Prenatal yoga has become extremely popular, and with good reason. When added with walking, yoga can be an excellent way for moms-to-be to stay in shape during pregnancy. Keeping off the excess weight is just one small benefit of prenatal yoga. It also keeps the body limber, muscles tone, and improves both balance and circulation. These benefits are all achieved with little impact on the joints, which is an added bonus to the already aching body.
Breathing is a crucial aspect of prenatal yoga. It not only allows for deeper and more beneficial stretches but also helps moms-to-be practice deep and releasing breathes that will be extremely helpful during labor.
Learning to breathe is one of the first things learned in prenatal yoga because of how beneficial it is in the present moment of stretching out the growing body and how crucial it will be during labor in the future. This breathing technique is known as ujjayi. To use ujjayi breathing, you take in the air very slowly through the nose to fill up the lungs and expand the belly, then you exhale through the nose until the lungs are completely void of air.
This can be done during the exhale through the mouth during particularly painful or difficult moments to fully release the body. The bodies reaction to pain is normally to tense up, which can do more harm than good during both yoga and labor. By staying calm and taking deep, releasing breathes the body can relax further and lessen pain instead of intensifying it. Pain should always be acknowledged but should not be given into. Instead, pain should be breathed through and embraced.
Prenatal yoga during the first trimester is very different from prenatal yoga during the third trimester. However, ujjayi breathing remains consistent during all three trimesters. The belly is still fairly small during the first trimester which allows for a variety of poses and mild twists. First-trimester yoga focuses on keeping up endurance and stretching the body.
Second-trimester yoga incorporates a little more stressful. With the appearance of a small belly, some poses and twists are temporarily discarded from practice. The second trimester poses focus on stretching the side body and gaining leg muscle to help carry around the extra pounds that are to come. Most women feel very energized during the second trimester which makes it the perfect time to amp up yoga practices and get those legs strong to carry around the several pounds there are still to gain.
The third trimester is often called the “home stretch” of pregnancy. Which is a very accurate name when it comes to yoga because this is the trimester that stretching consumes yoga practice. The body has grown substantially over the past several months and some key areas such as the lower back and hips are taking a lot of pressure from that extra weight. Stretching the hips and back can help ease the pain caused by the extra weight and the almost full term sized baby. It also can allow for a smoother delivery.
Prenatal yoga is crucial in combating the aches and pains of pregnancy. Even if yoga was not done before pregnancy, it should at least be incorporated every few days into the daily routine to stretch out the body. Growing a human is hard on the mind and body which makes yoga a wonderful addition to prenatal care.