One of our newest Success By 6 spots features the benefits for pregnant women who exercise regularly. In addition to walking, cycling, and swimming, yoga is another option that can be very beneficial to pregnant moms. Cara Wright has been teaching yoga since 1998, and she has a degree in Community Health Education. She's also a trained birth doula. Here, she answers some questions on the benefits of yoga for expectant mothers.
Q: What are the benefits of taking a pre-natal yoga class?
Experience clarity of mind and self confidence; Decrease back pain, sciatica, swelling of the ankles and feet, constipation, varicose veins, nausea; Strengthen uterine and pelvic muscles; Improve circulation and aid digestion; Strengthen your body and increase endurance and flexibility.
Q: If you haven't participated in yoga before, is it safe to start when you are pregnant?
Absolutely! Many women first find yoga during pregnancy and then continue with their practice throughout their lives:) It is safe to take yoga throughout all trimesters. Pregnancy is a very different and specific physiological state and I always recommend that if you are new to it you find a class that is for pregnancy, and that the teacher has specific training for that.
Q: What are the benefits of yoga for a pregnant woman versus traditional exercises like walking, swimming, or cycling?
Yoga is a tradition that provides a holistic approach to the body, mind and spirit. It is supportive in all those areas. Physically there are many benefits, mentioned above. It gives women a time to connect with their baby, which is hard to do in our busy culture. Women also benefit from being around other women going through the same experience. I believe that connectiveness is something that unconsciously pregnant women crave and when we can fulfill that piece it gives them a more grounded sense of this process.
Q: If you practice yoga regularly, will it play a role in an easier labor?
Yes, Yoga first of all helps you connect mind, body and breath, which is invaluable during the birth experience. It also helps strengthen and at the same time relax tension in key areas of the body that play a huge role in birth. Like low back, pelvis, uterus, pelvic floor etc. Also as you get closer to your birth it is important to give your body ample movement for the baby to get into the most optimal birth position, and the position of the baby during labor can affect many things. Including length, intensity, even lowering a woman's chance of cesarean section.
Q: What about after the baby is born- how does yoga plays a role in recovery from birth?
Gentle yoga poses are taught to help you strengthen, energize, and tone your whole body while deepening your sense of well-being. Class focuses on specific areas such as neck and shoulders, abdominals, lower back and pelvis. Infants are included to help the time your spend deepen your connection to your baby as well as yourself.
You can learn more about Cara's Yoga classes at www.anamcarayogacenter.com .