The Benefits of Yoga in Pregnancy

Just after I qualified as a yoga teacher and was preparing to set up my first ever yoga class, I was approached by a few pregnant ladies who asked me if they could attend my yoga classes. My yoga teacher training only covered pregnancy yoga very briefly and I honestly did not know enough about it to confidently teach it. I told them I would come back to them and booked myself onto a training afternoon so I could learn the basics and hopefully make a decision that was right for me as a yoga teacher and also the expectant ladies who wanted to attend a yoga class.

Through the training I learnt that there was so much more to consider in pregnancy yoga than just changing someone’s position, for example there are the symptoms of pregnancy, pelvic girdle pain, the risk of over extending due to the hormone relaxin, preparing for birth, letting go of fear, anxiety and also support systems. The decision was clear for me, if I was going to teach ladies who were pregnant it needed to be in a dedicated class. The last thing I wanted was to turn people away from class but it was important to me as the teacher that all yoga students who attended my class felt protected and supported and that they felt safe when they came to class. In order to do that for those who were pregnant I needed to know more and I booked myself onto the full Pregnancy Yoga Teacher Training course.

Yoga is a holistic practice, connecting the mind, body and breath. Yoga works on all the humanistic levels, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This is in fact the case for all types of yoga. As someone who practices and teaches yoga I have always found yoga very nurturing and helps you to reconnect with nature in the most subtlest of ways and from what I have learnt yoga in pregnancy is no different.

There is evidence available to demonstrate that yoga during pregnancy reduces pain experienced throughout pregnancy and can also reduce stress and anxiety, (Beddoe et al, 2009).

However, the positives of taking part in a yoga class during pregnancy go beyond the evidence and not only does this benefit mum but also her baby too. Techniques and movements learned during a class can assist a woman during labour, as well as supporting her and her baby postnatally as well.

With the natural skeletal changes that occur during pregnancy, a yoga practice can keep the body active, healthy and balanced. Movement with breath work together calms the mind and brings balance to the nervous system and reduces muscular tension, promoting deeper relaxation that crosses the placenta and benefits the baby.

Breathing techniques learned in class can bring a sense of calm and creates a sense of space in mind and in body too. Breathing techniques can support with reducing insomnia but also energise in times of fatigue. Practicing yoga in its ever so gentle nature provides us with confidence and empowerment and can really help a woman to prepare giving birth to her baby.

Practicing yoga at anytime increases body awareness but for a pregnant woman it is an opportunity to reconnect with her own body but her baby as well providing early bonding opportunities. Attending a yoga class also brings other expectant mums together creating a sense of community and support for each.

All my love

Andrea

Reference

Beddoe, AE, Chin-Po, PY, Powell Kennedy, H, Weiss, SJ, Lee, KA. (2009). The Effects of Mindfulness-Based Yoga During Pregnancy on Maternal Psychological and Physical Distress. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing. Volume 38, Issue 3, May-June 2009, Pages 310-319.

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