I’ve got to say I have had an unusually easy pregnancy, no morning sickness, only one leg cramp so far and no weird cravings. I made a commitment to myself to really enjoy every step of this pregnancy and I have.
But one of the most enjoyable parts has been my prenatal yoga class. I love the studio (Free Spirit Yoga in Long Beach, CA) and my instructor Lonne. Lonne has experienced pregnancy first hand so every position we do serves a purpose and she can always explain how it will help you through labor. In addition to being a mom, and yoga instructor she is also a doula! You can’t be more qualified than that to teach a prenatal yoga class!
I look forward to my classes every Tuesday and Saturday as if it were my mini-vacation. I swear the second I enter that studio, THE CALM takes over me and I get in my yoga zone. Not only is the exercise great for my body and for keeping me in shape, but I feel so good mentally when I leave… it’s helping me stay calm and positive about all aspects of my pregnancy.
I found this site with all the benefits of prenatal yoga listed below…. http://www.expectantmothersguide.com/library/philadelphia/yoga.htm
Help During Pregnancy…
Increases overall strength, flexibility & well-being — When you practice yoga, you are not only stretching your muscles, you are stretching the tissues that encase your muscles, stimulating your organ systems, promoting the circulation of blood and oxygen, breathing more intentionally, and focusing your attention inward through imagery and meditation. The combined effect is intended to be one that promotes a heightened state of physical and emotional well-being.
Reduces low back pain & sciatica — As you become acutely aware of proper body alignment, you can carry yourself and your belly in an integrated manner. This can help to reduce the degree of pelvic tilt associated with pregnancy and significantly reduce the lower back pain which it can cause. Additionally, there are specific yoga poses which stretch the muscles and tissues associated with the lower back, hips, and hamstrings. Your instructor should make these poses a part of each class.
Reduces aches & fatigue in the thoracic & cervical regions of the spine — During pregnancy, it can be difficult to find a space for yourself when trying to sleep. As a result, spinal alignment can become compromised. Certain yoga poses create more fluidity in the spine by stretching the Para spinal muscles.
Reduces swelling & inflammation around your joints — A regular and consistent asana practice improves and promotes the circulation of blood and oxygen throughout your body. This, in turn, can reduce swelling and inflammation around ankles and wrists.
Aids in digestion — As baby grows, your intestinal organs get pushed around, which may affect your regularity and cause indigestion. Safe and gentle rotations and forward folds can help to promote regularity and aid in overall digestive flow.
Helps prepare you physically for giving birth — A regular practice of squatting asana helps to tone muscles of your pelvic floor and helps you gain strength to remain comfortable in a squatting position. This is an integral part of any yoga program as it helps to familiarize you with these very useful muscles. Even if you choose not to squat during labor, you will want to be able to use these muscles efficiently and effectively when nature calls upon you to push your baby into the world.
Improves emotional well-being — Participating in a group prenatal class provides a community of support from new friends who understand what you are experiencing. Some programs may even include discussions about pregnancy-related topics such as doulas, nursing, and birth plans.
Help During Labor…
Regardless of whether you are looking forward to a drug assisted birth or planning for a natural delivery, regular participation in a prenatal yoga program can reduce labor-associated anxiety by helping you tap into your own labor tools.
Soothe & empower yourself by finding your own inner rhythm — You can learn to breathe in a way that is relaxing and natural, rather than contrived or awkward. When you consistently practice moving your body in a rhythmic fashion in unison with your breath, you carry with you a powerful relaxation and pain management tool.
Facilitate the labor process — Through yoga, you can learn how to identify when you are holding to tension in your body. A body that is tense is not going to facilitate the birth process as easily as one that is relaxed. Moreover, when the body is tense, you may experience tension in thought and a withholding of breath.
Improve your physical comfort — If you are hoping for a natural birth, it can be helpful to have an idea of how you can position your body to help you during contractions and during relaxation. Many yoga poses can translate wonderfully into comfortable laboring positions.
Learn to use the tools of meditation & visual imagery — When it comes time to ride through the most powerful of contractions, visual imagery combined with breath work can be one of the most useful labor tools.
Become familiar with the concept of vocalization — Labor is no time to be shy. It is the rare woman who births naturally and does not make a lot of noise in the process. If your yoga class includes chanting, you have an opportunity to become comfortable with the inherent power of vocalization. After all, “Om” is the birth sound!
Use the muscles of your pelvic floor effectively — The weeks of squatting were not done in vain! Squatting combined with a kegel-like movement during pregnancy really can help your labor in two ways. If you receive an epidural, you may lose sensation in your pelvic floor which can make pushing your baby out a bit of a guessing game. If you are used to working with these muscles, you will find it easier to use them even if you cannot feel them. Alternatively, if you are opting for a natural birth, you will want these muscles to work quickly and effectively when it comes time to push.
In addition to the actual yoga we do in the class, Lonne gives us all what she calls a “Water/Potty Break.” I can not tell you how this break comes in handy for all of us. Plus it gives us all a chance to gather around the water cooler and share stories, experiences, advice and ask questions of women who are all going through the same crazy ride as you are. I’ve learned more from my fellow yogis then from any book I’ve read. So, for all of you pregnant women out there, go to yoga, trust me you’ll love it! NAMASTE…