For pregnant women, prenatal yoga is an excellent way to stay in shape and prepare for the rigours of both pregnancy and childbirth.
Prenatal yoga begins by focusing on the breathing, allowing women to learn to relax. Simple breathing techniques, such as the three-part yogic breath, are taught.
This involves beginning breathing in the abdomen, filling the tops of the lungs, then slowly exhaling to rid the body of tension.
The benefits of prenatal yoga include:
Teaching you how to breathe properly and relax
- Toning muscles
- Increasing muscle strength and tone
- Improving circulation
- Low impact
- Meeting other pregnant women
- Learning breathing techniques you can use in labour
The stretching and strengthening work is of great preparation for labour, with some specific exercises such as the Cobbler and the Spinal Twist relevant to all three trimesters of pregnancy.
Other positions can help to alleviate the discomforts caused by pregnancy, including:
- Sciatic pain
- Round ligament pain
- Morning sickness
There are, however, some exercises which are contraindicated, so it is crucial that you study with someone who is trained in this specific application.
The breathing and relaxation techniques that you will learn are exactly the same as those popularized by renowned physician Dr. Lamaze - he took them straight from the teachings of guru BKS Iyengar.
For a combination of improved strength, flexibility, relaxation, inner peace, and breath awareness, this is an activity that all pregnant women should consider.