Awaken Your Instincts With Pregnancy Yoga
Prenatal yoga can be an amazing life-enhancing, mood-lifting and body-loving addition to a mom-to-be’s journey. Regular yoga practice during pregnancy can help women feel more energized and have a stronger connection to their bodies and their babies. It can also drastically improve (and even eliminate) insomnia, sciatica, hip pain, rib pain, back aches, SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction), headaches and anxieties. Read on (or share with partner) to learn more about this practice as well as some essential yoga moves that every expecting woman should know.
Listen and flow:
Prenatal yoga offers an opportunity for expecting mothers to tune-in and practice listening to their bodies. By doing this regularly women’s trust in the wisdom of their bodies increases, and they feel more confident that when the time of birth comes their role will be that of listening-in and flowing accordingly. Classes also offer wonderful tools, such as breathing techniques and positions to use during labour. The advice and moral support women receive during these sessions makes them feel more empowered, safer, and in control about their pregnancy and delivery.
At peace with birth:
Practicing yoga during pregnancy does not guarantee a quick easy labour, but can it improve the chances of that being the case, overall women that take yoga classes usually feel more open minded and accepting about whatever turn birthing takes. The stretches help to release tightness and tension from the muscles and create more space for baby, and the breathing techniques work on a deeper psychological level to release fears, anxieties and bring a feeling of calmness and clarity to the mind. Regular yoga practice will teach expecting moms that there is no such thing as the ‘perfect birth’ but instead to embrace with peace their birthing experience.
Breath-in and recover:
Recovery after the birth will be better for women who are fit and healthy from yoga practice throughout pregnancy. Using the movements and breathing techniques learnt during the classes not only can help speed up contractions and facilitate the delivery process, but can also be great right after delivery helping mothers recover sooner. In general, women that practice prenatal yoga are less likely to suffer from prolapsed organs, pelvic floor weakness or incontinence and can apply the tools they have learnt for their labour to cope with those exhausting, stressful first months to gain energy and stay calm.
Essential Pregnancy Yoga Moves
The position of your baby can really influence the birth so you can do the following to encourage O.F.P or optimum foetal positioning: On all 4s on the hands and knees, make hip circles 10x in each direction. Rock the hips forward and backward 10x. Make a figure of 8 movement with your hips. In general avoid slouching on the sofa and in a car seat. Place a cushion behind you when you are sitting so that you can tilt the pelvis forward and this will give the baby more space to get into a better position.
On all 4s (wrists under the shoulders and hips above the knees) exhale as you round the spine and inhale to come to a neutral position with the spine (don’t collapse into the lower back). Keep moving through your back smoothly, repeating this action as you breathe deeply. Imagine hugging your baby in towards you as you exhale and inhale release back to a relaxed neutral spine. Try this exercise for a few minutes morning and evening to reduce tightness in the back and improve flexibility through the spine.
TADASANA ‘MOUNTAIN POSE‘
Feel the connection of the feet into the earth, even weight through both feet. Pay attention to how you are standing. Make sure you aren’t tilting forward or backward and lift through the inner arches of your feet. Root down through the feet and lift taller, lifting through the legs and through the body, imagine space between each vertebrae of the spine. Send the tailbone down toward the floor and draw the shoulder blades toward each other, feeling broad through the chest. Lift up through the crown of the head but keep a feeling of anchoring downwards through the feet and lifting up from that support. This pose will help you to feel lighter and more spacious. Practice it whenever you can so that you will develop good habits!
BALASANA ‘CHILDS POSE’
On all 4s with the knees wide reach your arms forward as you bring your hips back towards your heels. You can either keep the arms reaching forward or make a pillow with your hands. Soften the face and relax the jaw as you breathe deeply. This is a wonderfully relaxing pose to use either to remove stress during your day or you can use this position during labour to feel the support of the floor beneath your body and recharge your energy levels in between contractions.
Lie on the floor on a yoga mat or blanket, on you left side (to assist the blood flow to your heart and encourage your baby into a good position for birth) with a pillow beneath your bent knees. Stay here for 5 – 10 minutes and feel any tension melting away.