Yoga for Expecting Mothers

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Yoga For Expecting Mothers
Mental, Emotional, and Physical Conditioning for your New Journey

Anything in that we set our mind towards in life requires preparation. Whether it be mental, emotional, or physical preparation, most milestones in our lives are met through much conditioning and preparation. Before running a race, training is required. Before going to college, high school courses are required. Pregnancy is no different. As the body changes in preparation for the baby, some things may be instinctive for the mother and while others may not. Prenatal yoga prepares expecting mothers for their new journey by addressing those areas that are changing and strengthening those areas that are critical for a growing baby and its arrival. Prenatal yoga is not just about stretching, but it’s a practice that tends to the mind, body, and spirit which directly and indirectly affects the baby.

As the mother’s body prepares for the baby by expanding and compressing in various areas of the body, prenatal yoga helps the mother to gain more body awareness. When you close your eyes, how do you know where your feet are? Your arms? Your hands? It’s the internal sense that tells you where your body parts are without your having to look at them. That’s body awareness.

This awareness allows time and space for the mother to turn her attention inward to the beauty forming within to sense every kick, tug, and turn in a very intimate way. Prenatal yoga also focuses on long inhales and exhales to help to relax the mind and the nervous system which is key during the labor process. The ability to breathe deeply and fully through the nose accesses the strength and endurance needed to carry a growing baby to term and to manage contractions.

As the mother’s body prepares for the baby by expanding and compressing in various areas of the body, prenatal yoga helps the mother to gain more body awareness….This awareness allows time and space for the mother to turn her attention inward to the beauty forming within to sense every kick, tug, and turn in a very intimate way.

The yoga postures used in prenatal yoga provide the physical training and conditioning needed for the baby’s arrival. This is not the time to try to turn yourself into a pretzel! The yoga postures should help expecting mothers develop mental and physical strength through standing and balancing poses, and hip and groin openers. Specifically, these types of poses strengthen the legs and may boost self-confidence in your ability to carry your baby. With a growing belly, balancing poses are great as they help to re-establish balance along with the change in the center of gravity for the mother. Yoga postures also assist with relaxing the body and the mind through seated forward folds and reclined side line poses where the entire back is stretched, relieving back pain, and producing a calming effect on the nervous system.

This nine month journey is not for the faint of heart. Life is priceless so conditioning the mind, body, and spirit to receive this precious gift is going to take work, and prenatal yoga equips you with tools for the journey and the destination!

PRENATAL YOGA BENEFITS & TIPS

  • Check with your physician before starting prenatal yoga

  • Find a certified prenatal yoga instructor.

  • Breathe, Relax, and meditate.

  • The Gentle Stretches will help you move through full range of motion.

  • Yoga Postures help to develop your strength, flexibility and balance. Consider using props such as bolsters, blocks, cushions, and yoga straps to provide support.

  • Cool-down and Final Relaxation: Rest and relax as your breathing relaxes your muscles and restores your resting heart rate and breathing rhythm. You might be encouraged to listen to your own breathing, pay close attention to sensations, thoughts and emotions, or repeat a mantra or word to bring about a state of self-awareness and inner calm.

  • Fellowship: Prenatal yoga classes provide a great opportunity to talk with other expecting mothers after class to share experiences and concerns.

Written by Sherrell and originally published in AFIYA magazine