Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
How many times have you contemplated starting a new hobby, a new activity, exercise regiment? How often have you doubted your ability to be successful with this new activity?
A common misconception with practicing yoga is that you have to be flexible. Good news, you do not have to be a naturally flexible person to practice yoga. Another common misconception of practicing yoga is that it is all breathing and meditating. Although the breath behind the practice of yoga is the guiding force, we do may more than just sit silently and breathe. Now put this into the context of a prenatal yoga class. You have this new changing body, maybe some nausea, you're tired and someone invites you to take a prenatal yoga class where you believe that you need to sit still, meditate, and be flexible. Hello self-doubt! Let me break down what yoga, specifically prenatal yoga can do for you.
Yes, the breath in yoga is the lifeforce. It guides our movements but it also guides our mind. Connecting to your breath has many benefits. Slowing down your body to notice your breathing might sound silly, but it actually has many health benefits. It can slow the heart rate and drop blood pressure. It calms the mind and decreases the stress hormone cortisol. We are busy humans, with lots of demands. Our attention is being demanded all day on work, family, responsibility, cell phone notifications, news, money… this all increases adrenaline in the body and thus we have more cortisol running around increasing our heart rates and blood pressure. In addition, when we are pregnant there is a whole new level of stress and uncertainty. So when we become aware of our breath filling our body and slowly releasing it we also become connected to our bodies in a different way. We notice more, we feel more. This also fosters a better connection to the baby growing inside. We can connect to the breath bringing life to the growing being and how when we breath we become aware of how we are one.
Some of my favorite aspects of instructing a prenatal yoga class is helping those participating feel a sense of physical relief. Here are a few of my favorite poses and the physical ailment they can help.
- Eagle Arms - Shoulder discomfort and tightness caused by stress
- Cat/Cow (or as one of my favorite yogis calls it ¨bamboo stick bending¨) - low back tightness and discomfort
- Gate Pose - Intercostal Muscles (located between the ribs)
- Pigeon Pose - Psoas Muscle, groin and glute tightness
- Fire Log Pose - Outer hip tightness
- Legs up the wall - helps blood flow back to the heart reducing swelling in feet and ankles
Not only does the practice of prenatal yoga create a sense of calm, releases physical discomforts, but it also builds confidence in the practitioner. We allow ourselves to slow down and tune into a place of surrender. We are able to turn off the distractions of life and accept the changes being experienced by pregnancy. We can release fears, anxieties, concerns and once we let go of what is not mentally and physically benefitting we can then cope and build a confidence in ourselves that nothing can break. Entering a new phase of life that brings so much change requires an empowerment that is found inside yourself.
Did you know that as of January 2021 - we offer prenatal yoga classes in person & virtually twice a week here at The Nest? Register now to attend!