What is Yoga?
Yoga is a Hindu practice in Indian culture that is spiritual and an ascetic discipline. It involves controlling breath and simple meditation with few bodily postures and poses. The body adapts to all these procedures mentioned above while doing them in a gentle and controlled manner, and then it relaxes accordingly. Morning yoga is more effective which is performed in different forms. Yoga is done for the below stated health problems apart from prenatal yoga. They are:
Yoga for digestion
Yoga for upper body
Yoga for lower body
Yoga for PCOS
Yoga for mental health,
Yoga for menstruation
What is Prenatal Yoga?
Prenatal yoga is the type of yoga for women during pregnancy to stay fit and relax throughout the entire phase. It is the best yoga for pregnant women as it prepares the body for labour and promotes babies' health. Therefore, prenatal yoga includes childbirth preparation sessions that encourage stretching, focused breathing, and mental preparation counselling. Prenatal yoga will benefit pregnant women in various ways like improving sleep, reducing stress and anxiety, increasing the total body strength, flexibility and endurance of all the muscles needed for childbirth. It further enhances conditions like nausea, headaches, shortness of breath and decreases lower back pain. This yoga for flexibility
also aims to bond with other pregnant women and destress the body. These social interactions help their mind get geared up to face the responsibility to become a new parent.
How Effectively Can We Do Prenatal Yoga at Home?
Prenatal yoga is healthy for both the mother and the baby, and it promises to make delivery much easier with a quick bounce back to shape after birth. It is low-intensity yoga and helps a person relax effectively by preparing the body to labour. It is very effective to be done at home as it does not require any special equipment and also consumes very little of one's time. Therefore, prenatal yoga for pregnant woman at home can be easily practised by expecting mom on a regular basis by spending 30 minutes of their time in this physical activity. This makes prenatal yoga at home even more effective and helps the mother benefit entirely from the programme. Prenatal yoga at home is done at a slow pace that requires no supervision or guidance, which is the added advantage.
Who Can Do Prenatal Yoga?
Prenatal yoga (for pregnant woman) can be done by all expecting mothers and even by those not used to any regular physical activity. After their delivery, mothers can also get back into shape and tone their loosened muscles post-birth.
Who Should Avoid Prenatal Yoga?
Though prenatal yoga is considered safe, and there are various places and platforms to learn them, some specific people should avoid them. They are:
Expecting women with other health complications like bleeding.
Women anticipating complicated labour already should strictly refrain from performing these and risking two lives.
Women with congenital health issues should never experiment or attempt to see how it works for their body condition.
Women who have recently experienced a miscarriage or forceful abortion should never practice prenatal yoga immediately after the external trauma. They should give some time for the body to heal naturally.
List of Best Prenatal Yoga
Specific prenatal yoga poses help one benefit the maximum from it, and all of them are mentioned below in a stepwise manner. This allows one to understand the intensity of prenatal yoga along with its basics.
This prenatal yoga pose is more like a meditation posture, and it calms the mind by fighting stress and anxiety completely. It is also great to open up the hip region and also to reduce lower back pain. It targets both the back and hips and is done by sitting on a yoga mat by crossing the shins. The feet soles are placed on the opposite legs by facing outwards. The legs must form a triangle, and the crossed shins must create a straight line. Then by laying the hands on the knees and the palms facing up, one must hold this posture as long as possible. The holding time depends on the performer's comfort. In order to provide support, a folded blanket can be used to be seated. Then the shins are crossed the other way around, and it's repeated.
Standing Side Stretch
This prenatal yoga stretch improves the upper body flexibility and reduces back pain efficiently. It also targets the shoulders by reducing stiffness around those regions. It is done by standing in a mountain pose with the arms extended outwards. The toes must be touching each other with the heels apart. Then by raising the arms and interlacing the fingers over the head with the index finger pointing up, an arch is drawn. It is extended as far as possible by pushing the hip in the opposite direction. The arms have to be straight, and when the arm moves back to the centre position, it is done on the other side. Hold the pose for 60 seconds and perform them at least 5 times on each side. One can do the same stretch in a seated position too.
This is the simplest form of prenatal yoga and is best practised during the later trimesters as the belly becomes complete and extensive. This is a pose that targets the back, shoulder, hips and abdomen. It relieves the shoulder, opens up the hips and also reduces belly pressure. It prepares the body and back for labour that takes place during delivery. And there are two parts in performing this pose: the cat part and the cow part. It is done by getting on all fours by making sure to keep the hands in alignment with the shoulders. The thighs must be between the hips and knees and must be straight. Then comes the cow part, where the belly is lowered down by raising the butt and then lifting the head. It should resemble a downward curve from the head to the butt, and one must hole this position for a few seconds. While creating an upward curve, the person should exhale and draw the belly while moving to the upward position. One must lower the head inwards towards the belly, and this is the cat part of the pose. Both the parts are alternated with proper inhalation and exhalation. It is done in five sets in each position with no breaks in between.
Wide Knee Child's Pose
This prenatal yoga targets the back, hips and belly areas. It relieves the pressure on the growing belly by widening the hips and reducing the pain in the back portion. It further lowers stress and anxiety. This particular yoga is done by kneeling on a mat. Then the heels must be touching the butt with the big toes together. By laying on the chest down on the floor with the forehead touching the mat on the ground completely the arms are extended straight in front. The palms must be resting flat on the floor and then relax in this pose for 5 minutes. Then it can be released gently. One can perform the same pose by extending the arms backwards also rather than moving them in front. The restorative effect while performing this pose is felt at once by both mind and body.
Yoga squat is the best prenatal yoga pose to relieve hip tightness and is also used to widen the pelvis, making childbirth easy. It targets the belly, hips, and pelvis. It is done by sitting on the floor with the legs spread. Then the knees are bend upwards one at a time gently by bringing the foot close to the butt. The knees are then placed slightly wider than the shoulders. By lifting the butt, the weight is then put onto the feet and held for several seconds, depending on the fitness level. This can also be performed with a stool or block to sit for support.
Bound Angle Pose
This prenatal yoga pose targets the areas of the knees, thighs and hips, and it acts on the body by opening the hips and thighs wider during childbirth. It eases knee pain and helps to treat swollen and sore feet. It also reduces the overall body fatigue, and it is done by sitting on the floor with the legs stretched straight in front. Then by bending the knees and pulling the heels closer to the pelvis, one must drop the knees sideways as far as possible. Relax the thighs and hips and then with the soles of the feet pressing against each other. Grasp the big toe or ankle with your hands and hold this pose for 5 minutes. If there is a stiff feeling around the hips and groin, one must repeat it regularly to improve flexibility, which will help open up the hips.
This is the most relaxing pose of the entire lot. It is perfect for meditation, and it targets the mind. It is also used to combat stress that is developed during the pregnancy phase. It is done by lying on the back, but pregnant women are advised to lie on their sides to perform this as lying on the back is harmful during pregnancy. A pillow is placed under the head, knees and legs. A pillow under the belly is optional, and this pose is performed by lying relaxed. The pose is held for 5 minutes and even longer.
Standing Forward Bend
A standing forward bend is another great move to relieve back tension, and it is just a simple forward bend with the feet placed wider than usual. One must then bend the knees slightly to the hip level. The knees must stay loose and flexible by bending forward at the waist with the head dropped downwards. Then by holding onto the elbows with the opposite hands, one should push to reach the floor. One must take a few deep breaths by holding this pose, and the arm grip must be switched to the opposite arm and then continued for one more time.
Benefits of Doing Prenatal Yoga
Prenatal yoga is always a low impact kind of fitness that boosts plenty of benefits to both the mother and the baby. They are:
It lowers blood pressure.
Best Yoga for pregnant lady prevents the risk of preterm labour.
It decreases body stress.
Yoga pregnant women reduce the chances of miscarriage.
If the pregnant woman has a high heart rate by performing prenatal yoga, the heart rate can be well managed and lowered.
It decreases pregnancy-induced hypertension tremendously.
It prevents mood swings and fights depression by also with the help of meditation and breathing techniques.
Throughout pregnancy, prenatal yoga class helps to manage weight and helps one stay active.
This session trains the mother to push during labour.
Yoga for a pregnant lady stretches and strengthens the body muscles, thereby preparing it for labour and also this helps the body recover immediately after the delivery.
Prenatal yoga class also helps with both natural vaginal birth and C-section.
It tones the essential muscle groups and, most importantly, the abdomen's pelvis, hip, and core muscles.
Yoga for a pregnant lady supports the changing body and helps them cope with accelerated changes.
Yoga pregnant women promote connection with the baby.
It helps to combat insomnia and other sleeping issues through pregnancy.
Disadvantages of Doing Prenatal Yoga
There are no disadvantages or side effects associated with prenatal yoga as there are not reports recorded with any mishaps because of performing this particular yoga during pregnancy. But there are specific details on the variations of yoga in the first trimester, yoga in the second trimester and yoga for the third trimester for safety purposes.
Dos & Don'ts
The limited dos and don'ts linked with prenatal yoga are:
Always make use of the mat to have a good grip through all the stretches and poses. This prevents injury to greater extents.
The room where prenatal yoga is performed must be well ventilated and have good air circulation.
Always end every session with meditation.
Always stay hydrated while performing yoga asanas.
Wear comfortable and loose-fitting clothes to facilitate body movements easily while performing it.
Things Required to Do Prenatal Yoga if You Are at Home & Gym?
The primary things that are required to perform prenatal yoga at home or gym are:
Comfortable yoga attire
Pillows or Cushions
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