Saturday, November 15, 2014

Why Prenatal Is So Beneficial

Hi friends!
So you may have figured out that I teach prenatal yoga...and you may have even noticed that I am pretty passionate about it. You also may be wondering why I think it is so beneficial. Sure it's good to move your body and "exercise" right? Yes, but when you are pregnant, the specific movements that you will find in a prenatal class can not only impact your new body, but the life growing inside it as well.

Say whaaaat.

I know. So, here is a little (by all means NOT inclusive) list of why you should consider doing Prenatal Yoga when you are pregnant:

Breath Awareness
This is something you should find in any good yoga class. There are three parts to yoga: asana (poses), meditation, and breath. Bringing attention to the breath has a calming effect on the mind and thus the body. When you are asked to focus on your breath in class (you will usually be taught a breath such as Ujjayi or 3 Part Breath)your drawing your attention inward. Your breaths are deeper, more penetrating. You bring awareness into filling the belly, expanding the rib cage, and lifting the chest. Your oxygen levels literally power up! Amazing. For pregnant women, this can mean bringing the breath back into tight spaces that have been replaced by a growing babe. Having awareness and control of the breath also comes handy when it comes to labor and delivery, regardless of your birth plan. Taking yoga class early in your pregnancy will help you to learn about breathing techniques sooner and help you to use them when it is time to deliver your baby.

Strengthening of the Pelvic Floor
The pelvic floor is a hammock of muscles that form a bowl attached to the pelvis. This muscle supports the vital reproductive and digestion organs, as well as the baby during pregnancy. Why is knowing this important? Well the weight that accumulates on the pelvic floor while pregnant weakens it, which can cause a multitude of problems down the road including prolapse or sagging of the uterus, bladder, and rectum and urinary/stool incontinence. Yikes right? In prenatal yoga classes, you are taught how to strengthen your pelvic floor with the asana and breath. After you go through the process of delivering and stretching all those muscles, you can use these techniques to strengthen them back up. Even if you are having a cesarean section, there is still weight put on the pelvic floor during pregnancy, so these exercises are still very beneficial to you.

Aches, Pains, & Circulation
It's no secret that your body will change while pregnant. Your center of gravity will shift as you get bigger, your blood circulation will be directed towards the baby causing swelling in the extremities, and your shoulders and backs will ache as the number on scale goes up. Fun stuff. So how does yoga help? Well for starters, we work on poses that will ease tension in the typically painful areas of the body during pregnancy. Hint, there are a lot of hip openers! Which are juicy poses for everyone, not just expecting mommas. Hip opening poses such as pigeon, goddess, and bound ankle pose release the lower back, stretch the adductor muscle, and relieve tension. Balancing postures such as tree pose, warrior 3 at the wall, and warrior 2 increase blood circulation throughout the legs, decreasing the chance of blood clots forming and swelling. These postures, modified and done safely, will provide the ultimate relief for any aches and pains associated with pregnancy. Restorative yoga, again modified for a pregnant woman, can also provide deep relaxation and releasing of the muscles.

Prenatal classes are also fun! They are a chance to meet other moms and they provide a moment to bond with your growing baby. They pull together movement with breath and meditation to form a truly unique experience. Check out your local prenatal classes!

You can find myself teaching at Spa Lamar in Scottsdale and Aloha Yoga in Chandler.
Tempe moms, stay tuned for Prenatal coming to you very soon :)

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