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Prenatal Yoga

pregnant-yoga-200wWhy Try Yoga?

There is probably no better way to prepare physically for childbirth than with yoga. The practice involves not just exercise but mindfulness as well, opening both the body and mind to what lies ahead. Prenatal yoga teaches a mother-to-be to connect more fully to the life growing inside her.

Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

Yoga can be an ideal choice to help keep in shape during pregnancy. It incorporates stretches and exercises that can be modified for each trimester as the body changes. The gentle stretching taught in yoga can reduce fatigue, tension and tightness, while promoting relaxation. This age-old practice can help with keeping limber, toning muscles, and improving balance and circulation, with little, if any impact on joints. The practice of yoga may decrease back pain, swelling of the ankles and feet, constipation, nausea and other common discomforts of pregnancy.

Deep Breathing

Another one of the powerful benefits of yoga is learning deep breathing. One breathing technique used in some forms of yoga is known as ujjayi. It requires taking air in slowly through the nose, filling lungs, and exhaling completely until the stomach compresses. 

Learning how to do ujjayi breathing is beneficial for use during labor and childbirth by training to stay calm when needed. When in pain or afraid, the body produces adrenalin and may produce less oxytocin, a hormone that makes labor progress. A regular yoga practice will help a mother-to-be fight the urge to tighten up when feeling pain, and show her how to relax instead.

Yoga Instructor

Before starting any exercise program consult with midwife or doctor. Seek out an instructor who is specifically trained in prenatal yoga. If that is not possible, make sure the instructor knows you're expecting and is willing to give extra help if needed. Although there are many DVD's available with yoga workouts, we suggest that unless experienced in yoga, choose a certified instructor and go to class. If experienced at yoga, a class is still a great place to connect and associate with other moms-to-be.

Yoga Tips

  • Breathe deeply and regularly while stretching.
  • If experienced at yoga, a mom-to-be should recognize and accept that her regular routine will require modifications as time goes on.
  • A woman should listen to her body as she exercises and trust what it tells her.
  • If feeling pain or discomfort, make an adjustment or ask your instructor to recommend an alternative position.
  • Skip positions that stretch the abdominal muscles too much.