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Archive for the ‘Yoga for Pregnancy’ Category

Yoga for Pregnancy- Find a class…..

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Contrary to what we are often led to believe, birth is not a pathology, pregnancy not some illness that you need rescued from, and labour not a disaster waiting to happen. Sure, every now and then nature turns it into such- a complication obviously means that medical care is both paramount and welcome- but for the vast majority of women, your birth can and should be an entirely positive experience, and one which – with the right environment and the right emotional support- you can do very much under your own steam.


But to think that you can fall pregnant, grow your baby and then waltz through labour  on little more than a wing and a prayer is entirely unrealistic. Like any other huge mental and physical endeavour, giving birth takes preparation. If you were going to climb a mountain or run a marathon, you wouldn’t dream of doing it unless you were well and truly prepared. In the same way, birth needs proper preparation.


If the birth process in the West was not so hidden behind closed doors, and instead was much more a part of life  as it si in other parts of the world; if we saw other women give birth, helped them through it, understood its peaks and troughs, then very explicit preparation might not be so necessary, though physical and mental strength would be required whatever the situation. But the truth is,most of us we have never seen a birth or even thought about what it entails before we first give birth ourselves.


The marathon or climbing a mountain analogies are good ones when it comes to birth, because like labour and birth these require not simply physical ability but crucially mental stamina and fight. To keep going in a long labour, to pass through the pain threshold, to not give up in the trickier bits is of course a physical endeavour but also in large part a mental endeavour too.


This is exactly why yoga- which focuses on physical strength and flexibility as well as mental stability and the breath is simply the perfect tool for birth preparation- a sort of one stop shopping if you like. Look around for a class near you or at a push rent yourself a yoga for pregnancy dvd to do on a regular basis at home. Mothers who prepare in this way tend to swear by it afterwards and preparation is without doubt one of the keys to a happy and healthy birth.

Go gently

Monday, April 7th, 2008

A recent review of our dvd on amazon advised women to go to a class before doing yoga by dvd at home. Although she enjoyed the dvd and gave it a good review, she found that her pelvis had begun to hurt a little after the practice. I can not emphasise enough how important it is to be easy on yourself with yoga for pregnancy. During pregnancy a hormone called relaxin is produced by the body that works to soften the ligaments in preparation for birth. Whilst this is ultimately beneficial, as it helps the pelvis to open for birth, it also means that you need to exercise caution when doing any exercise as the potential for over-stretching is there. I always say in my classes, and on the inside of my yoga dvd, it is essential that you work gently and well within your comfort zone. Before starting yoga practice, with a teacher or at home, seek advice from your midwife. For the vast majority of poeple, gentle yoga will be a help not a hinderence during pregnancy, but only so long as you are not already suffering from sdp or dsp, and that you do not get over-excited by your potential newfound flexibility and push yourself accordingly.

The beauty of yoga is that it does not require you to push yourself hard or to be in outlandish positions to be effective. You can do moderated or simplified versions of each pose - with your legs together and knees bent etc- and still the physical benefits of improved posture, circulation, a stronger more aligned pelvis and spine and better breathing. Additionally, the benefits of yoga are not simply physical but also mental. The time to focus on your breath, your baby and yourself is essential- and in our fast paced world somewhat rare. It is also necessary during birth to allow the back part of your mind, that primal instinctive brain that tends to take a back-seat in day to day living, to come to the fore and play its essential role during birth- and the best way to aid that process is with gentle yoga practice before the birth.

So in all ways during pregnancy, be gentle on yourself and allow both your body and your mind to release and relax slowly and with ease. And if you find that even gentle practice causes you any pain at all, then please discontinue doing yoga and speak to your midwife.