Pregnancy is a time of change... 9 months (which can sometimes feel like an eternity) of change. Beginning as soon as day 1 of pregnancy, hormone levels start to change. These hormone shifts bring along both physical and mental changes for mama-to-be. While pregnancy is of course a very exciting time, pregnancy can occasionally be tough for mom (and the rest of the family) to handle. Most pregnant women choose to pay closer attention to their physical health - focusing on eating a healthy diet, taking their prenatal vitamins and getting enough rest. But it is also just as important to put some focus on your mental and spiritual health as well. This is one of the reasons why pregnancy is the ideal time to either start or continue with your yoga practice.
"pregnancy is the ideal time to either start or continue with your yoga practice"
Many women comment on the fact that practicing prenatal yoga during their pregnancy significantly improved the experience. Practicing prenatal yoga will provide you will all of the general benefits of yoga - such as greater flexibility, a calmer nervous system and enhanced immune function. But there are additional benefits to practicing yoga while you are pregnant.
"greater flexibility, a calmer nervous system, and enhanced immune function"
Reduce the physical ailments of pregnancy - moving your body and participating in prenatal yoga is AMAZING to reduce many of the physical complaints of pregnancy including sciatica, indigestion, heartburn, food and leg pain, and insomnia (to name a few!)
Breathing and breath awareness - deep breathing practiced in prenatal yoga ensures a good oxygen supply to your growing baby and can enhance your sense of relaxation and control. In addition, breathing taught in yoga helps to prepare your body and mind for the type of breathing necessary during contractions. The awareness of the connection between your breath and your body is vital during labour and delivery and can help you to stay calm and focused.
Connection - practicing yoga during your pregnancy helps to increase your connection with your breath, your body and your baby. While in your mind you know that a new person is developing inside you - it can sometimes be hard to imagine how your life will change until you've got that baby in your arms. It can be challenging to feel connected to your unborn baby. Taking the time each week to slow down and focus on baby can make the whole experience seem more real and can help you feel more connected.
Muscle tone - regularly prenatal yoga (and prenatal fitness in general) helps to develop muscle tone to support your growing and changing body. It has been shown that regular muscle tone developed and maintained throughout pregnancy is present and helps with your post-natal recovery. Practicing yoga in the time leading up to labour gives the pelvic floor muscles a greater chance of recovery after birth.
Baby placement - the optimal position for baby to be in for a vaginal birth is called the LOA position (head down, spine out and to the mother's left side). Since the baby's head and spine are the heaviest parts of the body, practicing yoga poses like cat/cow can help get your baby into the best place for an easier birth for you and baby.
Fewer complications - while not all complications can be prevented, the chances of a healthy pregnancy improve when engaging in healthy activities like yoga. Yoga is a safe and gentle way of staying active and fit during these months. A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine also reports that yoga - improves birth weight, decreases preterm labour, and decreases the risk of certain other complications like pregnancy induced hypertension.
For more information on Prenatal yoga at O WELLNESS and our complete yoga schedule please click here. You can begin your yoga practice at any point during your pregnancy. Additionally you do not need to have any prior yoga experience before joining in. These classes are a great way to connect with and share with a studio full of beautiful mama's-to-be.