During my last pregnancy, I attended prenatal yoga classes at Yoga Village in Safety Harbor and I was really happy that I did. I got more out of it than expected. Here are some reasons to consider prenatal yoga.
1. Relief from common pregnancy discomforts.
As your body transforms, more weight and stress is put on various areas, including your lower back, hips, upper back, neck, shoulders and chest. The postures in prenatal yoga are specifically designed to reduce tension and help decompress these hot spots in your body. You may find that whatever is ailing you during pregnancy will be much improved with prenatal yoga.
2. Physical preparation for labor.
Prenatal yoga focuses on poses that help increase strength, flexibility and endurance – all of which are things you need during pregnancy and especially labor. You will work on toning your pelvic floor, hips and abdominal area. As your belly grows, your hips become tighter. Yoga poses help to keep your hips open.
3. Mental preparation for labor.
A major part of yoga is practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is a state of being actively attentive to the present, living in the moment and observing your thoughts without judging them. Through the yoga relaxation practices, you may notice yourself moving away from anxiety and stress. Prenatal yoga can address and reduce any fear you may have about the labor process. Using positive affirmations, you may be guided let go of apprehension and trust your body.
4. Learn and practice breathing techniques.
As part of being mindful, you will focus on your breath and deep breathing during yoga. This is wonderful practice for coping through labor or any tense experience. Putting attention on breathing is a primary way that we move through each moment in labor.
5. Connect with your baby.
One of my favorite aspects of prenatal yoga was how much it enabled me to bond with my baby. Sometimes in pregnancy we feel disconnected from our bodies and our babies. Yoga turns your attention onto you, helps you tune into the needs of your body and connect with your baby. When you are taking time for self-care and feeling relaxed and comfortable, your baby will feel this too.
6. Build a support network.
A yoga class with other expecting mothers gives you an opportunity to make friends and meet new people. It’s helpful to have pregnant friends in your life that you can share with and lean on for support while going through this life changing experience.
Find a prenatal class taught by a certified prenatal yoga instructor who is familiar with the limitations required for expecting mothers. When in doubt, check with your doctor or midwife before taking a class to find out if it is safe for you. Another option is to use a DVD or even youtube for yoga you can do at home. Take it slow, listen to your body and enjoy!