One of the main reasons many women do yoga during pregnancy is to help relieve back pain. Pregnancy yoga has proven to be excellent in reducing or eliminating not only lower back pain but also other common pregnancy aches such as sciatica and tensions in the pelvis.
With the extra weight of a growing baby, plus the extra your body naturally stores during pregnancy means there is more pressure on your joints and your muscles have to work harder. Ad to this all the effects of hormonal changes and the pregnant body has a lot going on. The lower back and pelvis are the more obvious places for tensions and pressures to show up. Prenatal yoga will help to simultaneously release this tension, allow the body to open and adjust to it’s changing shape, and build muscle tone and strength.
Because yoga is holistic in nature it builds both strength and balance in both the upper and lower body. The lower body strength is of benefit during pregnancy and the upper body strength after birth. On benefit yoga gas over other forms of exercise is it’s development of the smaller supportive muscles that give better balance.
Prenatal yoga can also be adapted to your changing needs as pregnancy develops. In early pregnancy the emphasis can be more on developing strength an dovetail flexibility and in later pregnancy focusing more on pelvic opening and birth preparation.
Another benefit of yoga to pregnant women is it’s emphasis on breath awareness and to sow degree breath control. Developing these abilities can be of great benefit when the time to actually give birth arrives. Being able to focus attention on breathing can help keep the nervous system calm and the mind focused, as well as keeping the body and baby well oxygenated.
The development of this meditative quality of yoga has other benefits too. As well as developing the capacity to stay in the moment, present and centered, the internal quiet is essential to connect with baby before birth. It’s amazing how much we can sense an feel when we pay attention to what we are experiencing.
The development of this inner awareness also lead to greater ease with oneself. So much is happening an changing during and after pregnancy it can become overwhelming. The ability to be present with new sensations, feelings and emotions builds tremendous self-confidence, also very beneficial when labor begins and beyond.
Every yoga class ends with savasana or ‘corpse pose’. In savasana you are guided in a process of conscious relaxation, taking body and mind into a space for rest and rejuvenation. Developing this ability to rest at will is an essential skill for a mo with a young baby who is experiencing broken sleep on a nightly basis. Savasana is the original ‘power nap’ and using it when baby naps can keep you sane and functioning.