In a nutshell:
Physically, yoga helps make muscles more supple, increase joint mobility, and improve posture, all crucial given the colossal changes that happen to the body in pregnancy. With improved posture comes better breathing and circulation.
Yoga and labor have many things in common, which makes yoga excellent practice for labor. Yoga has many psycho-spiritual benefits, which can help a woman navigate the tremendous transformations of pregnancy and motherhood. Being in a yoga class also offers community, which can be just as important as the actual practice of yoga.
Here are 15 specific reasons to do yoga in pregnancy.
Ways that yoga helps in pregnancy:
1. Helps you carry your baby optimally.
2. Helps to prevent backache
3. Facilitates unrestricted breathing, resulting in good blood oxygenation for mom and baby
4. Helps mom discover movements that alleviate pregnancy discomforts such as heartburn, leg cramps, or headaches.
5. Better blood circulation, lowering risk of problems such as varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and fluid retention
6. Helps combat fatigue
7. Physical pain can be diminished through regular practice
8. Increased self awareness and awareness of baby. Becoming more body aware and aware of your baby and its energy can help you foster a bond with baby even before birth.
Ways that yoga helps a woman prepare for labor:
9. Many yoga poses also happen to be ideal birthing positions, practicing before hand offers strength, comfort and familiarity with these positions.
10. Yoga helps you move to your edge and sometimes beyond, finding grace and ease in physical difficulty. This is a beneficial skill in labor.
11. Yoga helps connect you to your body, giving you confidence and courage in its abilities and helping you develop a deeper awareness of what’s happening in your body
12. The focused breath work of yoga can help you find a breathing rhythm that works for you in labor. Breath is SO key in yoga and in labor! In yoga, you can also practice moving breath in your body—for example, moving breath down, which can also be vital in labor as you breathe your baby down.
13. Yoga brings a shift in consciousness out of your thinking mind and into your more embodied, instinctive mind. This, too, will be a benefit in labor, as it requires that you release thoughts and let your body express its wisdom (a wisdom that knows how to birth your baby!)
14. Yoga offers practice in releasing stress, tension and fear. It encourages feelings of peace, safety, and presence. All of this is good for labor.
15. Yoga makes the body strong, helping it through labor and helping create optimal conditions for healing after labor, regardless of what labor and birth brings.
What benefits of yoga have you discovered in your pregnancy and birth?
Did you know we offer prenatal yoga at Health Foundations? The first Friday of every month our lovely yoga instructor leads a candlelight prenatal yoga class from 7pm to 8:15pm. Join us next month!
Stay tuned for an upcoming post with some of the best yoga poses for pregnancy and their benefits.
***As with all forms of exercise in pregnancy, it is imperative to listen to your body and honor your needs and abilities at this time.