Expecting a new baby is an incredibly exciting time in life. Mothers-to-be are so connected to their unborn child, they want to do all they can to ensure the best pregnancy and delivery possible. One way to do so is with prenatal yoga. Yoga during pregnancy has a ton of benefits for the expectant mother, including maintaining and increasing strength, contributing to better posture, promoting relaxation, and more. Here’s a look at how prenatal yoga can help during and after pregnancy.
Gentle Stretching and Strengthening Poses
Yoga courses for pregnant women focus on preparing the body and mind for childbirth, as well as dealing with the physical changes and emotional flux during the nine months. This is why most prenatal yoga classes include a combination of gentle stretching and strengthening poses. Through postures such as cobra, bridge and eagle, for example, mums-to-be can help strengthen their muscles, improving not only physical strength, but also resistance and sound posture, whilst stretching their spine and hamstrings.
Breathing exercises, also known as pranayama, are an important component of prenatal yoga. The exercises help to relax the body, increase control of the breath, which is fundamental in labour and birth, and teach mothers to take deeper and fuller breaths. The exercises can also help pregnant women to stay in tune with their baby’s movements, as their focus sharpens.
Restorative yoga is a type of yoga practice which focuses on the restoration of physical and mental energy. This is a very beneficial type of yoga for pregnant women when practiced with caution, as it can help relax the body and decrease fatigue. Such poses as the supported bridge and side-lying poses help to support the body and also encourage blood flow, particularly in the low back area.
Hip openers such as pigeon pose, figure four pose and seated hip rotations can help to reduce backaches and promote hip flexibility. These poses are important during pregnancy as the expectant mothers need to prepare the area for childbirth. However, it is important to practice these poses with caution, with your instructor providing you with guidance.
Meditation and Relaxation
One of the main reasons why expecting mums turn to yoga is because of the profound effects that it has on relaxation, both physically and mentally. During a prenatal yoga class, you can expect to close your session with a meditation and relaxation practice. This helps to soothe the nervous system, reduce stress, balance hormones and improve sleep, to name a few.
Prenatal yoga offers a lot of benefits for expecting mums, from stretching and strengthening to breathing exercises, restorative yoga and even meditation and relaxation. Practiced under the guidance of a qualified pregnancy yoga teacher, prenatal yoga can help pregnant women transition into motherhood and enjoy a healthier, more balanced and comfortable life during and after pregnancy.