Posts Tagged yoga
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 learnt 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 yoga during their pregnancy 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.
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.
Having its roots firmly established in the ancient mystical Indian culture, yoga is one of the oldest forms of exercise which teaches its practitioner to make optimum use of a combination of movement, breath, posture, relaxation and meditation as a recipe for leading a healthy, balanced and stable life. It is owing to these reasons that even pregnant women are recommended to practice yoga so that they are able to make good use of the yogic principles during what may turn out to be one of the most decisive phases of their lives.
The decision to learn yoga leads an individual to enroll for classes which teach beginner’s yoga for pregnant women since many of the fresh students belong to a category who are going to attempt yoga for the first time in their lives. In such a situation, it is imperative for the individual to be cognizant of certain guidelines which are applicable to beginner’s yoga for pregnant women and hence should be adhered to with sincerity. Some of these guidelines are listed as follows:
- Morning is the most appropriate time for practicing yoga because it is the time of the day when the practitioner is fresh, calm and composed and hence is able to perform the various body movements with ease and vigor. This is the reason as to why most of the yoga classes are held in the morning and the practitioners told to attend without having consumed a heavy meal.
- Beginner’s yoga for pregnant women may be usually learnt in classes or at home but irrespective of the medium of learning the practitioner must ensure that the chosen venue must fulfill the requisites of being calm, quite, well ventilated and free of dust and distractions.
- While attending regular classes with the intention of learning beginner’s yoga for pregnant women, one must clear one’s bowels, nostrils and throat and consume a glass of lukewarm water every time prior to attending a yoga class.
- The progress curve of learning should be methodical and systematic wherein one commences the learning process with easy and relaxed stretches and then gradually proceed to more complicated asanas.
- An important point which needs to be kept in mind is that beginner’s yoga for pregnant women is undertaken with the intention of feeling energized and calm and hence the slightest sign of fatigue, weariness and depression should be taken as an indication for discontinuing the course immediately.
- The breathing accompanying the yoga should be long and deep and most of the inhalation and exhalation should be carried out through the nose and not through the mouth unless specifically mentioned.
- Every class of beginner’s yoga for pregnant women should be interspersed with a number of breaks particularly after a strenuous exercise schedule so that then entire session is relaxed and comfortable.
- Beginner’s yoga for pregnant women should always be accompanied by a balanced diet but over eating and eating stale food during this phase should be steadfastly avoided.
- Every yoga session must be commenced with a proper warming up session for a few minutes subsequently followed by yogic asanas.
- Any such program must be undertaken with confidence only if the practitioner nurses an urge and willingness to undertake it and not by being forced into it by someone.
Bikram yoga is one of the many types of yoga which is based on the usage of heat and humidity to make 26 postures promoting flexibility and muscular strength. The credit of having devised this form of yoga lies with an Indian guru named Bikram Choudury who in turn studied it from a great Indian yogic named Bishnu Ghosh. True to is synonym of heat yoga, the 26 asanas which constitute this form of yoga are performed twice in a room whose temperature lies between 95-105 degrees centigrade. This is one of the reasons as to why this form of yoga is not recommended for pregnant women as performing yoga in such high temperatures is only likely to bring physical as well as mental discomfort to the expecting mother.
Still in its nascent stages as compared to the other more prevalent forms of yoga, Bikram yoga is fast gaining popularity all over the world because its yoga asanas which entail standing poses, backward bends, forward bends and twists are known to be extremely beneficial to one’s lymphatic, nervous and endocrine systems. However, since these postures cause the practitioner to stretch in all directions and entail twisting of muscles, they should not be included in yoga for pregnant women since attempts at achieving these postures might cause the abdominal muscles to over stretch, harming the unborn baby in the process.
The reason as to why Bikram yoga is performed in a heated room is because heat is known to promote flexibility and therefore, even though the high temperatures might pose a challenge for some people regular practice leads to the accomplishment of a deeper level of physical atonement. In this way, the muscles, joints and ligaments are strengthened and stretched and subsequently accrue a number of benefits to the practitioner. On the other hand, pregnancy itself is known to raise the body temperature to an uncomfortable level due to which almost all expecting mothers try their hand at various remedies which would cool them down. Under such circumstances, practicing Bikram yoga would be grossly inadvisable and even though it has a number of physical benefits, may be its practice could be undertaken by the woman at a later stage in life after her pregnancy is over.
There are two basic fundamentals which are associated with pregnancy namely the expansion of the body and its hormonal changes and secondly the responsibility of the tiny life growing within the woman. This apart from the belief in the philosophy that everything in life occurs at its designated time, it is far more advisable for the expecting mother to be stretching herself in a relaxed manner in a calm, quite and cool environment when she can not only enjoy her movements but her baby’s movements as well.
This is a little prenatal yoga DVD review from the website that sells this DVD. Now I did not see the DVD but if YOU did please let us know and leave a comment at the bottom of this review so other pregnant women can benefit of it.
I always enjoy watching prenatal yoga DVDs as it makes me relax and feel good about my body so I do encourage you get a prenatal yoga DVD as it also is a great way of learning yoga and what you can not do when you are pregnant.
The women who bought this prenatal yoga DVD had the following to say:
The things I found most useful were
- Reference to baby throughout the practice this is something some prenatal instructors fail to bring forward very well. This is the beauty of having a prenatal yoga class just for moms- To really honor the baby throughout the practice. For example, even saying lift the baby was so pertinent to a woman who may not even know how to use her abs by the 3rd trimester. But lifting the baby may make more sense.
- Easy to follow particularly with the set up of the mats and movement to face the tv. There is nothing worse than a good content dvd but difficult to follow because it was made for people actually watching and doing the practice.
- The little option box off to the side for some poses was really useful (using the chair, strap, etc.)
- The sequencing was perfect and I liked that you went back to the beginning poses at the end.
- The most important aspect was the why we do these poses that you integrated at the beginningend of each section and throughout the poses. It really helps women understand why their hips need to be flexible or legs strong.
- I liked that you showed how to transition to the floor from seated to lying down (using arms). Some women really dont know how to do this. Same with the pelvic floor exercises great to integrate these throughout.
- Finally, I teared right up with the thank yous at the end with your families. Such a nice sweet blessing to share.
There are some more reviews on the website go here to read them all prenatal yoga DVD
Yoga can help you deal with any mental and emotional stress you may experience during pregnancy and childbirth. Yoga can teach you to focus and concentrate, which can help you through the course of your pregnancy as well as during labor.
Yoga can also help you deal with mood swings, as well as anxiety and fear about childbirth. By heightening your awareness of your body, yoga can increase the confidence you have in your body’s ability to give birth. You may also find that you can discover a deeper connection with your unborn baby through meditation.
Yoga can ease many physical problems involved in pregnancy. For example, performing yoga poses can help relieve fatigue, nausea, heartburn, leg cramps and varicose veins. Practicing yoga also helps you maintain good posture throughout your pregnancy, which can help alleviate backache. Through practicing yoga, you can learn breathing and relaxation techniques that you can use during labor to help you cope with any pain you experience.
A normal pregnancy which lasts all through its stipulated period of nine months consists of three trimesters of three months each with the initial three months being designated as the first trimester and the last and final three months being the third trimester. Therefore, yoga for pregnant women is also designed in such a way that it caters to the unique requirements of each individual trimester so that the practitioner does not experience either physical or mental discomfort of any sort.
The first trimester commences when the woman conceives and is the most delicate phase since the pregnancy is in its initial stages. Since the first three months are particularly crucial, more so for women who have a history of complications or who have conceived late, the yoga for pregnant women at this stage should consist only of gentle preparatory poses many of which entail stretching in a relaxed manner. For the combination of yoga and pregnancy to be successful throughout till the end of delivery, it is imperative that the yogic asanas performed during the first three months should not be rigorous and are only meant for toning the body in preparation for the next phase.
Having undergone the beginner’s yoga during the first trimester, the woman during the second trimester is in a better shape mentally as well as physically since she is now familiar with the yoga for pregnant women. Since it is during the second trimester that the abdomen begins to grow, extreme stretches and lying on the back must be completely avoided because while the former may inadvertently put pressure on the uterus the latter may cause back pain to the practitioner. Some of the recommended poses during this trimester are the modified child pose and the flying fish pose both of which must be attempted.
The third trimester is the most important phase in terms of yoga and pregnancy as it entails preparation for the final delivery in the safest and most comfortable manner. In this regard, extreme back-bends and forward bends are completely omitted and are replaced instead by squatting postures or the Titali asana, the practice of which is known to ease the delivery.
Further guidelines prohibit the practitioner from indulging in hyperventilation and breath retention practices although focused inhalations and exhalations as a part of pranayam must be mastered under guidance. This not only helps to improve the stamina and energy levels of the expecting mother but brings about a positive change in the overall outlook as well thus being a positive influence on the baby.
The ancient art of yoga has been accepted as an important part of self care during the pregnancy as many believe that yoga is an excellent way to prepare oneself for pregnancy, child-birth and mother hood.
The larger goal of yoga is the unison of body, mind and spirit which is achieved by the effective synchronization of movement, breath and consciousness. Yoga helps in the achievement of all round development of the being including the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of health. Yoga greatly helps during pregnancy as during the pre-natal period, the body, mind as well as emotions undergo constant changes.
Some of the yoga poses which can benefit during pregnancy are:
The lower back is one of the most common problem areas for pregnant women. The Cat pose relaxes the spine and increases the elasticity of the lower back which is very soothing and relaxing for a pregnant woman. This pose also improves the blood circulation. The Cat pose also allows the weight of the uterus to come off the pelvis as well as the abdominal organs.
Another yoga pose, which is great for pregnant women, is the hands and knees pose. The hand and knees pose which is also one of the common delivery positions, relaxes the entire back by lengthening it. Lateral bend pose, head to knee pose and child pose also can be practiced during pregnancy, as they have added benefits for pregnant women. The Warrior pose is also highly recommended during pregnancy. All these poses strengthen and relax the muscles, release tension and improve posture. Deep breathing which is an integral part of yoga is a must for releasing fatigue and has great benefits for both the mother-to-be and the fetus; deep breathing is also highly recommended by physicians during delivery and is an integral part of the birthing process.
Yoga poses prepare a pregnant woman for the delivery by providing mental tranquility, allowing her to connect to her inner self, building her strength as well as confidence. Yoga also teaches her to yield and surrender which is required during motherhood as well as the birthing process.
The breathing, meditation and relaxation involved in yoga can help her to stay calm and relaxed during labour and the birthing process. The yoga poses perfectly complement the preparation of a woman to confront the physical and emotional changes without any qualms. Because of its connection with spirituality, yoga serves as a context for a pregnant woman to understand that pregnancy and motherhood are much more than just a physical experience.
Pregnancy hails a new period in every woman’s life, filled with love vested in the unborn child. Many mothers-to-be feel more in touch with their own physical, as well as metaphysical, body during this time, which is why yoga for pregnant women is enjoying increasing popularity. Not only does it allow the practitioner to prepare both physically and mentally for pregnancy, but it supplies moms with wisdom garnered through its age-old principles. Sound like your cup of tea? Well then get ready, mom, because you’re about to find out why pregnancy is enjoyable with yoga.
Pregnancy And Exercise: The Benefits
Is yoga for pregnant women OK? It’s a question asked by many mommies-to-be, with the simple answer: yes. In fact, one might go as far as to say that exercise is almost a must, due to the far-reaching associated benefits. These include:
- Helps with preparation for labour
- Increases physical strength, stamina and flexibility
- Reduces weight gain
- Lowers the chances of a Caesarean section
- Diminishes the chances of complications
And, if that still isn’t enough to convince you, then keep in mind that exercise is conducive to the release of endorphins which makes for a happier you.
Yoga For Pregnant Women
Choosing the right exercise during pregnancy is essential. Experts warn against activities that will elevate the body’s core temperature as the unborn child has no way to dissipate the generated body heat. Additionally, intense exercise that will cause the flow of blood to be diverted from the foetus to hardworking muscles should also be avoided. As such, yoga is recommended.
The key to success in this case resides with the fact that yoga for pregnant women actively targets those muscles that will be used most during delivery, whilst passively strengthening muscles that will ensure your comfort during all three trimesters.
It is widely recommended that all mothers-to-be choose a beginner yoga routine (regardless of your skill level) that will be safe and comfortable for you and the little life growing inside you. These should be practised daily and be accompanied by specialized breathing techniques called Pranayama, as well as meditation.
Which Positions / Routines To Choose
As a general rule of thumb of rule, you should stay away from those poses or exercises that make you feel uncomfortable or that tax your body too much: if it’s uncomfortable for you, then it’s most probably uncomfortable for your baby. Positions should therefore be held only until that point when you start feeling the strain.
Additionally, it is encouraged to make a list of all the various positions and their associated benefits to choose those most important to you. While some will help reduce weight gain, alleviate back pain or even strengthen those muscles used during delivery, others focus more on posture and spinal flexibility. It becomes a personal choice – each pregnancy is as unique as the mother and her unborn child.
At all times, it is recommended to consult with your local health care physician during all stages of your pregnancy and exercise routines to ensure that you (both) have the best chances of a successful, happy delivery.
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