The benefits of practicing yoga during a pregnancy are vast. From helping to strengthen the body as it adjusts to carrying the extra weight of the growing foetus, to reminding us to breathe, stay calm and relax, yoga is proven to give expectant mothers a whole host of invaluable tools to aid in both the gestation period, the birth itself and also after the baby arrives.
But let’s take a moment to look in more detail at how pregnancy yoga can improve your labour experience, with these 6 points, put together by The Centre.
- Take a deep breath: Prenatal yoga teaches women to concentrate on and connect with their breath, as well as how to breathe in different ways, using either the lungs, the belly or the chest. Conscious and focused breathing also plays an important role in the smooth birthing of your baby, and learning how to focus on the breath can help calm and relax the mind, and ease any pain. Breathing deeply through the abdominals or the diaphragm, as you will learn how to do in pregnancy yoga, can also help draw more oxygen into the body.
- Aligning the body: Yoga is all about aligning the body correctly and a knowledge of the correct alignment for birth can help immeasurably during the labour experience. By doing pregnancy yoga expectant mothers will learns movements, positions and asanas that specifically work to open the pelvis and the hips, aligning and preparing the body for birth.
- Bonding with your baby: Pregnancy yoga classes held at The Centre have a strong focus on supporting your bonding with your unborn baby. Pregnancy is a transformational period for you. The physical transformation is obvious, but the emotional changes are often neglected. In our classes we believe that preparing a woman for her new role as mother, or second/third time mother is just as important as preparing the body.
- Speed up the process: Regular and controlled yoga practise during pregnancy has been shown to help reduce the amount of time a woman is in labour by as much as two hours. This will not be the case with every new mother who practises yoga during pregnancy, however, there are moves and positions that you will learn in your pregnancy yoga class that will be invaluable in helping the baby along during the labour, which can in turn help to speed up the experience.
- The importance of the pelvic floor: The pelvic floor muscles can be referred to as your birthing muscles. The healthy tone and elasticity of these muscles, as well as knowing where they are and how you can control them, are very important in relation to your birth, and recovery, experience. In our classes you will learn techniques and practices that will prepare them for and after birth.
- Relaxing the body and mind: Labour can be an intense and scary experience for some women. By practising yoga before the birth, women can learn how to release and relieve tension in the muscles and the body which can help reduce the pain of labour. On top of this, the relaxation period known as Shavasana, at the end of each class encourages women to stay in the moment, to focus on stilling the mind and to get familiar with their bodies and how they feel.
Here at The Centre we teach pregnancy yoga classes for expectant mothers, as well as mother and baby yoga to help new mothers continue feeling the benefits of yoga even after their new babies are born.