A pregnant woman goes through a plethora of changes both physically and mentally. In order to have a healthy and relaxed pregnancy, it is essential for every pregnant woman to take control of her body and mind. However, good food and adequate exercise are the recommended cures for most of the pregnancy related problems, yet the importance of Yoga in pregnancy cannot be underestimated. Yoga is a holistic way of living that combines the powers of the mind and the body to provide all-encompassing wellness.
Yoga can be extremely beneficial for a pregnant woman in that it helps to keep the body fit and healthy, and also acts as an excellent stress reliever. Pregnancy or prenatal yoga can make the body supple, active, and ready for labor and delivery while its calming effect can prepare the pregnant woman to face every stage of the birth process with a focused and relaxed mind.
If you are considering prenatal yoga, one of the most important things to remember is, “never start anything on your own”. Always get an expert or professional yoga teacher to guide you. Consult with your doctor and get a complete report of your pregnancy and your physical as well as biological conditions. A well-trained yoga teacher will be able to chart a plan according to your medical report. Follow what he suggests and never try anything out of the schedule. Without proper guidance and direction, yoga in pregnancy can do more harm than good.
For each stage of pregnancy there are different poses or asanas recommended by the experts. Not all poses are good for pregnant women. Special prenatal yoga poses, that suit the body at each stage, have to be practiced for the desired effect. Standing poses are the best during the first trimester as these can help reduce cramps, strengthen the legs, and improve circulation. Meditation and breathing techniques are best advised for the second and third trimesters. Never overstretch or overstrain the body while doing the poses. If you feel fatigue during any of the poses, immediately stop doing it. The general rule for yoga is pregnancy is, you should feel comfortable while doing them and feel relaxed after the session. Never rush through any of the poses and take sufficient time to rest between the poses.
Breathing techniques are perhaps the most crucial element of prenatal yoga. As the pregnant woman learns to breathe deeply, she is preparing herself for the physical efforts she has to take during childbirth. Breathing deeply is vital during labor and delivery as this can help in handling contractions and pain. Yoga provides the best support during these times.
Here is a list of the best prenatal yoga poses for pregnant women. Remember that you should never try them without an instructor who is well versed with prenatal yoga.
- Ujjayi breathing
- Cat pose
- Parvatasana or Mountain pose
- Shoulder lifts
- Neck exercises
- Konasana or Angle pose
- Butterfly stretch
- Side angle poses
There are more poses that can be practiced during pregnancy. Each woman may need a different pose or modification of a pose as per her requirements. That is the reason, it is recommended to start under a trained practitioner of prenatal yoga.
Even the dads-to-be can join their partners in yoga by providing the physical support required in certain poses. It can also be a bonding time for the parents-to-be as they prepare to bring a new life into their world.