Practicing yoga can help lower stress levels, reduce inflammation and promote relaxation. For moms-to-be, the benefits go even further. Pregnancy is meant to be a time of celebration and excitement. But between all of the physical and emotional changes taking place, the joys of pregnancy can get lost in the stress of preparation, the worries of uncomfortable weight gain or the aches and pains that come along with expecting.
Prenatal yoga is a wonderfully gentle way to move your body in a compassionate way, reaping the rewards of exercise along with better preparing yourself and the new addition to the family for the journey of delivery that lies ahead.
During pregnancy, many physical and emotional changes take place. The surge of the hormones progesterone and estrogen often leave women feeling emotionally drained while the added weight and growing belly can cause lower back aches and tightened hips. A mindful prenatal yoga practice can help with all this- and more.
The Value of Breath
Deep breathing, often a main focus in prenatal yoga classes, allows the nervous system to go into a parasympathetic state. This “rest and relaxation” mode improves digestion, aids in more restful sleep and allows your immune system to function at its best.
Learning to breathe through challenging poses also helps to prepare for delivery. This will enable you to remain calm and breathe properly during the uncomfortable moments of labor.
Targeted Pain Relief
Your body undergoes many changes as you prepare for the delivery of your newborn child. The added weight in your belly causes the hips to tighten under the pressure as well as an increased curvature of the spine, leading to lower back aches. The increase in breast size puts a strain on the chest and upper back, along with the neck and shoulder.
Using targeted yoga postures to help release the hips (child’s pose), gently move the spine (cat/cow) and open the upper body (triangle pose) can dramatically reduce the discomfort associated with pregnancy.
The gentle movement of yoga also increases circulation, which can help to reduce the swelling most moms-to-be experience.
Calm Mom = Happy Baby
Keeping stress levels to a minimum, while easier said than done, is a must while expecting. There are drastic changes in your hormones during pregnancy and mentally preparing for baby becomes just as important as the physical preparation. Focused breathing and postures force us to reconnect and reacquaint ourselves with our bodies. Stepping outside of the chaos that is our everyday life and stepping into a yoga class allows you to slow things down and care for both yourself and your baby-to-be.
It is important to remember that pregnancy is a time to be especially compassionate to yourself and your ever-changing body. A prenatal yoga practice is a wonderful way to provide both you and your soon-to-be a healthy environment to thrive in.