by Janice Clarfield
What is YOGA? The word yoga is translated from Sanskrit to mean union, that is union of the body, mind and spirit. From a yogic point of view, life is to be enjoyed and experienced fully. With pregnancy, there is more joy.
What is PREGNANCY YOGA? Pregnancy yoga is the nurturing activity undertaken when time is spent (a little or a lot) to gently relax, release and attune to your body and your rapidly growing baby within. The natural, vital and restorative energies of the body and mind are enhanced through gentle yoga postures.
When pregnant, one feels the strains of the ever changing body, particularly the new demands upon the back. Yoga work counterbalances the growing abdomen and maintains good posture. Stretching while strengthening helps to release the pelvic opening in preparation for birth. Toning the pelvic floor allows for a more controlled birthing, lessens complications and enhances post natal healing.
Breath work is practiced in preparation for responding to labour by coordinating with the rhythms of contractions. Breathing awareness is essential for relaxation, comfort and confidence.
Just being in your body that is home for two is a yoga. Your pregnant body is naturally and miraculously in a state of enhanced energy and creativity. Taking time to pause from the stream of day to day activity to connect with your body enables you to experience and enjoy these augmented senses.
With hormonal changes, emotions are also heightened. Whether they be in the realm of joy or sorrow, love or anger, feelings may be experienced with surprising depth and in rapidly changing rhythms. Noticing and allowing yourself to feel your emotions fully has a positive effect on your health and therefore on your baby's health too.
All women experience some fear of labour. A simple foundation in yoga prepares you to face childbirth with courage. To be relaxed and confident during labour reduces fear, tension and fatigue. Flexibility and calm ease the birthing process, thus reducing pain and increasing the joy of giving birth.
While practicing yoga, your relationship with your baby deepens--physically, mentally and spiritually. It is a time to be mindful that you are engaged in the creation of new life, and to be attentive to the impact of this major life passage. Taking time in this way allows the quickly passing nine months to be cherished.
Even if you have never practiced yoga before, being pregnant can provide the motivation for beginning this healthful practice which will hasten your recovery, and that you can carry on long after your baby is born. You will find that your practice will become a source of strength and love, during and after pregnancy.
Janice Clarfield teaches Pregnancy Yoga as well as yoga for adults of all bodies and ages. Janice also trains professionals internationally to work with pregnant woman and expectant couples.
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