Yoga is a useful tool to stay flexible, strong and positive before and after pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a beautiful thing.
However, the body goes through a lot of changes during this stage, causing discomfort and stress. Experiencing fatigue, mood swings, difficulty in breathing and leg cramps are common.
Enter prenatal yoga.
It helps you deal with all mental and physical changes caused by pregnancy. Prenatal yoga poses aim to improve stretching, balance, relaxation, and strength, thereby easing your pregnancy.
Here are some key benefits of doing prenatal yoga.
1. Helps You Manage Stress:
The hormonal changes within the body affect emotional health. Yoga is a wonderful way to cope up this stress. For example, several breathing exercises ease your nervous system as well as promote relaxation. Plus, they help your body to carry oxygen to the developing fetus.
2. Reduces Lower Back Pain:
Prenatal yoga also helps you manage the two debilitating symptoms of pregnancy—nausea, and backache. Yoga also improves the stretch and strength of the muscles and tissues related to the lower back, hamstrings, and hips.
3. Improves Stamina and Strength:
Having strong muscles in the abdomen and pelvic area is important for a pregnant woman during the labor process. Stamina is also important to tolerate the stress of labor. And prenatal yoga helps you develop both stamina and strength.
4. Aids Digestion:
As the fetus grows inside, your digestive tract is left with little space. Consequently, you experience poor digestion, gas, bloating, indigestion and constipation problems. Parental yoga also helps improve digestion.
5. Helps You Stay Positive:
Pregnancy is a stressful event, especially if you are experiencing it for the very first time. Maybe you are anxious and worry. Here comes prenatal yoga. It helps you stay positive and stress-free as well. For example, breathing and meditation techniques used in yoga calm down stress.
Best Yoga Poses for Pregnancy:
1. The Extended Side Angle Pose:
- Stand up straight opening your feet in a way so that they are placed at an equal distance to your shoulders.
- Slowly bend one leg at the knee as you extend the other leg sideways. The grip should be strong to avoid slipping.
- Raise the arm from the side where the leg has been extended. Stretch the arm upwards keeping it stretched and straight above the head.
- Bend another hand at the elbow and keep it on the knee that was bent earlier. Palm should be open and facing upwards.
- Stay in the pose for a few seconds or minute, as allowed by your stamina.
- Release and get back to the original position.
- Repeat the process with the other side.
2. Legs-Up-the-Wall or Viparita Karani:
- Get on the floor near a wall
- Take a deep breath
- Extend your legs up onto the all keeping your butts against it.
- Exhale slowly.
- Make sure to keep your spine straight. You can also bend your knees a little if locking out of the kneecaps is troubling you.
- Stay in this position as long as your endurance allows.
- Get back to the beginning position.
3. The Chair Pose:
- Stand straight placing your feet apart at a distance of nearly 12 inches. Make sure to keep them parallel.
- Take a slow breath and push your heels upwards.
- The arms should be pushed upwards at the shoulder level. The palms should face downwards as you do so.
- Exhale slowly as you sit on your toes in a squatting position. Imagine as if you are sitting on the chair. Make sure to keep your shoulder blades firmed against the back. The tailbone should be down toward the floor and in toward your pubis to stretch the lower back.
- Stay in this position for 30 seconds to a minute. Release this pose by straightening the knees with an inhalation.
4. Mountain Pose:
- Stand straight with your feet at the distance of “hip width” apart. The weight should be pressed even across the balls and arches of the feet. Feel relaxed and get focused on the present moment.
- The spine should be straight while the hands close to the body. The palms will be facing your thighs.
- Join your hands as if you are doing “Namaskar”.
- Inhale deeply and stretch your spine and raise your hands above your head.
- The back should be stretched while the head will be tilted back so that you can see your fingertips.
- Get in this position for 10-15 seconds. Exhale slowly and get back to normal position.
5. Warrior Pose:
- Stand in the starting position of Mountain Pose (stand straight with some inches distance between the feet while the palm facing the thighs.)
- Bend the knee in a way so that it can get into a straight line with the ankle.
- Slowly raise your hands above the head. The palms should be in “Namaskar” pose.
- Remain in this pose as long as your endurance allows.
- Breathe and resume to normal position.
- Repeat this pose with left leg.
6. Child Pose:
- Sit in kneeling position on a comfortable mat.
- Slowly spread the knees wide apart keeping your big toes touching. Buttocks should be placed on the heels.
- Get your torso over the thighs.
- The neck and spine should be stretched by keeping the ribs away from tailbone.
- Get your forehead down on the ground. Extend the arms out in the front.
- Remain in this position for 3 minutes.
- To release from this pose, use the hands to make the torso upright to resume getting back on the heels. This way, you can get back
So you must have understood the benefits of yoga in pregnancy. Yoga poses help you stay active, strong and positive throughout the nine months of your pregnancy. As an added bonus, yoga may also help you reduce the risk of cesarean delivery.
However, it is important to work with an experienced prenatal yoga teacher or should do proper prenatal teacher training if you want teach prenatal yoga. Don’t try to do these poses by just following the text given here or any other “self-taught” yoga book.
Keep in mind that this is just the information on the useful prenatal yoga posture. Therefore, practice them under the supervision of an experienced yoga teacher. They can tell you what to do and what to avoid.
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