Pregnancy is surely the miracle of life and can be an incredible and amazing experience, but it would be no understatement to say that it can also be very hard. Pregnancy brings with it many changes in the body, and symptoms ranging from nausea to swollen feet. It can also be quite a stressful time as the expectant parents try their best to plan for the future.
In such a scenario, one of the most important aspects is the health of the mother. Alongside good nutrition and plenty of rest, what is important is good exercise, of the type that is not strenuous, but stimulates the entire body and promotes blood circulation, strength, and flexibility, particularly of the pelvic region, to help in the process of labour.
Here, yoga can play an important role, providing expecting mothers with a good workout that is not strenuous, and one which promotes mental relaxation too.
Prenatal Yoga: What to Try –
As an expecting mother, these are a few practices that you can try to get the best benefits from yoga –
- Sukhasana (Easy Pose) – A great facilitator for meditation, this simple and easy to do asana facilitates calmness and relaxation that will help you get over your worries and jitters. It helps in strengthening the back and stretching the knees and ankles with a gentle action, promoting core and leg strength. Sit in this pose anywhere between five to fifteen minutes, and focus on breathing to relax.
- Virabhadrasana II (Warrior Pose) – This standing asana helps in improving balance, and increases the stamina of the body, both of which will help you a lot as you progress through the trimesters. It also helps you keep your body in shape by toning the arms and legs. Hold the pose for upto a minute, and remember to repeat on the other side.
- Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) – A great way to open up the lower regions of the body, this pose helps in stretching the inner thighs, knees and groins, stimulates the abdominal organs, and also helps in relieving symptoms of depression and fatigue. Regular practice of this asana is said to help in easing the process of labour.
- Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall Pose) – This deeply relaxing pose is a must for those who suffer from backache, swollen ankles or varicose veins, which are all common symptoms of pregnancy. This asana also helps in improving blood flow to the pelvic region, and it is also known to be useful for digestive ailments and heachaches.
- Marjariasana (Cat Stretch) – This pose increases the suppleness and flexibility of the spine, which becomes essential as the pregnancy advances and the back has to carry more weight. It also helps in improving blood circulation and in ensuring that the reproductive organs are well stimulated. Shoulder and neck stiffness can also be banished with this asana.
- Shavasana (Corpse Pose) – A deeply healing and relaxing asana, this pose promotes the relaxation of the entire body, and can become an important component of your workout as an ending pose. A stress-reliever, this asana can also facilitate mediation, or otherwise help you earmark a few moments of time for yourself to connect with your body and the life growing inside it.
- Bhramari Pranayama (Bee Breath) – Practiced regularly, this breathing exercise can help in controlling stress and regulating hormone production within the body, both of which are essential not only for the mother’s health, but also for promoting the health of the child.
Ensuring Good Health- Some Considerations –
As the safety and health of you and your child are always supreme, always keep these points in mind while exercising during pregnancy –
- Always consult with your doctor before taking up exercises during pregnancy. Particularities and complications of your pregnancy may lead to the recommendation or avoidance of certain practices.
- Always practice yoga (or indeed, any other exercise) under expert supervision. Such a teacher should not only be knowledgeable in yoga, but should also have experience in prenatal yoga.
- Listen to your body. If any pose or practice feels uncomfortable, stop the practice immediately or modify. Keep observing what works for you and what doesn’t.
- As a general rule of thumb, asanas that put pressure on the abdomen, or inversion poses should be avoided during pregnancy.
- It is suggested that no yoga be undertaken during the 10th to 14th week of pregnancy, as these are crucial markers where such strain on the body should be avoided.
- If you have some medications or other measures prescribed for pregnancy, do follow them through. Yoga is an excellent supplement for health during pregnancy, but it cannot substitute medications in this case.