Pre-Natal yoga brings together a community of pregnant women who can share in the joys (and also sometimes frustrations) of this special time in their lives. It is a class in which mothers can consciously connect to the amazing new life growing inside them. It is a time to stop the busyness of our days, and appreciate the miracle of pregnancy. It is a time to be nurtured as well as a time to take special care of our bodies, putting our health and wellness first.
Pre-Natal yoga allows women to become more comfortable with their changing bodies. This is accomplished in a number of ways.
First, the gentle flowing movements in yoga allows them to "work out" the stiffness they may feel. In particular, we focus on common areas of discomfort such as lower back pain (from those beautiful growing bellies) as well as shoulder and neck stiffness. Our muscles stretch and we experience greater ease of movement when we flow with our breath.
Secondly, we build strength and endurance to prepare ourselves for labor and delivery. We do this through more energetic flowing movements and also though strong standing postures, building strength in our legs. In particular we focus on many hip opening postures that help ready our bodies for birth. Additionally, we exercise muscles in our pelvic floor, becoming more comfortable and attuned with this area.
Thirdly, pre-natal is a a wonderful precursor to birth because it helps us to RELAX! Many women may be feeling anxiety about their upcoming labor, perfrectly normal! They now have a whole yoga class of women to share these anxieties with- women who are uniquely able to understand because they too are pregnant. The slow and steady breathing in yoga helps to relax us as well. The close attention to long ,slow breaths actually causes our central nervous system to trigger the relaxation response in our bodies. The ability to access this deep breathing not only can calm us during our pregnancy, but also when we are in labor. It also can help us deal with the pain asssocaited with child birth. So, first we work out those anxieties by movement, allowing tension to be released from the muscles, and then we eventually come to a place of rest at the end of class. During savasana, or final relaxation, you are wonderfully pampered with pillows propping you up comfortably, a warm blanket, soothing music, and a warm and slightly scented lavender washcloth. It is during this time that you get to be taken care of, knowing that soon enough that beautiful baby of yours will be needing all of your attention!
As an end note, please know that the health and wellness of you and your baby always come first. If there are any movements or postures that feel uncomfortable, I encourage you to honor that feeling and come to a modified position or to stop and rest. Modifications and props are offered so that all women can feel comfortable and good in the postures.
Holley Ryan is a certified 200 hour RYT (registered yoga teacher) through YogaFit with a special certification in Pre-Natal yoga. You can learn more at Thrivehealing.org
* Squatting postures tone muscles of the pelvic floor , which we will use more efficiently and effectively when we push our baby into the world.
* helps our digestion
* reduces swelling of joint
* helps us find ease and comfort in our pregnant bodies.
* improves our emotional well-being
* Classes provide a community of support- a place to make new friends with whom we are similarly situated.
* The combination of the physical portion of the practice with the emotional component can help reduce pregnancy related anxiety and allow us to experience the miracle and empowerment of pregnancy.
After baby is born, Post - Partum Yoga can help us:
* Regain our strength and increase overall fitness
* Replenish our energy
* Balance our emotions and decrease stress