Ante-natal students are encouraged to practice yoga after their 14th week of pregnancy, following the go-ahead from their GP or midwife.
Ante-natal yoga sessions are about an hour in length and consist of gentle exercise, breathing techniques, guided visualisation and relaxation.
Benefits to be had: The regular practice of yoga for any individual will help improve the physical, mental and emotional health. The joints and muscles will be strengthened and stretched. The circulation will increase, improving the supply of oxygen and speeding the removal of toxins. The mind and nervous system will become calmer. Stiffness and tension will be reduced and energy will travel more freely throughout the body due to improvements in posture and breath. Mothers to be can gain all of these benefits whilst practicing yoga regularly throughout their pregnancy. They will be able to alleviate many of the physical and emotional problems associated with pregnancy, and help make their pregnancy, labour, birth and post-natal experiences as positive as possible, whatever their circumstance.
Through specific postures, a mother's body can be strengthened to deal with the demands of carrying a baby and giving birth. Through meditation and visualization exercises, the mind can be strengthened to face any fears or anxieties. Learning to relax will enable students to get much needed rest and renew their energy levels whilst they deal with the demands of a rapidly changing body. Learning to use the breath as a point of concentration and using it to help relieve pain and remain calm, will be invaluable throughout labour and birth.
Physical symptoms associated with pregnancy can often be prevented or alleviated with the practice of yoga. For instance, heartburn can be tackled with chest lifts; constipation through mobilization of the body; swollen ankles through foot paddling; lower back pain through gentle stretching; fatigue in labour through building stamina in steady poses and energizing through breathing exercises; tearing of perineum through pelvic floor exercises; depression through positive thinking.
Additionally, the practice of yoga will greatly support mothers after they have given birth. It is a time that can leave the individual feeling lost and isolated. Regular practice will help mums deal with their feelings and release any stress. They will remain more connected to their body, reclaiming their sense of self post birth, and face the new challenges of motherhood with a positive outlook.
And one of the most beautiful things of all is the greater sense of connection mothers form with their babies inside the womb. The enhanced physical awareness created through the regular practice of yoga, helps individuals tune into the life growing inside and makes for a very special pregnancy. Generally a calmer mum makes for a calmer baby.
If you wish to find out more or book a private session, please do not hesitate to contact me.