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Prenatal Yoga

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Prenatal Yoga helps an expectant mother attain the high levels of strength, relaxation and flexibility. Practice of yoga during pregnancy brings immense changes, both physical and mental. Embarking on a regular prenatal yoga regime benefits the mom and child. Infact, there are specific yogic postures especially ear-marked for pregnant women.

Every pregnant woman looks forward to complete the entire gestation period sans complication. A healthy pregnancy leads to a healthy baby. Practicing pregnancy yoga provides you an opportunity to work towards your baby's development long before he/she steps into this world. How can prenatal yoga as a form of exercise aid in an easier delivery and a healthy baby? Follow clear instructions and try certain safe, gentle prenatal yogic postures right to ensure a calm and smooth pregnancy.

Benefits of Yoga

For the common individual, yoga helps lower blood pressure, assists in experiencing improved sleep and digestion, strengthens muscles and joints and increases body flexibility. The breathing techniques of yoga assist in removing impurities from the body through sweat, liver, kidneys and the digestive system. Those suffering from chronic fatigue and depression, severe headaches, heart disease, multiple sclerosis have found complete relief by integrating yoga as a way of life.

Pregnancy Yoga

During the entire nine months of pregnancy, a pregnant woman is subject to dramatic changes, both physical and mental changes. The body shape changes. The changing hormone levels can result in mood swings, making her feel unreasonably angry and tensed along with high levels of anxiety. As a responsible individual, you should be geared to adjust to these changes and deal with them successfully. These changes should not in anyway hinder your efforts to feel good or look good.

Prenatal yoga assists a pregnant woman to adapt to these changes successfully. Clinical studies clearly indicate that pregnant women who pursue prenatal yoga are able to enjoy better well-being, have better control over weight gain, are able to deliver easily, have healthier babies, and can recover pre-pregnancy body shape faster as compared to sedentary women. Prenatal yoga assists in striking the right balance between relaxation and exercise. These yogic postures harmonize your mind, body and soul.

Prenatal yoga benefits

Yogic exercises, breathing exercises, meditation, yogic sleep and mudras- these are the five tools of pregnancy yoga. If a carefully designed prenatal yoga is diligently practiced, a pregnant woman benefits not only during the course of pregnancy but after delivery also.

  • Prenatal yoga practice involves stretching of muscles and tissues that encase the muscles. This tones the muscles, improves balancing capacity and promotes optimum blood supply to various parts of the body.
  • Mukha dhauti, a deep breathing technique increases your endurance level, very helpful during the process of labor.
  • As you learn the breathing technique, you are able to breathe deeply and fully. You will begin to experience a relaxed feeling. This comes handy while in labor, birth and throughout motherhood.
  • The breathing technique trains you to stay calm even under stressed moments. As the labor progresses and the labor pain increases, you can keep stress levels down and remain calm and unperturbed. You will not tighten up or hold your breath. Instead prenatal yoga moulds you to remain calm.
  • Yoga nidra (yogic sleep) involves sitting in a position known as savasana. With proper guidance, the practitioner can experience complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation.
  • Mudras are gestures, which ultimately stimulates different systems particularly women's reproductive organs.
  • Prenatal squat yoga positions help strengthen and open pelvic floor muscles to allow childbirth. Stretching muscles and joints and massaging the various organs, detoxification takes place. Unwanted toxins are flushed out from every nook and corner. The result is increased energetic levels.
  • Prenatal yoga can help combat insomnia, reduce backache and fatigue; swelling, back/leg discomfort and increases the chance of healthy delivery.
  • Boosts stamina, guards excessive weight gains and supports in maintaining a good posture throughout pregnancy.
  • The possibility of stretch marks, varicose veins and abdominal separation are far minimal.
  • Regular prenatal yoga enhances immunity level, inner strength and control over body.
  • Specific prenatal yogic postures such as marjarasana, namaskarasana, sulabh utkatasana facilitate safe, easy labor.
  • Regular prenatal yoga practice trains thereby augmenting mental clarity, focused attention, memory, control over emotions and concentration power improves.

Prenatal yogic postures

Just like any other form of exercise, besides taking general precautions pregnant women need to exercise caution in continuing only with those prenatal yogic postures that make her feel comfortable and good. It is best to avoid inverted poses and postures that require pressing the uterus, compressing and twisting of the belly or abdomen. Congenial room temperature and drinking plenty of fluids water before, during and after exercising to keep your body hydrated can only make the whole process enjoyable. After completing four months, do not exercise lying flat on your back. In case you have health complications, do check with your health care provider. Certain modifications and precautions will be suggested.

You can either attend a regular prenatal yoga class and practice under the supervision of a professional teacher or buy online prenatal yoga books, DVDs and follow the instructions carefully.

Utthanasan or squats (lessens labor time and facilitates easy delivery)

  • Spread a mat or a blanker on the floor and take a standing position
  • Stretch your feet around three feet apart
  • Check if both heels face inwards and toes face outwards
  • Interlock fingers, your hands can hand down in the front side
  • Gradually squat. Lower your buttocks.
  • Your feet should remain flat on the floor
  • Remain in the position for few seconds
  • Retain posture.
  • Repeat depending on your comfort level, 15 to 20 times.

Baddha konasana or cobbler's or tailor's pose: (helps open pelvis, stimulates reproductive organ, good for baby, prepares hip for child birth)

  • Spread a mat or blanker on the floor.
  • Sit erect against a wall. Draw back your feet.
  • Bend your knees and bring your soles of feet to touch each other
  • You can prop up heels on foam pillows or rolled-up towels.
  • Remain in the same position for few minutes
  • Discontinue the moment you feel uncomfortable
  • Retain initial position.

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