by Kara Bumpus, New Moon Healing
Practicing yoga during your pregnancy can be rewarding and has many benefits, including greater awareness to your whole being: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
Physically, yoga prepares the body for childbirth by opening and strengthening the entire physical body, particularly hip, pelvic floor and leg muscles. Increasing strength, stamina and endurance can help relieve some of the aches and pains associated with the added weight as your body grows to accommodate your developing baby and also as your center of gravity shifts. Yoga keeps the spine supple and aligned while it changes to accommodate the life within.
Emotionally, the practice of yoga helps to process and stabilize the emotions that may be affected by the increased hormonal activity.
Mentally, yoga prepares the body by increasing focus and acuity; also allowing any thoughts to continue on their way, helping us see that thoughts are transient and seeing that they only have as much power as we give them.
Spiritually, connecting with the inner peace while simultaneously linking to something greater (God, the Universe, or whatever it means to you) provides an enormous sense of comfort.
In addition, the practice of Yoga brings more awareness to your breath, which is a wonderful resource to access during labor and to utilize in general to calm yourself. Vocal toning is practiced, as we ride the exhalation of breath, breaking up tension while staying with the vibrations and the resonance. This technique is one of the most beneficial. Our breath is the bridge between the mind and the body and has a profound effect on both. It is the gateway to the inner world.
In prenatal yoga we are continually calling on our mental and physical bodies to find balance between effort and surrender, steadiness and ease. As we move through different asanas (poses), finding the right amount of effort while simultaneously surrendering to it, yoga prepares you for the birthing experience. It teaches us to be present with the different sensations of the body and to move with them.