Yoga in simpler words is defined as Yog or union. It is a spiritual journey to attain calmness, inner peace, and vision in life. Yoga dates back its origin thousands of years back in India. Since the arrival of the concept, it has been followed thoroughly by several religions viz. Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. It not only harmonizes the body with self but also detach the spirit from ego. Embarking the journey of yoga does not just means detachment from the real world but adapting to the ways of life through self-awareness. It is a healthy practice to keep ourselves positively generated.
Yoga and Pregnancy
Practicing Yoga is really helpful at almost all the stages of life especially during pregnancy. The process of giving birth is altogether a life-changing experience where the mother is the creator of new life. This experience can become more enriched if you follow Yoga during pregnancy. It is safe to practice Yoga keeping in mind certain precautions just like any other form of exercise. It nourishes both mind and body by relieving from mental and physical pain throughout pregnancy and helps in relaxing.
Is It Safe to Practice Yoga While Pregnant?
Yoga during pregnancy is a big YES. And yes it is apt to practice yoga under the guidance of specified Yoga instructor. A yoga instructor will guide you throughout the journey as after every trimester the yoga routine is changed.
Keep in mind
- Concentrate on the basic poses which would enhance flexibility and core strength.
- Props like bolsters, yoga blocks, straps or cotton blankets should be used for stability and comfort.
- Skip the poses that generate pressure towards the uterus.
- Keep the pelvis in a neutral position by concentrating on abdominal muscles, this practice helps in preventing sciatic pain during pregnancy.
- Performing power yoga is a big NO as it might put unnecessary pressure on the fetus inside.
How to Practice Yoga during Pregnancy?
There are several tips that need to be considered while practicing yoga during pregnancy
- Choose airy surroundings. Even if you are practicing yoga in the studio chose for a well-ventilated place.
- Keep yourself hydrated
- Concentrate on maintainable breathing techniques. It helps in stabilizing the mind and nervous system.
- After the first trimester, avoid laying on the belly or chest as it is the most uncomfortable position putting extra stress on the abdomen.
- Evade twists and stretch that requires much of muscle strength.
- Stick to inversions only if you are well versed with the technique beforehand.
- Don’t experiment anything on your own or through hearsay. Always listen to the instructor.
Pre Natal Yoga
Prenatal yoga is a powerful way to experience the transition of the body during pregnancy and is the most promising way to connect with the baby. Not only this it’s a healthy practice to keep you fit and to combat the physical and mental stress. Practicing prenatal yoga also helps in preparing with the process of birth of the baby and keeps you in a good mood. The process is a support system to reconnect with the body and to gain the momentum of the inner body. It helps in reducing stress, back pains, headaches; nausea and improve sleep.
Prenatal yoga is practiced differently after every trimester. Let’s discuss the process:
Yoga in the first Trimester
In the first trimester try to regulate the body with movements and quickness as there is no belly formation by then. Hence implement asana which promotes body movements:
Also known as cobra pose it helps in maintaining the flexibility of the body. It relaxes our lower back and releases stress.
- Baddha konasana
Commonly known as butterfly pose this asana is performed empty stomach. It helps in regulating menstrual cycles and improves overall blood circulation in the body.
This is an initial level asana that helps in massaging the internal organs. It works on the back and help in relieving the back muscles.
- Marjaria Asana
This pose involves stretching like a cat at the back; it refreshes the mind and acts as a stress buster for pregnant women.
- Tada asana
This helps in improving the overall posture of the body. It strengthens the lower body part feet, hips, and legs.
Yoga in Second Trimester
Often referred as the carefree days of pregnancy as the initial sickness regime has passed by now. In the second trimester, the belly starts framing. You can enjoy the phase by following certain yoga poses:
This asana is performed in a relaxing mode by lying down on a flat surface. It enhances the proper functioning of pelvic muscles. It also helps in reducing the excess fat from the stomach, waist, and thighs.
This asana provides a complete stretch to the core areas of body viz. hips, calves, chest, spine. With trikonasana, one feels a complete body movement within.
Konasana helps in toning the lower body parts while concentrating on the back muscles. It helps in relieving back pain and also helps in maintaining indigestion.
- Urdhva Hastasana
Urdhva Hastasna or upward salute helps in combating the stiffness amongst the arm and shoulder muscles. The process of rhythmic breathing helps in boosting oxygen supply to the brain.
- Adho mukha svanasana
This pose is a general mimic of the typical dog stretch pose. The downward head bend again helps in boosting the blood circulation throughout the body.
- Kantha Sanchalna
This pose is directed towards neck movement by rolling the neck in different positions upside down. It also helps in fighting the stiffness from the neck, shoulder, and head.
Yoga in Third Trimester
Following yoga techniques can help you nurture your body and prepare you for the upcoming delivery:
- Kantha and Skandha Sanchalana
This pose is an advanced version of kantha Sanchalana. Alongside the neck movements, the shoulders are also rotated in a clockwise and anticlockwise direction to release the tension from the head, neck and shoulder area.
- Poorna Skandh Sanchalana
In the last trimester of pregnancy, this yoga asana, in particular, helps in stimulating the mammary glands. It helps in providing proper breathing throughout the body.
- Ardh Titli Aasna
Concentration of this asana lies on the hips. It also affects the legs and joint muscles positively which further enhances the process of normal delivery.
This asana relaxes the torso muscles and lays emphasis on the lower abdomen. It is a relaxing childlike position which reduces stress and anxiety.
Malasana or Garland pose helps in building up the strength of the muscles to support heavy abdomen. It also helps in opening up of the pelvic area leading to the process of normal delivery.
Benefits of Pre Natal Yoga
- It helps in reducing stress and anxiety
- Improves sleep
- Decreases back pain, neck pain, and headache
- Supports Your Changing Body
- Prepares for Labor and Delivery
- Promotes Connection with Your Baby
- Provides Relief from Common Pregnancy Complaints
Prenatal yoga keeps a tab on the stress level by regulating the hormonal changes. It keeps you directed towards positivity. These asana focuses on the back, neck and abdomen areas to give flexible support at the time of delivery. Not only that, but it also supports the changes occurring in your body.
Post Natal yoga
A woman goes through rebirth right after the birth of the child. Just like the baby, it’s a new life and body for the mother too. Postnatal yoga helps in nurturing the new mother. It not only helps in losing the extra weight you have gained but also helps in relaxing the body by maintaining the overall balance. Postnatal yoga helps in regenerating the core muscle strength and strengthening the pelvic muscles.
Postnatal yoga can be started anytime after the childbirth when the mother feels healthy enough to start the daily routine. The subtle routine of exercising through postnatal yoga assists in rejuvenating the body by maintaining the hormonal balance.
Why Mom’s should do postnatal yoga
Post delivery many women suffer from postpartum depression. There is a continuous rustle of emotions right from the feeling of joy to the fear of losing. The best way to fight such anxiety levels is through yoga. Postnatal yoga is the process of time and patience. It helps in building up the core strength along with maintaining the mental and physical balance. It is designed in a way that mothers can also participate along with their babies which would help connect the baby and mother at a spiritual level. Hence it should be a prerequisite for the mothers to follow the postnatal yoga.
Posture for postnatal yoga
Following are some of the yoga exercises which help in healing the transformation phase of the body:-
- Nadi shodhana
This is one of the initial asanas which helps in dealing the first major side effect post pregnancy i.e. depression and anxiety. It is a breathing technique that calms the mind and nerves and boosts positivity.
- Gomukh asana
Gomukh asana helps in increasing the stretch in the shoulders, arms, chest, hips, underarms, and chest. It also rejuvenates the swadishtana or anahata chakras which are associated with joy, leisure, kindness, and love.
- Virbhadra asana2
This is a standing pose which works in combating the muscle soreness around the shoulder and neck. Also known as warrior pose builds up the strength and increase the stamina of the body.
- Viparita karani
Healing in nature this pose helps in opening the chest and allows you to take deeper breaths. It regulates the balance of the oxygen flow within the body.
This pose releases the tension from the upper back. It uplifts strength in back, chest, stomach, and fuel up the abdominal organs and helps in digestion a well.
Benefits of Post Natal Yoga
- It tones up the body shape
- Reinstate the hormonal balance
- Strengthen the spine
- Provides quick mind and body relaxation
- Minimize the side effects of feeding and lifting baby
- Relax the nervous system
- Improve stamina and strength
- Tone up the abdominal muscle
- Enhance blood flow
- Lighten up muscle stiffness
- Enhances breathing
- Promotes hormonal balance
- Builds confidence
- Create a positive attitude
- Provide deep rest
- Calms the mind
- Adaption to change
- Develop Patience
Apart from the above mentioned prenatal and postnatal yoga asana, there are several other asanas which can be practiced as directed by the yoga instructor. Pregnancy is a real life-changing experience in any woman’s life. Through yoga, the journey of motherhood becomes a more rewarding experience with less tension. This is a safe practice helping in embracing the motherhood. However, it is recommended to get a medical opinion before initiating the yoga practices. It is also advised not to push off your limits to complete any particular asana. Perform yoga only under the guidance of specialized yoga instructor for pregnancy.
Regular fitness regime through yoga will make you and your baby healthy and fit. It will support you throughout the journey. The practice of yoga helps in recovering physically and mentally the difficulties and delights associated with pregnancy.