Many women when they first find out they are pregnant have a hard time staying motivated to stay active. This can last through the entire pregnancy or hit in waves. As a doula and a Yoga instructor I recommend that my clients talk to their health care providers about taking a prenatal yoga class.
What is all the hype about yoga?
Simply put, it is a great way to take on a low impact work out. There are many variations or types of Yoga from Power Yoga (strength & cardio style) to Hatha (Flow style) depending on what style you are looking for. Speaking of style, no two yoga instructors are the same. Many people are attracted to Yoga because it is something you can do at your own pace, in a class, on your own or with a DVD. You can personalize your practice to fit your needs. It doesn't matter if you are using Restorative Yoga as a form of physical therapy to recover from an injury/surgery or if you are working on strength in Power Yoga. There is a type of yoga just for you.
Just a few benefits of Yoga in general are:
-Strength training of muscles and joints
-Stretching the body/assisting in range of motion
-Silencing the Mind (helping with any anxiety, depression and/or high blood pressure as well as getting more in tune with your body)
Why take Prenatal Yoga?
According to an article on Mayoclinic.org, "research suggests that prenatal yoga can: improve sleep, reduce stress and anxiety, Increase the strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth, decrease lower back pain, nausea, carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, headaches and shortness of breath. Prenatal Yoga can also help you meet and bond with the other pregnant women and prepare for the stress of being a new parent".
As a Doula in addition to being a Yoga Instructor go hand in hand. In my individual classes I work on strengthening the lower body (for those long labor walks and squats) and relaxation/breathing (for getting through waves or contractions). I try to give all my doula and yoga clients the tools they can practice at home to prepare for labor and birth.
Birth is a lot of work. People are not kidding when they say it is a marathon and just like any other marathon you do what? Train. Now, I understand you cannot "train" for surges/contractions or the possibility of back labor, however, you can train your body in stamina and endurance. Preparing your body for the long haul of labor can help you greatly in reaching the finish line of birth. It doesn't matter if you are trying for an all natural birth or end up having a Cesarean Section - it is still a long physical process that your body is going through before and AFTER.
We cannot forget the mental aspect of birth as well! Training and preparing your body what to do during a surge/contraction is just as important as the physical aspect of birth. Self calming and relaxation techniques will help you be able to keep a good flow of oxygen for your baby. Until your baby is born YOU are breathing for your baby. If you start panicking, hyperventilating, screaming or just plain freaking out during birth you are not providing a decent oxygen supply to your baby in a physically active situation. When your breathing fast or not enough, it indicates you are in a stressful situation and your heart rate and blood pressure are likely to rise. These are not good for you or your baby. Birth is a lot of work so keeping things calm, relaxing and peaceful for your focus during labor/birth are super important.
Although no two births, pregnancies or women are the same I have to say that I have witnessed wonderful things as a doula. I once had a client who had used Yoga as her primary source of exercise for over 10 years and even throughout her pregnancy - with her first child her labor was only SIX hours! One of the shortest births I have attended thus far and it still amazes me.
Yoga will also be there for you after you have given birth - so you can even consider continuing your practice!
Mama Gracie's has Spring Yoga Classes (Prenatal & Women's) open for enrollment right now!
So if you are interested - come check it out!
Thanks for reading.
Until Next time,
Mama Gracie's Staff
Here at Mama Gracie's we have a wonderful group of staff from different walks of life. Each of their journeys contributes to what Mama Gracie's has to offer.