Many expecting parents struggle to find the mental capacity and physical motivation to complete a workout. However, even on the days when going for a walk sounds difficult, yoga is achievable from a seated, rested, or standing position. This makes prenatal yoga easy to accomplish while offering a range of advantages to the expecting practitioner. Below, we explore the benefits of practicing yoga while pregnant to help you find the rhythm of movement that works best for your pregnancy.
Understanding Prenatal Yoga
Prenatal yoga is a specific style of yoga designed for expecting women. The poses and sequences bring increased attention to the various parts of the body experiencing the most physical change or tension, offering the expecting practitioner the opportunity to shift their awareness inward and release these sources of tension.
It’s essential to note that anyone interested in practicing prenatal yoga should consult their primary care team to understand the safety and risks. They should also practice only poses and sequences they are capable of at a given time.
Why Prenatal Yoga Might Work for You
For a healthy pregnancy, getting up to 30 minutes of lightweight movement each day is generally best for encouraging optimal health markers for things such as sleep, mood, strength, and reduced tension or pain. If your typical workouts are too difficult and going for a brisk walk isn’t satisfactory, incorporating a prenatal yoga practice can bring more defined prenatal bodywork into your day.
The typical prenatal yoga practice will contain six common yoga poses, including cat-cow, mountain, and triangle, to name a few. But a typical 30-minute flow will take the expecting practitioner on a small journey that ranges in asanas and intensity to target the whole body, specifically the hips and back.
Prenatal Yoga Benefits
In addition to improved sleep and mood and achieving the baseline for daily movement, practicing prenatal yoga can offer many benefits to the practitioner. A common benefit many people experience is the reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression. The intentional breath work and shifted inward focus allow the practitioner to place their worries on hold and let their nervous system relax. When their cortisol levels begin to drop, the practitioner can let go of stagnant stressors and take control of their emotions.
Another essential benefit of practicing prenatal yoga is the improved labor experience. The intentional design of a prenatal yoga sequence brings more focus to the hips and lower back area, leading to increased strength, flexibility, and confidence. These areas are the driving forces behind a healthy vaginal delivery.
Incorporating prenatal yoga into your daily routine doesn’t have to be complex. It’s essential to gain clarity from your care team to understand if prenatal yoga is right for you as well as to lean into the trust that your body is capable. Good luck with labor and delivery, and namaste, mama!