Yoga, most recognized for its potential to create balance, along with emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual dimensions, is a comprehensive system that uses physical postures (asana), breathing exercises (pranayama), concentration and meditation (dharana and dhyana), and contemplative practice. This post, we shall discuss on prenatal yoga during pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a condition in which women undergo distinct physiological changes and stress and is accompanied by unique physical and psychological demands. There is a need to manage the various physical, emotional, mental and pain states that arise throughout the stages of pregnancy and labor.
The well-being and quality of life of the mother are critical for optimal pregnancy outcomes; self-soothing techniques, psycho-education, and relaxation are particularly important in this transitional and meaningful time. Maternal stress and anxiety during pregnancy are associated with a host of negative consequences for the fetus and subsequent development.
For instance, fetal exposure to maternal stress and stress-related peptides is a risk factor for adverse outcomes on the programming of the nervous system and brain morphology of fetuses, infants, and children. It is important to regulate maternal stress and provide expecting mothers with coping strategies for the inevitable stresses and changes that occur during pregnancy to increase the quality of life and to maximize infant health and development.
Yoga during pregnancy helps fetus to develop healthily. This is because the various stretching postures make for comfortable space for the fetus. And the correct breathing methods ensure complete oxygen flow for the baby forming within. Importantly, it prepares the mother’s body for the traumas of labor, strengthening and toning the muscles.
Physical exercise through yoga can be helpful in the management of stress and other associated conditions or symptoms accompanying pregnancy, such as indigestion, hypertension, diabetes, mood instability, musculoskeletal discomfort, aches and weight gain.
Mind-body practices of Yoga cultivate general health, diminish distress, and increase self-awareness, may be particularly effective in addressing both the physical and emotional aspects of pregnancy and labor.
Along with yoga asanas or postures, other related practices like pranayama or breathing exercises and meditation, have been found to reduce anxiety and endocrine measures, such as cortisol, in women during labor. Yoga for pregnancy also makes the expectant mother become more aware of the bodily needs and changes, which may be pleasant or unpleasant.
Through the various breathing techniques taught one can relax the mind, calming it completely while going through a tough phase. Awareness of the breath helps one to be anchored in the present moment, calming it completely. Even the physical aches, pains, and discomfort disappear almost instantly when the mind is at peace.
Benefits of Pre-Natal Yoga
- This age-old practice keeps you supple and flexible, tones muscles and improves your balance and circulation.
- Increase the strength, flexibility, and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth
- Reduces stress and anxiety and improve sleep pattern
- The various prenatal yoga postures help the expectant mother to rid them of common lower backache, nausea, headache and shortness of breath
- Practicing yoga helps the expectant mother to get back to shape during post-pregnancy
- Yoga helps you learn to breathe deeply and relax, which will come in handy as you face the physical demands of labor and motherhood
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