If you’ve never practiced yoga before, pregnancy is a wonderful time to start. Prenatal Yoga is accessible to all mothers to be, allowing you to access the benefits on the level that you feel comfortable with. It can help you experience the joys and adjust to the challenges that pregnancy, birth and motherhood present. From reducing the physical discomforts of pregnancy such as aching lower back, fatigue, gastric reflux and fluid retention to containing the emotional challenges like fear and anxiety about the birth and motherhood, yoga can help.
“Practicing yoga throughout pregnancy gave me a chance to tune in to my baby and my body. It provided me with skills in breathing, movement and relaxation that become a part of me, so that when you go into labour I didn’t have to think about what I should be doing, I just did it”.
The Birthlight tradition of pregnancy yoga, as founded in the UK by Francoise Barbira Freedman (see http://www.birthlight.com/) is one such teaching of pregnancy yoga that empowers women to experience birth as a natural and positive life experience. Birthlight guides women to develop inner strength, physical stamina and free, deep breathing that fosters inner serenity. This cohesive prenatal yoga practice is essential for preparing both body and mind for birth, giving women the best possible chance for a natural delivery and a positive birth experience.
The basic movements practiced during pre-natal yoga are designed to strengthen, improve physical stamina and increase flexibility while simultaneously encouraging the baby into a better position for birth hence increasing the chances of a natural delivery. Attention given to strengthening pelvic floor muscles and lower back help both during labour and aid a quicker return to your pre-pregnant self post-birth. Complimentary breathing techniques facilitate labour physically and encourage the presence of mind required to increase the chances of a calm birthing experience. As a result, a more intimate connection with baby, both before and after birth is possible to develop.
This bonding in utero can be continued and strengthened further by attending baby yoga classes or mother and baby classes. The first months of baby’s integration into a mother’s life is a special, joyous, challenging and critical time as far as your baby’s physical and emotional development is concerned. Practicing baby yoga enhances the intimate connection required for healthy development while providing a nurturing space to enhance a new mother’s personal energy and find her own yoga practice.
Mothers are encouraged to reclaim their physical self by practicing gentle yoga with and beside their babies. This practice can help to gently strengthen and tone pelvic floor and abdominal muscles, increase energy and avert post natal depression while increasing connection with baby. Babies simultaneously benefit from activities that strengthen and balance baby’s physical bodies, improve digestion and offer relief from colic and help to improve babies sleeping patterns.