The Benefits of Yoga in Pregnancy
Carole Baker – Health and Wellness Advisor and Yoga Teacher
The type of mum’s to be that turn up at my ante-natal yoga classes are from all walks of life and they come for all types of reasons. For some it is a last minute panic – “oh I’m pregnant about time I did something to get myself into shape, perhaps I’ll try yoga!” for others they have read about the physical and psychological benefits and want to start as soon at the earliest opportunity to make their pregnancy as smooth running as possible.
Pregnancy is a natural process and too often we find that it turns into a list of symptoms and moans and groans, by attending a yoga class we hope that you will be able to become more in tune with your body as it develops and changes and find a sense of peace and wellbeing throughout the pregnancy and birth.
Physical Benefits of Yoga
In the West we tend to sit on our bottoms a lot! Compared with many other cultures in the East who squat or sit crossed legged. This means that our lower backs, hips and pelvic area can become very very tight.
Lower back pain or Sciatica is very common in pregnancy and can be easily avoided and cured with some simple yoga moves to stretch out the piriformis muscle, or back of the hips, to you and I!
Lots of emphasis is on hip opening movements, gentle lunges and squats.
We try and open and stretch the lower back to prevent tightness and stiffness there and also stretch the hamstrings running down the back of the legs.
Twisting postures are fantastic for reducing nervous tension and worry and are fabulous for stimulating the digestion to work more efficiently as well.
Gentle Inversion Postures like the Cat and Dog are good for encouraging the baby to move freely and have been shown to assist in turning breech presentations too.
Shoulders and Necks are two of the main areas of tension within the body and often as our posture changes to accommodate the baby we find ourselves stooping forward. As our arms are always in front of our bodies we find that we need to open our chests and shoulders and do some gentle supported back bends to counteract our bending forward all day. We focus also on releasing tension in the neck and stimulating the thyroid gland at the front of the neck which balances the endocrine system.
Psychological Benefits of Yoga
One of the most important benefits students gain from yoga is learning how to relax and de-stress. Sounds strange, but actually we are very bad at relaxing our minds, and the little voice in our head can often be huge source of stress to us. In a yoga class we start to learn how to use breathing techniques to relax our minds and body, preparing ourselves to cope better with labour. Many mums say it was the breathing and hip opening stretches that made labour much easier to cope with – come and read the testimonials yourself!
Classes are informal and relaxed and you have plenty of opportunity to chat to the teacher and the other mums about any little things that are worrying you or stressing you! We look at complementary home remedies suitable for use in pregnancy and recommend treatments and therapies for you to try.
Carole is trained by The British Wheel of Yoga (the governing body for Yoga in the UK) and is a mother of three girls (Queen of long labours and C sections!) Please email if you want more info firstname.lastname@example.org