Archive for category Pregnancy Yoga
To most people, yoga is not an unfamiliar word. We have an idea of yoga and the benefits it offers. But, till the time one tries it out himself, he might not know what exactly he achieves besides the visible results. Yoga has the power to change your attitude towards life by providing you the physical and the mental strength.
There are many styles and methods of yoga, and one of them is Bikram yoga which has become quite popular in the past recent years. This variation of yoga is also referred to as ‘hot yoga’ as this is performed in hot rooms to maximize the benefits of the exercises. Bikram yoga also aims at strengthening you from within and outside both. It aims at developing body flexibility and balance, which are the two major components of this form of yoga. Bikram yoga has its roots in Hatha yoga, which has got healing power to strengthen you physically and mentally both.
Bikram yoga was introduced by a yoga practitioner named Bikram Choudhary. He was a weight lifter who met with an accident during practice session. He determined himself to recover from the injury, and started practicing certain exercises. In the bargain, a new form of yoga, called Bikram yoga was discovered, which has tremendous healing power. There are many people who follow this form of yoga regularly, and there are people also who perform Bikram yoga for healing purpose due to its holistic approach.
The main aim to success with this form of yoga is to attain the inner or the mental strength which is required in performing it. Once you have mastered this part of it, the physical strength will develop automatically.
The benefits of Bikram yoga have been proven by many practitioners and even scientists all over the world. The medical benefits are sure to come, as this has power to cure chronic ailments and enhance the recovery procedure. During the 1972 International Medical Conference, the records and findings were presented and the healing ability of Bikram yoga for internal tissue injuries was proven and accepted.
It consists of 26 exercises and following a given regime. All the exercises and postures are focused on the movements of the body organs, muscles, glands and nerves. The recommended exercises are supposed to be performed one after the other in a sequence, as they are related to each other.
For those, wanting to gain mental and physical energy, Bikram yoga, performed in a hot room, is a great option. The energy you gain through this will make you look and also feel much younger than your age. This is because it generates energy in your body and improves blood circulation. Since these exercises are done in a hot room, you sweat more and the body toxins are eliminated at the maximum. This works as a detoxification method. The result of this is a clearer and glowing skin, a fit body and a relaxed mind.
Since Bikram yoga exercises are strenuous, it is good to consult your doctor before starting if you have some health problems. These exercises are also not recommended for pregnant women.
Yoga unites one’s spirit, mind and body and pregnancy does not have to be an impediment if you practice yoga regularly. In fact, pregnancy can be a time when yoga poses can work wonders for you as well as your body.
When it comes to practicing yoga poses for pregnant women during the first trimester, some yoga teachers would say that it is fine while some others would be strongly against it. So what should one do? Ideally, one’s feeling about this should be somewhere in the middle – while it is not harmful to practice yoga during the first trimester but being cautious of the poses which can do more damage during pregnancy is equally imperative.
Modifying yoga poses for pregnant women during the first trimester may not seem to be a very important task for a lot of people because they hardly see any visible physical changes. But the truth is that during this time the body is undergoing tremendous internal modifications and hence it would be good if one helps the body by practicing the right yoga poses.
Some of the ‘dos’ for prenatal yoga poses are -
- Standing poses such as Utthita Parsvakonasana or Extended side angle pose, Uttihita Trikonasana or Extended triangle pose or even the Warrior I-III poses are recommended for pregnant women in their first trimester.
- They can also practice balance poses such as the Eagle pose (Garudasana) and the Tree Pose (Vrksasana).
- Hip opener poses such as Bound Angle Pose or Baddha Konasan and Upavistha Konasan or Wide-angle seated forward bend can be practiced but one must not go overboard with these poses.
‘Don’ts’ during this time are -
- Poses which require the belly down positions and supporting the weight aren’t recommended.
- As long as the person is distributing the weight of the body equally to the legs and the legs are used actively, it is fine.
Therefore Bhujangasana or the Cobra pose is fine but poses like Salambhasana or Locust pose and Danurasana or bow pose should be avoided at all costs because they put pressure directly on the uterus.
Yoga positions for pregnant women that induce twists, focus on the upper back and are above the bra strap line are fine but poses which induces deep belly twists are a strict no-no even though they may work wonders for non-pregnant women. This is because for pregnant women in their first trimester, it can cause serious damage to the uterus even though its size may not be that big.
Asanas which call for deep back bends are a no-no too because they can over-stretch one’s abdominal muscles and compress one’s uterus. The same goes for poses which have jerky movements or jumps as these have the potential of disturbing the implantation of the baby. Strengthening your abdomen area with the help of yoga poses is not something that you should try out during your first trimester or during the entire prenatal period.
The path towards motherhood requires a lot of patience and at times it may be best for you to stay away from certain yoga poses, therefore don’t push yourself too hard and stick to the guidelines.
The term ‘yoga’ is a Sanskrit word meaning union and due to its nature it is used to denote the union of mind, body and spirit wherein physical postures referred to as asanas are performed for the attainment of mental calm and peace. Being one of the oldest physical disciplines which originated in India centuries ago, yoga entails the practice of physical exercise along with meditation and breathing to provide complete flexibility to the entire body including the internal organs finally culminating in self enlightenment and self awareness. Therefore, pregnancy yoga is not only meant for physically helping the expecting mother to cope with the changes in her body but also for accomplishing aplomb while going through this crucial phase.
In order to begin yoga for pregnancy, the expecting mother first needs to devote some time to conduct research as regards the type of yoga which would be most suitable for her in terms of her existing physical state as well as her mental state of mind. Generally beginners are recommended to commence their yoga pregnancy training through hatha yoga or vinyasa yoga both of which are slow and basic styles and therefore apt for beginners and well as pregnant women. Apart from these two, there are other styles as well but since they entail more complex asanas and poses, they should best be avoided till a later stage.
The next step is to find a yoga pregnancy class in the area which suits one’s individual requirements and one of the best ways to do this would be to scour the local newspapers and wellness magazines which would contain the relevant listings. Yoga classes are generally conducted at home or in a studio but there are times when such classes are conducted in the local gymnasium as well.
Yoga for pregnant women begins on the first day when the expecting mother arrives at the venue in an appropriate attire of breathable clothing, a yoga mat of her own and having consumed fluids in appropriate quantity. The first day is basically an introduction to the course and is a good time to determine one’s position with respect to the other members of the class in terms of space and alignment. Most of the yoga classes commence with the recitation of ‘Om’ followed by breathing exercises and a short spell of meditation. Since the class is meant for pregnant women this is followed by warm up poses and relaxed stretches and the class comes to an end with ‘Om’ once again.
It is but natural for the expecting mother to feel a bit sore after the class but this need not be a cause of concern since much of the soreness dissipates over a period of time. Yoga pregnancy is for you.
A healthy pregnancy followed by a safe delivery is a dream-come-true for every woman and it is with the intention of accomplishing this objective that women put their explicit faith in the combination of yoga and pregnancy. While pregnancy has been the forte of women-kind of every species ever since the inception of life on Earth, yoga is an ancient form of exercise which was devised centuries ago by yogis as a way to lead a life which is healthy in all aspects, mental, physical and spiritual. Therefore, the combination of both in the following epochs has been aptly termed as yoga for pregnant women since it entails the practice of only those yoga asanas which contribute significantly towards a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery.
Since pregnancy is a state which prohibits rigorous physical exercise for the safety of the unborn infant, yoga for pregnant women entails the practice of selected asanas which are meant for promoting good health without causing any hindrance to the smooth progress of pregnancy. While some of these asanas involve sitting postures and can be performed even during the leisure time while watching television, some others require deep concentration and hence one needs to set aside some time during the day for practice.
One of the sitting asanas which is incorporated in the schedule of yoga for pregnant women is Padmasana, also known as the classic lotus pose in which the woman is required to sit by crossing both legs and placing the ankles on the opposite thighs. While performing this asana, the practitioner’s back should be straight and hands should be out-stretched in front and placed on both knees without being bent at the elbows. Another yoga asana which entails a sitting pose is the Vajrasana in which the legs are bent at the knees and placed under the practitioner who then sits on the heels through the duration of the asana. Although these two asanas have their respective significance and importance, it is the Titali asana or the butterfly pose which is one of the most beneficial poses during pregnancy since its performance right from the first trimester is known the ease childbirth to a great extent.
Some of the other asanas which are included in the schedule of yoga for pregnant women are Utthanasan or squats and the Marjari asana or the cat stretch pose. While the former requires the practitioner to squat by both heels facing inwards, toes facing outwards and hands hanging down in front the latter entails going down on all fours and following an inhalation and exhalation routine alternatively at least six times. Likewise, the benefit of Utthanasana can be realized through can be realized in form of short labor and extremely quick delivery and the benefit of Marjari asana can be realized in form of the internal toning of the reproductive system.
Pregnancy Yoga is sought by many pregnant women as an option for ensuring a safe and comfortable delivery and the popularity of this concept can be adjudged by the fact that nowadays there are many programs which specifically advertise as teaching yoga for pregnant women. There was a time in the past when pregnancy and exercise were considered as being ideal partners which went hand in hand for a hassle free delivery but this was soon replaced by the concept of yoga and pregnancy during the later years when people started having more faith in the healing power of yoga.
The superiority of yoga as compared to exercise during pregnancy was also established due to the fact that there were times when the performance of strenuous exercise caused severe complications during pregnancy while women who practiced yoga always had a more peaceful tenure. But a noteworthy point which must be kept in mind in this regard is that yoga for pregnant women is a specialized stream which would prove to be beneficial only when learned and performed under the able guidance of an expert. Since pregnancy entails the gradual swelling of abdomen as it advances, it is only an expert of this branch who would be aware of the modified poses constituting yoga for pregnant women in which the growing abdomen is well accommodated.
The mantra of yoga and pregnancy is a gentle way in which the body can be kept active as well as supple without bearing too much strain which might have a disastrous consequence on one’s pregnancy. Apart from enabling the practitioner to stretch gently and indulge in self exploration, yoga for pregnant women has the following benefits:
- Yogic breathing and pranayam helps to overcome nausea as well as morning and evening sickness to a considerable extent which in turn prevents frequent mood swings from taking place.
- Having performed yoga throughout the three trimesters under the guidance of an expert, the woman can feel the benefit in form of muscular relaxation in the cervix and birth canal thus causing the pelvis to dilate and making the process of labor easier.
- Yoga for pregnant women greatly enhances the level of energy in women which in turn enables them to remain calm and focus on the daily activities.
- Yoga during the third trimester plays an instrumental role in relieving fluid retention and reducing the occurrence of cramps thus making this crucial phase much more comfortable than it otherwise would have been.
Women not only accrue benefits from pregnancy yoga but after delivery as well as practicing yoga during the post natal phase helps to restore the original shape of the body and reduces breast discomfort as well.