Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in ancient India aiming to join the mind, body and spirit. The word has originated from Sanskrit word “yoj” which highlights that the ultimate aim of yoga is to achieve liberation of the self and union with the universal soul through meditation, concentration, postures and controlled breathing. Pregnancy is a time with lot of mixed emotions ranging in a wide spectrum both physically, mentally and spiritually. Yoga has an overall holistic approach towards the individual and has many benefits at any stage of life including pregnancy.
Advantages of including Yoga in Pregnancy:
- Stress levels- However smooth or uncomplicated may your pregnancy be, you may still you stress during this period. So yoga with breathing techniques makes you stress free. Mindful-yoga which combines poses with meditation process can bring about relief from depression and emotional turmoil.It provides oxygen to the body, calms the mind and has a soothing effect on the baby.
- Balance- Because of extreme hormonal changes in the body, your entire being is changed. Yoga and guided meditation you can achieve your physical and emotional balance back. It teaches you to stay calm and handle each situation of life in a balanced manner.
- Deep breathing- It has relaxation properties, your sleep and immunity is better. You can prepare for vaginal delivery with deep breathing techniques.
- Ensures circulation in the body.
- Baby- It gets lots of oxygen – As you get aware of your body and the baby inside, you feel connected to the baby. Outcome of baby is better
- Increased chances of natural birth– Overall pregnancy is healthier. Your mind and body is better prepared for labour and delivery as you are able to breathe better, endure pain better and are in connect with the baby. You are not full of fear and apprehension rather have a favourable mindset with positive and proactive approach
- Post Delivery– It helps you get back to shape easily. You can start yoga after 6 weeks and strengthen your body and pelvic muscles.
- Digestion is better – You get relieved of indigestion, constipation, gas and bloating
- Post partum depression is less – It releases “feel good” hormones that create feeling of well being, happiness and fulfilment. With structured inhalation and exhalation you can let go of unnecessary apprehension and learn qualities such as courage, patience, determination and relaxation in a natural way. You gain confidence, control and connect with your body so that you do not worry unnecessarily and relax in midst of various problems.
Other benefits of practising Yoga during Pregnancy:
- Increased strength, flexibility and endurance
- Improved posture
- Relieves tension in lower back, hips, chest, neck and shoulders. As your lower abdominal and pelvic muscles gain strength, you can push better
- Reduced nausea and vomiting
- Reduced headache
- Decreased risk of preterm delivery and growth problems in baby
- Good lung capacity
- Reduced diabetes and hypertension in mothers
- Takes care of mood swings, leg cramps, fatigue
Why should you add Yoga to your Prenatal Care?
It is a complete program to burn calories, enhance flexibility, improve muscle strength and soothe your mind. You meet other like minded people and connect with other women which helps you bond and find new friends. But you should take care that the class is authentic with a certified yoga instructor. It should be done according to your stamina for 30-40 minutes and you should not push yourself. All poses are not safe and you should only do the exercise which is suitable for pregnant women. Any form of extreme temperature is not safe. Any pose which requires you to lie flat on back or creates any pain or discomfort in body is not advisable.
So the bottom line is that listen to your body while practicing yoga. Any good thing if not done correctly or if done too little or too much is harmful. So take benefits of this ancient art and science under guidance which may help you, your baby and family in the most amazing manner.