Pregnancy: The Best Time to Start Doing Yoga

prenatalyoga-lululemon athleticaThe notion of health, exercise and fitness takes on a whole new meaning during pregnancy. For some women, it may represent concerns over excess weight loss, and a renewed focus on nutritious diet patterns. Often when you find out you have another little being to nurture and care for, it prompts a desire to really care for your body like never before.

Yoga is an excellent option for those looking to begin to do gentle exercise during pregnancy. It’s also perfect for women who may need a good alternative for a rigorous or high-impact fitness routine.

Mind and Body

Yoga is a form of exercise and meditation that originated in ancient India. It consists of different poses called asanas, which require sustained, even breathing techniques and help to stretch and strengthen the muscles.

During pregnancy, changes in hormones can cause us to experience stress and emotional changes. Yoga not only helps us center ourselves mentally, but releases powerful endorphins through cardiac activity. This makes it ideal for helping to manage both physical and mental upheaval.

Reduction of Pain

Carrying around additional weight is one of the principal causes of stress on the pregnant body. This often results in back pain, soreness of the legs and feet, neck tension and more. Practicing yoga helps to align the spine and the entire bone structure of the body. It also focuses on strengthening key muscle groups to help you respond to the additional weight and differences in posture.

Breathing and Awareness

Because yoga involves carefully measured breaths, it fits in perfectly with preparation for childbirth and pain management. Women who do yoga are taught to become aware of each part of their body and how to coordinate their breathing to each movement and held position.

Flexibility

Stretching the muscles helps improve overall flexibility and joint mobility. This not only feels great, but allows you to easily adjust to the positions necessary for giving birth. As a new mother, you may be doing more bending, squatting, rocking, and swaying than you ever imagined, and yoga prepares your body for this as well.

Overall Health and Wellness

Among its many benefits, yoga contributes to an overall state of wellness during pregnancy. It has been shown to improve blood circulation and reduce fluid retention. Sometimes just the act of taking time out of your day to go to a yoga class can make you less likely to binge on sugar or fat-laden treats. But if you do, don’t worry! Yoga can help combat the effects of those necessary moments when you give in to your cravings.

How to Start

When you’re pregnant, it’s best to go to a pregnancy-specific class where you can be assured the instructor will guide you through a routine of safe and gentle postures. If you can’t find the right class or schedule, however, you may be able to attend a normal yoga class and have the instructor help you modify certain positions. Just be sure to find out in advance if the class is suitable for you.

You’ll also want to be sure to wear comfortable, breathable, close-fitting clothes (for bending over and stretching) and a supportive cotton maternity bra. Bring along a bottle of water and small cotton towel, and ask if you need to provide your own mat.

Sonia Moran is an avid yogini and long time practicer of Bikram and Ashtanga yoga. She is also the mother of two active kids and has enjoyed the benefits of yoga during pregnancy and post-birth. In her professional life Sonia is a business consultant and freelance writer for various pregnancy and parenting-related publications, including http://www.amoralia.com/maternity-news/.

Sources:

http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/health_advice/facts/pregnancy_yoga_003738.htm
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/prenatal-yoga/MY01542

Photo: via Flickr Creative Commons, by Lululemon Athletica

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Disclaimer:  
The information on this website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition. Please consult your doctor before attempting any of the exercises, remedies, or health tips on this website to make sure you are healthy enough to do so.

Comments

  1. LOVED your article. I started Yoga when I was pregnant and found that it really helped me through my pregnancy. A lot of my friends were really hesitant to give it a go though. They couldn’t understand why I wanted to be so active even when I got really big lol.

    You mentioned maternity bras for yoga, I really struggled with finding one to do yoga in. All my motherhood bras were rubbish for when I wanted to be a little active. In the end I found a proper yoga maternity bra. Yes there actually is a thing! Here it is if you’re interested:

    http://www.amoralia.com/shop/maternity-bras/sleep-&-yoga-bra/cat1/prod280/

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