Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word for union. It is the science of joining the body and mind to reach Kaivalya or ultimate freedom. Yoga has been around for thousands of years. It started in India as a spiritual discipline, but is now practiced all over the world as a form of exercise. Yoga helps achieve health, happiness, and peace of mind.
Benefits of Yoga for Women Who Are Pregnant
Yoga for pregnant women benefits both the mother and the baby inside her womb. It supports healthy pregnancy, easier labor, and smooth delivery. Yoga helps reduce the risks of preterm labor and intrauterine growth restriction through the following:
- Stress removal. Yoga technique allows a pregnant woman distress herself. As we all know, stress can give rise to different birth complications. Deep breathing and yoga poses help to relax the mind and body.
- Sleep inducement. We all need to have enough sleep to enable the body to regenerate cells. Yoga for pregnant women helps induce sleep.
- Strengthening. Yoga for women who are pregnant focuses on strengthening the pelvic muscles to support healthy development of the fetus. During yoga, endorphins are released, keeping the would-be mother full of life.
- Pain relief. Certain yoga poses are designed to eliminate discomforts associated with pregnancy such as lower back pain, headache, and queasiness.
Pre-natal Yoga Poses
A prenatal yoga session usually involves breathing, gentle stretching, poses, and relaxation. It is best to do yoga under supervision by a certified instructor. Below is a list of yoga poses for pregnant women:
- Hero. This helps strain in the legs. To do a hero pose, kneel on the floor, with your buttocks resting comfortably between your two feet, and your inner knees close together. Back straight, chin up. Stay in this position for at least 30 seconds.
- Cat-cow. This is designed to ease back pain. It also helps move the fetus into the right position for delivery. To do cat-cow, get on your hands and knees, arms and knees apart. Round your back as you breathe in. Relax your back as you breathe out.
- Butterfly. This targets the muscles in the hips and groin. Sit with your back straight, legs apart, straight out. Bend your knees and draw your feet towards the pelvis. Grab your feet and bring the heels towards you. Inhale. Exhaling, press your thighs and hips against the floor. Flap both legs up and down like the wings of a butterfly. Start slow, then increase speed as you continue. Slow down and stop. Press elbows on the thighs, feel the stretch, and take long deep breaths. Exhale as you go back to starting position.
Yoga Poses Pregnant Women Should Avoid
Yoga for pregnant women should be easy to perform. Poses that put pressure on the abdomen are not recommended especially during the early stages of pregnancy. When doing twisting poses, the emphasis is on the shoulders and upper back, not on your belly. Inversions such as headstands and handstands are also not advised. Poses that are performed while lying on your back, and those that involve balancing on one foot should be avoided after the first trimester of your pregnancy.
Pre-natal yoga alone is not enough to ensure healthy pregnancy. A pregnant woman should also eat balanced meals, sleep well, and socialize. A mind that is free of negative thoughts is essential to keep the body in shape, and enable proper fetal growth. However, those who have absolutely no yoga experience should consult their doctor first.