There are SO many benefits of incorporating Yoga into your daily routine while pregnant.
Beyond the obvious physical benefits like building strength, stamina, and balance, increasing energy, and relieving the common discomforts of pregnancy, there are many mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits as well.
A major component of any Yoga practice is breath work. Tuning in to your breath, noticing its flow as it moves in, through, and out of the body helps you to feel grounded and centred. This aids in calming the nervous systems of both you and your baby. Being in a more relaxed state decreases tension and stress, reduces anxiety, allows more positive hormones to be transferred to the baby, improves sleep, and can help you retain a sense of peace and calm throughout the many transitions of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.
Attending a prenatal class with other expecting mamas is a great way to connect with others who are in the same phase of life as yourself. Community building at this time is so important! Having others to share all of the ups and downs with who understand what you are experiencing is vital for your mental and emotional wellbeing. These classes offer a safe environment to share discomforts, joys, fears, and questions, allowing for the sharing of knowledge and the passing down of a legacy of wisdom.
Many of the poses and techniques taught in prenatal Yoga will benefit you during childbirth such as various labouring and birthing positions, breath practices, meditations and affirmations. Having dedicated time to devote to these practices during pregnancy will prepare you physically, mentally, and emotionally for the birthing process.
Prenatal Yoga paves the way to creating a welcoming space in body and mind, a time of connection, rest, and a nurturing of self, all while deepening your bond with your baby.
As with all forms of exercise, it’s important to have the go-ahead from your healthcare provider before beginning any kind of routine. There are many different approaches to prenatal exercise, so be sure to ask lots of questions of potential teachers to be sure their class will be the right fit for you.
In my classes I take a gentler, more restorative approach to the asanas. I believe your body is already working so hard building this new life inside of you, and with our busy day-to-day lifestyles we often don't give ourselves adequate time to truly rest and replenish our minds and bodies. Breath work, meditations, affirmations, birth prep, and discussions around topics relating to the prenatal and immediate postpartum period help round out the classes.
I personally have experienced the many benefits of a regular yoga practice throughout pregnancy and postpartum, and during the birthing process (x3!). And the benefits don't stop there. Maintaining a sense of peace and calm, and being able to take a step back from my surroundings to be in more of a witness state helps me to be less reactionary and more responsive. Which benefits not only myself, but also my partner and my children. This mindfulness is an ongoing process, that is why it is called a practice! But with continued practice the effects ripple out to our families, our communities, and ultimately, out to the world at large.
For a great visual of the ripple effect our practices have, check out the video below of this cute frog singing his heart out!
The practice of surrender
I talk a lot about surrender and its importance during pregnancy, birthing, and especially postpartum. Parenting is all about surrender! There may be things that you want to do or things that need to be done, but our little ones have a way of derailing us and sending us in a different direction. And if we're not in the mindset to be able to adapt and shift gears, it can cause us a lot of stress! There is no better teacher than our child on how to be fully present and to live for the moment we are in. Just watch a child absorbed in their play, their imaginations in full swing, and you will see exactly what I mean.
For me, this is where my Yoga practice and training really comes into focus. Being able to fully relax, breathe, and to let go of any expectations or outcomes, accepting the moment for what it is and finding the beauty that lies within.
It's not always easy and I don't always get it perfect. That's why it's called a practice! We are continually being presented with challenges that allow us to step into this practice. Taking each moment as it comes and choosing to be present with it. With love.
Surrendering doesn't just apply to parenthood either, it can be applied to all aspects of our lives.
When we push back against whatever is happening in our lives, whether in our minds or our bodies, we create unnecessary stress and tension that does nothing to alleviate the situation. It in fact makes it worse.
Surrendering does not mean giving up or giving in. It is a gentle acceptance of what is. A noticing. An awareness. A letting go of any attachment to a certain outcome.
If we can do this, there can be a beautiful unfolding, revelations can be had, and new ways of being discovered.
With our current global situation we are being given ample opportunity to practice surrender.
This is the perfect time to slow down, become aware of our breath, move our bodies in gentle ways, and to meditate.
We may not have control over what is happening in our communities, our countries, or the world at large, but we do have control over our thoughts, our words, and our actions.
What are you doing today to find a place of calm and stillness within yourself?
Maybe it is staying off of social media and not watching the news. Stepping outside and taking a few deep breaths in and out of the nose with your eyes closed. Relaxing your shoulders and your jaw. Smiling. Turning your face up to the sunshine and absorbing its warmth and energy. Thinking of something you are grateful for and stating it out loud. Practicing Yoga (especially restorative).
The more we can all practice this, the more it will create a ripple effect around us. To our families, our friends, our communities, cities, countries, and ultimately, out into the world.
As Mahatma Gandhi so simply stated, "We must be the change we wish to see in the world."
Affirmation cards by Renegade Mama
Hi! I'm a Mama of 3, an Ayurveda Spa Specialist, Pre and Post Natal Yoga Teacher, Postpartum Facilitator, and Postpartum Doula. I am passionate about caring for birthers during the Sacred Window of postpartum, and educating others on how to care for the new families in their lives.