Set aside your ego and honour where your body is at today. Practice loving compassion for yourself and your baby. Prenatal yoga is one of the best things that you can do for yourself, as well as your growing baby.
It’s important that you find the right yoga practice for you. Whether it be going to a yoga studio, finding a DVD, or developing your own practice at home: listen to your body and do what feels right to you.
The benefits of practicing yoga during pregnancy include:
1. Develops stamina and strength
As baby grows within our body, more energy and strength is needed to be able to carry the weight. Yoga poses strengthen our hips, back, arms and shoulders.
Our balance is challenged physically as the fetus grows within our body. Emotionally we are drained due to the increases in progesterone and estrogen. As we try to focus on holding and breathing through each yoga pose, we are able to fine tune our balance, physically and emotionally.
3. Relieves tension of lower back, hips, chest, upper back, neck and shoulders
As baby grows, more stress is put upon these specific muscle groups in our bodies. We tend to have more of a lordotic/lower back curve due to the increased size of our bellies. Our hips get tighter due to the added pressure of baby’s weight in our bellies. As our breasts increase in size, our upper back and chest have more tension, along with our neck and shoulders.
4. Calms the nervous system
Through deep breathing, the nervous system goes into parasympathetic mode, which is responsible for relaxation. When our bodies are in that mode, our digestions operate properly, we tend to sleep better, and our immune system is at its optimum.
5. Preparation for Labor
You are working with conscious breathing during each yoga pose, which may sometimes be challenging. This transfers into the time of labor, allowing you to practice being “comfortable with the uncomfortable” through your ‘breathwork’. As you inhale, you acknowledge the tension that is felt. As you exhale deeply, you let go of it more and more with each breath.
6. Connection with baby
Prenatal yoga practice allows us to slow down and focus attention on what is going on within our bodies. Through working with our breath and doing each pose, we become more aware of what is going on within.
7. Increases circulation
Circulation is enhanced within our joints, and our muscles are elongated during practice. Upon circulation of the blood within our bodies, swelling is decreased and our immunity is enhanced, creating a healthy environment for a thriving baby.
8. Breathwork practice
This is a good tool for labor during contractions. If we are consciously breathing, our blood pressure and heart rate is regulated, keeping us in parasympathetic/relaxation mode. Calm mama equals calm baby.
9. Sense of community/sisterhood
It can be very comforting to be with a group of women who understand what we are going through.
10. Nurturing time
This time allows us to stop and slow down from our busy days. Through the practice of yoga, you are stating intent to take care not only of yourself, but of baby.