Yoga During Pregnancy
In recent years, yoga has gained worldwide popularity of unprecedented proportion. Health benefits attributed to this practice are one major reason for the growth and following of yoga. Evidence supports that when performed properly, yoga can improve internal and external aspects of the body. Blood pressure decreases, toxins are released from the body, and strength and flexibility increase. Those who practice yoga also benefit mentally, leading more peaceful lives and generally feeling less stressed.
Yoga has also more recently attracted a larger following of pregnant women to increase their energy, and rid their bodies of pain and nausea commonly associated with pregnancy. Unlike some workouts, yoga should never harm the body or cause it great pain. Practicing yoga is a healthy way to stay fit during the nine month gestation period. Breathing techniques and meditation used in yoga are beneficial to labor.
During a woman’s pregnancy, the body changes dramatically. Yoga can help a woman to welcome these changes, and take the time to live in the “now” of pregnancy, rather than feel as if pregnancy is a waiting period before birth. Meditation calms the mind and reduces negative thoughts of one about themself, and others around them, thus improving the yogis mental health.
Although yoga can improve a woman’s health during pregnancy, there are yoga postures that should not be performed, specifically when they call for the woman to lie on her stomach. Yoga, including yoga for pregnancy, should be performed under the instruction of a video, or yoga teacher. These experienced yogis can direct you to poses that reduce pain and swelling of the lower body, and correct the issues that weight gain presents to a woman’s posture. Specific postures such as squats can better prepare the body for childbirth. As a woman’s pregnancy continues, her joints will loosen (some women even require a larger size for shoes!), but yoga allows the strengthening and flexibility of these joints.
The nervous system in the human body – sympathetic and parasympathetic – cause entirely different reactions in the body. The sympathetic nervous system works to prepare the body for distress by raising the blood pressure, and releasing stress hormones into the blood stream. The breaths will increase in numbers per minute to accommodate the other fast-paced functions. This “fight or flight” response was originally for protecting our bodies against dangerous predators, but more modernly these symptoms may come about for a number of reasons: stress, anger, and frustration, which are all negative feelings. The sympathetic nervous system can cause health issues such as ulcers and migraines because of negative energy. During a pregnancy, this energy also affects the baby, as it feels the same effects as the mother during times of distress.
The parasympathetic nervous system controls different functions to basically undo the symptoms brought on by the sympathetic nervous system. Blood pressure and breathing return to normal. Blood once again travels to vital organs and all over the body. Studies support the idea that deep breathing promotes health in the body by relaxing it to allow healing.
By harboring a baby in your belly, you are allowing a being to grow safely under your care, but many women don’t know how many things actually affect their pregnancy; oxygen is shared by the baby, the baby can feel what the mother feels. Yoga can help ease the minds of two, and you can relax during this sometimes difficult state. A child learns many things inside the womb that it would not otherwise learn on earth.