, neck and shoulders
- Calms the nervous system
- Prepares the body for labour
- Time out to connect with your baby
- Increases circulation
- Breathwork calms and relaxes and is a tool for labour
- Sense of community/sisterhood
- Nurturing time – time to slow down
Be conscious of how your body feels and seek medical advice regarding any health issues. General guidelines are that you:
– rest during the first trimester
– start yoga in the second trimester
– continue your classes until before birth
– take up postnatal classes after birth
It's never too late to practise prenatal yoga! The most important thing to remember is that you find a class specifically for pregnancy yoga, and that the teacher is qualified. Try a few classes in your area and find one that suits you the most.
Here are three yoga poses that can really help during your pregnancy:
Cobblers pose: This pose helps to open the hips. You can also move knees up and down to relax the hips, as well as rotating the hips in both directions. Sit on a folded blanket or block to raise the bottom if it feels more comfortable. Try staying in the pose for several deep inhale/exhales, relaxing the shoulders, face and jaw but staying long in the spine. You can also place one hand on the heart and one hand on your baby (belly) to connect with the breath.
Child’s pose: This pose is relaxing and helpful for calming the breath and softening the body. Can also be beneficial for babies in breach position to encourage a turn. As your belly grows, keep your big toes together and spread your knees apart to create space. Likewise, if it's more comfortable to sit up high, rather than bringing your bum to your ankles, go for it. Just remember to rest your forehead (maybe on a block) and to breath deeply into your back.
Cat/cow: Many women will endure back pain at some point in their pregnancy, but gently rocking between cat and cow poses will work to warm up and mobilise the spine and stretch the body. They also help to shift the weight of the baby away from the spine, giving you some much needed relief. Can help during labour if most of the contraction pain is felt in the back.
This article was written as part of the Holistic Centre spring newsletter ‘Pregnancy and Childbirth’. Continue reading: