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Yoga for Pregnancy
Yoga and Ayurveda always talk about complete health. When we are talking about the complete health; it is for every one irrespective of his sex, age, profession and conditions of the body. We just need to take care which part is for who. When we can understand this aspect of these sciences; we can easily achieve the ultimate goal of these sciences i.e. Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah. Sarve Santu Niraamayah – may all the creatures of this universe be healthy and happy. In this article we will try to understand the usefulness of Yoga during pregnancy.
Yoga is of great help for an expectant mother during the pregnancy, at childbirth time and in post-delivery stages. Yogasanas help to make the body more flexible, improve posture, and ease many pregnancy problems. It prepares both body and mind for the changed circumstances. Yoga, Pranayama and meditation techniques help to stay fit, healthy and happy during pregnancy and prepare the body labour. So the delivery of the baby will be natural and free from all complications. Yoga reduces anxiety and unwanted worries. Yoga also helps you after pregnancy; it strengthens abdominal muscles and pelvic floor.
Besides this it also ensure proper growth of the baby physically as well as psychologically.
Different parts of Yoga will help you during pregnancy in following way:
- Yogasans – These gently work on the reproductive organs and pelvis to ensure a smooth pregnancy and easy childbirth. Yogasanas also ensure optimum supply of blood and nutrients to the developing foetus.
- Pranayama – these breathing exercises ensure proper supply of oxygen and vital forces to the whole of mother as well as the foetus. These also have a relaxing effect on the psyche of the mother and foetus thus also helps in proper psychological development of the baby.
- Mudras and Bandhas – The psycho-physical stimulation of these gestures and locks have powerful effects on a woman’s reproductive organs.
- Meditation – As a therapeutic tool, meditation will help to resolve the deepest of nervousness, fears and conflicts, which are very common during pregnancy. Meditation brings with it an incredible awareness which helps a mother to connect with her child in a way that is impossible to explain.
- Deep Relaxation – Yoga Nidra (Yogic sleep) is particularly effective during pregnancy for physical and mental relaxation as well as for childbirth preparation.
Benefits of pregnancy yoga:
- Yoga along with meditation prepares your mind and body for change and helps you to connect to the baby growing within you.
- Yoga relieves edema and cramping which is quite common in last months of pregnancy.
- Yoga helps to ease tension around the cervix and birth canal.
- Yoga and Pranayama help to reduce morning sickness, mood swings, and nausea.
- Yoga also helps to decrease fatigue and tenderness, and also the swelling of breasts.
- Yoga raises the energy level and helps in slowing the metabolism, thus restore calm and focus.
- Yoga poses help in opening the pelvis which in turn makes delivery easier and quicker.
- Yoga also helps in reducing inflammation and swelling around joints.
- Yoga strengthens and massages the abdomen and improves the digestive system.
- Yoga helps to restore the uterus, abdomen and the pelvic floor after childbirth.
- Yoga also helps to relieve upper back tension and breast discomfort after pregnancy.
- Yoga helps to regain the fit and shapely body after pregnancy.
Yoga can be start like any other exercises plan but you need to take some precautions to ensure maximum benefits without any harm. It is always advisable to consult your doctor before starting. If you are new to Yoga; start slowly and practice under experienced trainer. There are certain poses which help to ease natural childbirth and reduce many pregnancy problems but there are other poses also that should be avoided during pregnancy. Hence, it is advisable to get complete knowledge and guidance before practising Yogasana. Some general precautions are
- Always listen to your body. If you feel any discomfort, stop practicing that pose and consult your trainer. You may need to modify each pose to your body's physical changes.
- Avoid any pose that compress your abdomen.
- Practice twisting poses carefully, twist more from the shoulders and back to avoid putting any pressure on your abdomen.
- You should avoid any pose that involve lying on your back after the first trimester as that can cut blood flow to the uterus.
- It is good to practice standing and balance poses near a wall as it reduce the risk of injury due to balance loss.
- Try to maintain as much length as possible between the breastbone and the pubic bone to make breathing easier.
- You should avoid all the Pranayamas which involve retention of breath or practise Pranayama without retaining breath.
The best recommended Yogasanas and Pranayamas for a expecting mother are:
- Chakki Chalan Asana (Churning the Mill Pose)
- Kati chakrasana
- Shoulder Rotation
- Bhramari Breathing,
- Sitkari Breathing,
- Sitali Breathing and
- Anuloma-viloma Breathing