You’re expecting?! Congratulations! You must be – excited, scared, happy, and overwhelmed – all at the same time. It’s difficult to put your finger on just what you’re feeling, isn’t it? The kicks are delightful, but the cramps are debilitating. You might be glowing with enthusiasm one moment and overcome with emotion the next. Nothing quite explains the feeling of having a life growing inside you. You may also experience a fair share of mood swings; courtesy of hormonal changes. This is precisely why yoga can be a godsend for you during pregnancy.
How yoga helps during pregnancy
Yoga provides holistic health benefits for to-be-mothers:
- Yoga asanas help keep the body supple. They relieve tension around the cervix by opening up the pelvic region. This prepares to-be-mothers for labor and delivery.
- Yoga and pranayamas can train you to breathe deeply and relax consciously, helping you face the demands of labor and childbirth.
- Yoga helps alleviate the effect of common symptoms such as morning sickness, painful leg cramps, swollen ankles, and constipation.
- Yoga asanas also help pregnant women recover faster post-delivery.
Yoga poses for women during pregnancy
Exercising during pregnancy is essential. The following pregnancy yoga poses zero in on the challenges that expecting mothers face – a shifted center of gravity and lower back pain.
- Stretches the neck and shoulders, alleviating stiffness.
- Keeps the spine flexible. This is useful because the back has to support more weight as the pregnancy advances.
- Tones the abdominal region.
- Improves blood circulation, ensuring that the reproductive organs are well nourished.
- Keeps the spine flexible.
- Exercises and stretches the sides of the body.
- Helps alleviate constipation, a common symptom of pregnancy.
- Stretches and tones the arms, legs and abdominal organs.
- Stretches and exercises the spine.
- Improves balance in the body.
- Tones the arms, legs and lower back.
- Increases stamina.
- Maintains physical and mental balance. Especially useful for pregnant women since their center of gravity shifts.
- Stretches and opens the hips which can be a big help during delivery.
- Reduces back pain and stress.
- Improves flexibility in the hip and groin region.
- Stretches the thighs and knees, relieving pain.
- Alleviates fatigue.
- Helps facilitate smooth delivery when practiced until late pregnancy.
Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall Pose)
- Relieves backache.
- Improves the flow of blood to the pelvic region.
- Eases swollen ankles and varicose veins - a common symptom of pregnancy.
- Relaxes the body and repairs cells. This helps self-healing which is vital, as pregnant women should avoid taking pills.
- Relieves stress.
- Reduces tension and anxiety.
- Helps regulate blood pressure.
- Deeply relaxes every cell in the body.
Pranayamas or breathing exercises during pregnancy
Pranayamas release negative emotions like anger and frustration. They also help release stress, thus, keeping the mind calm and composed.
- Calms and relaxes the mind.
- Maintains body temperature.
- Enhances oxygen supply which helps with the baby’s growth.
After practicing these yoga moves and pranayamas, follow up with a session of meditation. It will help you relax deeply.
Yoga precautions for pregnant women
- During the advanced stages of pregnancy, avoid yoga asanas that put pressure on the abdomen.
- For the first trimester of pregnancy, do standing yoga poses. This will help strengthen the legs and enhance circulation. It can even reduce leg cramps.
- During the second and third trimester, reduce the time spent holding asanas to prevent fatigue. Substitute with breathing exercises and meditation.
- Avoid practicing yoga from the 10th to the 14th week of pregnancy since these are crucial times.
- Avoid doing inversion poses.
- Listen to your body and do as much as you can without undue effort.
Yoga poses to avoid during pregnancy
- Naukasana (Boat Pose)
- Chakrasana (Wheel Pose)
- Ardha Matsyendrasana (Sitting Half Spinal Twist)
- Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
- Viparita Shalabhasana (Superman Pose)
- Halasana (Plow Pose)
It is advisable to consult a doctor before taking up any yoga schedule during pregnancy. Learn and practice yoga postures under the supervision of a trained yoga teacher.
Practicing Yoga helps develop the body and mind, yet is not a substitute for medicine. It is essential to learn and practice yoga under the supervision of a trained Yoga teacher. In case of any medical condition, practice yoga only after consulting your doctor and a Sri Sri Yoga teacher.
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