Yoga for Pregnancy

Monday Evenings 6.30 to 7.30
£5 drop in

So what can yoga do for you when you are pregnant?

Firstly and most importantly, yoga can help you to connect to your breath. We all breathe, but not always well, so you would normally expect, at the start of a class, to spend some time becoming aware of the breath and how you breathe. During pregnancy, breathing can become difficult due to upward pressure on the diaphragm and carrying excess weight. Over time you will learn breathing exercises which will help you deal with tiredness and anxiety.

You will do some yoga postures, specifically modified, with the emphasis on safety and comfort. In the postures, you will not be straining, you will not be in pain, nor should you be distracted. The postures will encourage good posture, which will help to keep your back healthy as your bump grows, to promote good circulation and to open the joints. There is a particular sequence which promotes joint flexibility and might just help too with puffy joints; it is likely that the joints will be under some strain as a result of the increasing weight. This sequence also helps to keep the lymphatic system working well and relaxes the muscles. You would expect to do a lot of hip openers, shoulder and chest opening and some gentle forward and back bends and some open twists (ie, you keep the front of the body open as you twist round to the side).

The shoulder and chest openers help you to think about your breath. The forward bends (which have to be done in such a way to accommodate the growing belly) are helpful in aligning the spine and making space between the vertebrae. The back bends are helpful in releasing the lower back where there can be pain and discomfort. The twists are helpful in opening up the front of the body and tone and firm from the inside out in the area of the waist and abdominal muscles.

A lot of the emphasis will be on comfort and relaxation. Relaxation can be beneficial for us all but in pregnancy it can be particularly special. It allows you to go deep inside yourself to develop a sense of calmness and to give you time off from all the concerns you have about pregnancy.

There are different techniques that can be used to promote complete relaxation in the body and you would expect these to be explored so that everyone can find something to suit them. I often think that people come to my yoga classes for the relaxation more than anything else.

It feels like you are giving a very special gift when you do relaxation at the end of a class. At the end, people come to sitting very quietly and deliberately obviously having enjoyed the experience. When you get a smile, it’s one of understanding; they are communicating how much they have gained from the time they have had going inwards and learning the true meaning of relaxation.

One of my favourites is Yoga Nidra, nidra meaning sleep, but not in the conventional sense. This is a way to completely relax the muscles in the body and the mind, resulting in a feeling of rejuvenation. Yoga Nidra allows us to release tension in the body, thereby we can be relaxed and gain peace of mind.

The important thing about your yoga class is that it gives you time to focus in on you and your unborn child. By coming to a class you are giving yourself permission to relax and gently work your body to prepare it for labour.

A yoga class should help you to be more comfortable while pregnant and encourage good habits in breathing and posture. You should learn postures to help with particular problems, like hip pain. All the work that you do leads inevitably to the act of delivering the baby. Good breathing practices can result in less stress during labour and may help to reduce the time taken in labour. Specific postures are taught to help reduce pain and help you to be more in control.

One of the ancient yoga texts says:

“Grace, beauty, strength, energy and firmness adorn the body through yoga” (Yoga Sutra III, 47)

I hope that I can achieve just a little of this in my classes!

Yoga in pregnancy should be practiced only under the guidance of an experienced teacher.


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