Yoga has long since been a practice to engage and unite body and mind. While the spiritual aspects of the practice are not always followed, today yoga is widely used as a great form of exercise. The recognized benefits of yoga are extensive, but today we want to focus specifically on prenatal yoga benefits.
Focusing on the breath during your yoga session helps you learn a cycle of deep breathing. This deep breathing naturally helps to decrease stress and improve overall relaxation. The breath during yoga directly correlates to your movements in and out of poses. This teaches your body and mind to connect breath and motion, which can help you manage any shortness of breath during pregnancy and labor. You will learn how to control your body and therefore be able to trust its abilities. Trusting your abilities is a major bonus during labor. Rather than be afraid, which tightens you up, you will know how to use your breath to relax your mind and your muscles, therefore reducing pain during labor.
Through the physical activity of a yoga practice your blood circulation will increase. The benefits of a good blood flow are many. Not only does it increase your vitality and energy, it promotes cell growth and organ function. Additionally, it can help your skin. Increased circulation allows your skin to fight off bacteria better, keeping you and your baby healthy. The continual practice of yoga breathing and poses will help your heart to pump at full force. This will decrease your heart rate and allow your heart muscles to relax evening out your blood pressure.
The variety of yoga poses can provide improvements to many areas of your body. Continual practice can greatly increase strength and coordination. Balance, flexibility, and posture will benefit as well. These are areas that will help in carrying your baby safely and pain-free.
Stretching and strengthening will reduce tension of the pelvic floor, low back, hips, chest, neck, and shoulders. Additionally, it will decrease low back pain and pelvic girdle pain. The relief from pain can go a long way to improving your self-confidence, stamina and mental strength during pregnancy.
Taking time out of your busy schedule to dedicate to you and your baby’s well-being is, by itself, a wonderful way to mentally support yourself. It allows you time to care and bond with your child. Not only will you bond with your baby, but you will make friends with other expecting moms. Being in a community with other mothers gives you a support group to share your journey with, which can help ease anxiety. Prenatal yoga has also been shown to aid in decreasing or even preventing symptoms of prenatal or postnatal depression.
Prenatal yoga is arguably one of the best ways to take care of yourself during pregnancy and prepare for delivery. Even though everyone experiences the stages of pregnancy differently, because of the vast number of poses, prenatal yoga classes can provide adaptive stretches to meet individual needs. The key is to find an instructor who is experienced and will listen to your needs. At Advanced Physical Therapy, we offer weekly prenatal yoga classes. These classes are lead by our Occupational Therapist, Bethany Meyer. Check out our prenatal yoga page for more information!