16 July 2009

Yoga and pregnancy

Pregnancy is a great personal journey for any woman and is a time of mental and physical change. It can also be a challenging time, as adjustments need to be made as the body starts to change shape.

A pregnancy yoga practice can help address some of these changes in a positive way. Women who practice yoga during pregnancy are able to be really present in their bodies and connect with their unborn child. Yoga has a calming effect on the mother, which is, in turn, transmitted to the baby.

Breathing techniques learnt in prenatal yoga can be used at anytime during pregnancy and many women find them very useful when giving birth. Focusing on the breath can have a profound effect; by learning to control breathing a women can feel empowered and more in control of her thoughts and her body.

Pregnancy yoga differs from general yoga classes, in that many of the classical poses are adapted to accommodate changes in the body. Twists are open, poses are fluid and nurturing for the mum-to-be, creating space in the body and helping to alleviate some of the common ailments often associated with pregnancy such as backache, heartburn, swollen limbs etc.

By practising yoga, the body is strengthened and toned; and many women find that it takes them less time to regain their shape and fitness after giving birth. On top of this, spending time in a pregnancy yoga class with other women can be an emotionally bonding experience and many friendships are formed at this time.

Q. When can I start prenatal yoga

A. During the first trimester, less is best, as the body is adapting to the changes in hormones and your baby is fast developing. Breathing techniques are encouraged and rest is very important at this stage. Fatigue can sometimes be overwhelming and allowing yourself to rest can be challenging in itself. For all these reasons, many yoga teachers and the British Wheel of Yoga recommend starting yoga after the sixteenth week of pregnancy.

Q. Do I need to have practiced yoga before?

A. It is not necessary to have any prior knowledge or experience with yoga before joining a prenatal yoga class.

Q. can I practice yoga with SPD or groin pain?

A. You can practice yoga with these conditions and there are some poses that are beneficial to them. However, always consult your teacher and inform them before you attend class and they will give you appropriate poses to practice.

Q. Can I practice yoga with back pain?

A. Yes, you can practice yoga with back pain provided it is not acute. Many poses are very effective in helping ease back pain. Always consult your yoga teacher before class.

Q. When should I stop prenatal yoga?

A. Many women continue to practice yoga up until shortly before their babies are born.

Q. What should I wear ?

A. Loose, comfortable clothing is required.

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