This past weekend I attended a yoga teacher training at the Asheville Yoga Center in western North Carolina. The training was for pre and post natal yoga. Yoga that can be used for preconception, pregnancy, labor/birthing, and bouncing back after birth. I was floored by the wonderful diversity in the group of thirty-one women who attended. Four countries were represented including Germany, New Zealand, and Lithuania. There were women teaching yoga out of herb shops, hospitals, studios, and on military bases. There was a doula there to learn more about helping her clients through yoga. There were women there who had never taught yoga before, but who had been asked to bring prenatal yoga to their communities by the women they would serve. But, the most amazing thing of all, was that everyone there was there to fulfill a need in their community. Prenatal yoga is something that pregnant women all over the country are seeking out. Why?
Women are finding that there are so many benefits to having and maintaining a yoga practice during pregnancy, that they are not only seeking to practice yoga in their homes, but they want to practice under the direction of a trained yoga teacher. Practicing yoga throughout your pregnancy and labor does a great deal to keep you comfortable, release tension, help you connect with your body, prepare your body for labor, become mindful, improve your moods, maintain a healthy pregnancy, and help you regain your strength after birth.
I truly believe that yoga is a perfect form of exercise for pregnancy along with walking and swimming. It is not only a physical practice, but a mental one as well. Depending on how we approach our practice we can connect it to our spirituality no matter what our religious beliefs. Yoga is gentle, and encourages the practitioner not to over do it, and to listen to their body’s cues. This is an excellent thing to practice prior to labor as a means to help you work with your laboring body on your baby’s birthday.
It is never too late to begin a yoga practice while you are pregnant. In any trimester, and no matter how you are feeling there is yoga that is doable for you. Whether it be asanas (poses), pranayama (breathwork), or the combination of the two, yoga has something to offer all pregnant women. In fact, pregnancy might arguably be the perfect time to begin a yoga practice. The hormone relaxin is present in large amounts throughout pregnancy to help ease your body into opening to bring forth the birth of your baby. You gain your greatest flexibility during pregnancy, and can keep that flexibility afterward with a consistent yoga practice. But, yoga isn’t all about flexibility as some would believe, and that is not a pre-requisite to practicing. Yoga is about “union” of the mind, body, and breath – and in pregnancy developing a connection to your baby in the womb. You meet yourself where you are in physical ability, and you learn techniques to live a more centered and relaxed lifestyle even in the midst of chaos, which is an awesome skill for motherhood.
I’m so excited to be able to offer prenatal and postnatal yoga to my childbirth classes as a means to prepare for labor and through my services as a labor support person. Along with Heather Bates Vice of (North Fork Yoga), I will be offering prenatal yoga classes in our area. Check with the Birth True website for updates on scheduling. There is also a plethora of DVDs for prenatal yoga to choose from. My favorites are by Shiva Rea and Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa. Before taking up a yoga practice for the first time, consult your healthcare provider and be sure that you are healthy enough for exercise. If you have any questions about yoga during pregnancy, feel free to contact me or Heather via email @ firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Many happy days to you and yours,