Yoga and Pregnancy: An Exploration, Its Benefits and Poses
We all recognize that our body and mind are intimately interlinked. Any disruption in either of them is bound to restrict the other. Mental distress leads to physiological problems and bodily discomfort deranges the mind. During Pregnancy, finding a balanced perspective in one’s life can be hard at times and as pregnancy develops, it becomes instinctive to focus more and more inwardly on the baby. Finding time for regular relaxation and self reflection (meditation) is important here.
So What is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient Indian form of exercise that captures a holistic approach to life. Ancient Indian science have always considered mind as being supreme over matter and have evolved practices such as Yoga on this idea. The traditions of Yoga to this day have survived because it helps address the deepest philosophical and spiritual concepts known to humanity. The Sanskrit word Yoga has many meanings and is derived from the Sanskrit root “yuj” meaning “to unite”. The goals of yoga are varied and range from improving health to achieving Moksha i.e. liberation. Yoga has now made a vital contribution to the modern medical system. People from all parts of the world have reported that yoga is an effective form of curing diseases and bringing internal harmony.
The Expectant Mother and Yoga
We identify that from the moment of conception we are influenced by people and events around us. The child arriving as he does, with very little consciousness of himself begins subsistence at a prenatal level and needs the assistance of a mind outside its own to help that consciousness develop. The primary relationship a child encounters even before birth is with his mother. Sanskrit language defines the Mother as ‘The First Guru’ wherein ‘gu’ means dark or darkness and ‘ru’ meaning light thus the most literal meaning of guru being: someone who guides from darkness to light. And Mother, the first Guru facilitates this natural process.
Due to its life enriching qualities prenatal yoga exercises is very popular amongst pregnant women. Carried out under the expert guidance of a Yoga teacher, Yoga prepares you physically as well as mentally for giving birth. Yoga tenderly works on the reproductive organs and pelvis to ensure a smooth pregnancy and a relatively easy childbirth. At an understated level, these ensure optimum supply of blood and nutrients to the developing foetus. Practicing yoga therefore before and throughout pregnancy can ease the process of giving birth
Benefits of Practicing Yoga during Pregnancy
It is recommended that you switch to a prenatal yoga course, which is suited for pregnant women. These classes are designed so that pregnant women can combat problems such as back pain, stress, and other problems, typically associated with pregnancy. It is very essential during pregnancy to perform yoga poses only under a credible yoga expert's guidance. Below here are some listed benefits of practicing Yoga during Pregnancy.
· Yoga is principally helpful during pregnancy for physical and mental relaxation as well as for childbirth preparation.
· It is extremely useful in chucking out smoking or poor eating habits.
· Breathing techniques in Yoga ensure the abundant supply of oxygen reckoning better life force for your child. Throughout pregnancy, good breathing and control of Prana (energy) are extremely critical, because just like the nutrients you provide your baby from your food, you are also responsible for providing him/her with high quality oxygen and prana from the air you breathe.
· Mastery of a few simple Pranayamas can help birthing energy to flow smoothly. It helps build up lots of patience and courage which is necessary for dealing with pregnancy.
· The yoga poses help the muscles to become more reflexive. It enables to get a flexible body which can adjust to changes in the body during pregnancy. It helps to tone the body muscles in a way that natural child birth is possible.
· The breathing exercise performed during yoga strengthens the body to cope with labor pain. Bidalasana which is also known as cat pose is very effective pose during pregnancy. The breath control during yoga helps to provide more oxygen to the baby in the womb
· Yoga helps to cope with stress and other health concerns during pregnancy
· Yoga helps deal with pain during delivery
· Post delivery it helps to maintain a proper body shape and weight post-pregnancy. It strengthens the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles post-pregnancy
· More importantly, in the early weeks after birth when sleep is of poor quality or broken often, regular Yoga Nidra is a marvelous way of resting to restore the body and mind.
· As a therapeutic tool, Yoga is included in women s programs for managing asthma, high blood pressure, , cramping, PMS, fatigue, edema ,insomnia, stress management, constipation, endometriosis, leucorrhoea and sexual tension
Recommended Yoga PosesDuring Pregnancy
During First Trimester: Hip openers like Pigeon Pose, Butterfly Pose,Utthanasan, Ardha Chandrasana, Badda Konasana, and Knee to Ankle, Virabhadrasana,and Cat Stretch Pose. These help in strengthening of various muscles and creating the flexibility that will make giving birth easier.
During Second Trimester:Knee to Ankle pose, Pigeon pose, Baddha Konasana, Ardha Chandrasana, Triangle Pose, Cat-Crow pose. These poses aim at making the body flexible enough to facilitate easy delivery.
During Third Trimester : Ardha Chandrasana,Baddha Konasana ,Knee to Ankle pose,Pigeon pose,Triangle pose, Warrior II pose.The poses mentioned above are mostly hip-opener poses. These can prepare your body physically for child delivery.