Prenatal yoga improves flexibility, tones muscles and helps provide natural relief from some of the common pregnancy discomforts. Here are some more of the benefits plus some videos showing examples of prenatal yoga...
Regular exercise is beneficial during pregnancy. Prenatal yoga is a good choice for a low impact exercise that provides several benefits that are both physical and mental. Prenatal yoga improves flexibility, tones muscles and helps provide natural relief from some of the common pregnancy discomforts. Always remember to consult with your healthcare professional before starting any exercise program, especially if you are pregnant.
Increases strength and flexibility: The regular practice of yoga helps increase flexibility in the muscles and surrounding tissues. This helps enhance blood circulation. The regular practice of prenatal yoga stretches and tones the muscles, making them stronger and more flexible.
Helps diminish swelling and joint inflammation: Swelling and inflammation is caused by water retention and decreased circulation. Since yoga helps promote circulation, it is effective at preventing and reducing swelling. This reduces the common swelling of the ankles, feet and hands.
Prevents and decreases pain in the lower back and sciatica pain: Lower back pain and sciatica are common complaints during pregnancy. The change in posture is responsible for much of this pain. Regular prenatal yoga practice stretches the muscles of the lower back and strengthens these muscles. It also helps improve posture which helps with back pain.
Creates and maintains a sense of well being: Yoga helps release tension from the body. It is also a powerful tool for relaxation, which helps maintain a feeling of well being. This combined with increased flexibility and fewer aches and pains enhances the feeling of well being.
Stress Relief: Pregnant women often feel stressed. Yoga is very effective for stress relief. With regular practice of prenatal yoga, you will feel better able to handle stress.
Helps prepare you for labor: In yoga, you learn how to find and release tension in the body. Learning this technique will be very helpful in labor. Tension in the muscles makes the body produce less oxytocin.
Powerful relaxation tool during pregnancy and in labor: Since you have learned to locate and release tension in the body, you will be able to do it during labor. As a result, you will be less likely to tense up with every contraction. The ability to relax through the contractions results in less pain as well as better progress in labor.
Relaxation, imagery and breathing are useful in labor: Breathing is stressed in prenatal yoga classes. The breathing technique involves taking air in slowly through the now and exhaling completely. This relaxed breathing technique is helpful at relieving tension and brings more oxygen to the muscles and the baby.
In many prenatal yoga classes, breathing, relaxation and imagery are specifically tailored for the pregnant woman. You will learn tools and techniques that you will be able to use during labor.
You can take a class in prenatal yoga or work out at home with a DVD. Prenatal yoga classes are offered at yoga studios around the country. Call your local studio to find a class. If they don’t offer one, they may be able to refer you to another studio. Your doctor or midwife may know of classes in your area as well. Be sure to check with your health care provider before you start yoga or any other exercise regimen.
There are benefits to taking a prenatal yoga class, rather than using a DVD. In the class, you will meet other expectant mothers. The conversation and camaraderie is a great benefit. In addition, an instructor will help you learn the asanas and ensure you are doing them correctly and not overdoing it. During class, topics specific to pregnancy, labor and birth sometimes come up and this information is valuable.
If you don’t have a class in your area, several prenatal yoga DVDs are available for purchase. You will need a yoga mat, also called a sticky mat. You may want some props, such as blocks or straps to help with your practice. These are sold everywhere the yoga mats are sold.
Here is a nice series of videos on Prenatal Yoga we found on Youtube:
Breathing properly during exercise and especially yoga is very important:
After practicing breathing side stretching is nice to transition into:
While still on the floor you can next transition into the Cat Cow position
Next you can learn the squat position
A nice standing pose is the Warrior 1. It not only helps stregthen your legs but is a great hip opening exercise for when you are in labor
Remember to always check with your physician before starting a new exercise program, and to take it slowly, you don't want to do to much at one time and possibly hurt yourself or your unborn baby. These are just some examples of prenatal yoga and some of the benefits. You may want to check locally to see if your local Y or gym has a class. It always helps to talk to someone in person and is always fun to meet new people. We hope you enjoyed this brief introduction to prenatal yoga.