By Sarah Manning
- It will help you deal with the changes in your body.
As yoga is about moving the body mindfully, you will build up awareness of where your body is at the moment and how it feels. Pre-natal yoga will also help you calm any raging hormones, bring balance back to your body and allow you to connect with the universe and your baby.
Pre-natal yoga teachers are extra careful with pregnant mothers and take into account the changes that your body goes through when you’re pregnant. This includes:
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- Increased estrogen levels — leading to sodium and water retentions, emotional mood swings, increased pliability of connectivity tissues;
- Increased progesterone levels — decreases smooth muscle tone of bladder, stomach, intestines, uterus, sphincters;
- Release of relaxins — relaxes the tendons, muscles and ligaments as this hormone facilitates the birth process by causing a softening and lengthening of the cervix and the pubic symphysis (the place where the pubic bones come together).
All these three factors lead to instability in the body which can be addressed with pre-natal yoga.
- It will alleviate your back pain.
We have all come to expect back pain as a norm during pregnancy, but it shouldn’t be. Poor posture is the cause of back pain and pre-natal yoga can help you to improve your posture and alleviate the pain.
The hormonal changes due to pregnancy don’t just lead to emotional imbalances but also instability in the body as there is a softening of connective tissue, ligaments, tendons and smooth muscle tone. Thus posture is all the more important and pre-natal yoga can help heighten your posture awareness as well as help the connective tissues — the long and short ligaments along the spine — soften.
- It will help prepare you for labour.
Pre-natal yoga is about helping pregnant women to build awareness, confidence and empower their instincts while connecting with their baby.
I teach skills for relaxation, calming, centering, as well as postures for labour to make the birthing process smoother for women.
Here are some tips on how pre-natal yoga can be used to manage labour:
- Stay in an upright position as gravity helps;
- Move around as this helps to encourage the baby as he/she descends;
- Making sound;
- Breathing practices to stay calm and focused.
For example: the Soft Chui (or Golden Thread Breath) where you take a breath, and then blow softly out (enough to make a candle flicker but not go out).
Hissing Breath where you take a passive breath and then hiss out like a snake.
Make a sound upon exhalation.
Hold your breath while focusing on a positive affirmation.
Interested in learning more about how yoga can help during your childbirth as well as how your partner can help when the time comes? COMO Shambhala Urban Escape is hosting a workshop “Role Play of Child Birth through Yoga with Sarah Manning” on 12 March and 14 May. Click here for more information.