An introduction to Pregnancy Yoga
Today we have a guest blog from one of our lovely local pregnancy yoga teachers.
“Pregnancy is a time when many women seek to ensure they are looking after their bodies properly. Eating the right foods and keeping healthy. As part of this, some women – who may or may not have done yoga before – may decide to take up pregnancy yoga.
During pregnancy your body produces increased levels of the hormone relaxin. This means ligaments & joints soften. So exercise that was suitable prior to pregnancy may need to be adapted to meet the changing needs of your pregnancy. For example, strong yoga postures and stretches that put pressure on the joints are therefore unsuitable at this time. Also abdominal muscles shouldn’t be worked during pregnancy; only some rotations are suitable and you should be careful not to overheat.
In yoga for pregnancy, movements are very flowing and soft. We focus on keeping the ever-changing body comfortable. Helping women to manage and ward off specific pregnancy niggles such as back ache, swelling & indigestion. Focus is placed on working and strengthening the pelvic floor. A specialist pregnancy yoga teacher is able to adapt the classes and meet the needs of all pregnant women and therefore classes are ideal for ladies with SPD/PGD.
For many, pregnancy is a wondrous time full of anticipation & excitement. But for others it is a time of anxiety & worry. Often the journey to become pregnant is not a straightforward road. Past events can make it hard to relax and enjoy nurturing a new life inside. Or if students have previously had a difficult pregnancy, or labour, then this experience is carried through into the current pregnancy.
My pregnancy yoga classes provide ladies with a supportive environment in which they can share any fears or worries, as well as their excitement and joy. It can help people to relax and remain worry-free by seeing that their feelings and experiences are shared by others.
Pranayama (breathing techniques) and mantras (affirmations) help women gain control of their emotions and find their inner calmness & strength.
Yoga for pregnancy classes often include a strong element of birth preparation. Explaining active birthing principles to students and providing a yoga toolkit to help them work with in their labour, whether it is a vaginal or caesarean delivery. Women need to be confident in their own ability to birth their baby. Stress and anxiety during labour can slow labour down and increase the chances of a woman having interventions either pharmacological or physical. Yoga can be a wonderful tool for helping to keep a mum-to-be calm and focused on tuning in and listening to her own body. Students of yoga for pregnancy often attend formal antenatal classes as well.
Friendships and Postnatal yoga
Many of my students remain friends after their babies are born. These mutually supportive friendships take the core values of yoga and extend them beyond the classes.
Additionally, many of my students fall in love with yoga during their pregnancy and are keen to continue their practice after their baby’s birth. My postnatal yoga students love the fact that they can exercise with their baby present and include them as we work with the postures.
If exercising whilst pregnant, you are advised to ensure your teacher is an exercise professional who has undergone a recognised specialist training in this area and is qualified and insured to teach pregnant clients. They should also seek medical advice before commencing new forms of exercise.”
Janine Rusby is a mum of three energetic girls. She runs Yoga Wellbeing which specialises in pregnancy and postnatal & baby yoga in the heart of Worcestershire.