What are the benefits of prenatal yoga poses? Yoga, which means union of mind and body, makes people look within themselves and understand the body.
A pregnant woman who doesn't understand the process of labor will be tense and frightened, which in turn causes pain. The philosophy behind yoga is that by daily practice, you will become more centered and relieved from stress and be able to tone the body at the same time.
Yoga consists of different poses, called asanas, that should be held steady with controlled breathing. The breathing techniques at the heart of yoga are called pranayamas.
They are natural ways to keep your body active and flexible while minimizing the everyday pregnancy woes. It can also ensure a smooth birthing by relieving tension and by expanding the pelvis.
Posture is also improved which can ease back problems, a common pregnancy complaint. Fluid retention is decreased while blood circulation is improved.
The benefits continue throughout the postpartum period as well. Postnatal yoga, which can be started about six weeks after the birth, strengthens abdominal muscles and the pelvic floor. It kick-starts your journey back to your pre-pregnancy figure.
If you are not familiar with yoga, take a class in your area to learn the different poses. If no classes are available in your area, then there are many excellent prenatal yoga dvds available.
As with all exercise during pregnancy, do everything in moderation. Any of the yoga poses that feel uncomfortable should be omitted.
In addition, the pregnancy hormone relaxin is excreted which allows the ligaments to stretch. Care must be taken not to overstretch the ligaments while holding each of the prenatal yoga poses. No pain or nausea should be felt at any time. If this occurs, take a break and contact your care provider.
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Page Last Modified by Catherine Beier, MS, CBE
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