There is so much conflicting information out there about what you can and can not do during pregnancy. The real problem I think is that people who don't understand pregnant anatomy is trying to draw conclusions about what is safe and what isn't. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, prenatal yoga is one of the safest forms of exercise during pregnancy.
I wanted to share with you some of the ways yoga can benefit you during your pregnancy.
Focusing on your breath can be your single greatest tool to find a moment of rest and relief during your pregnancy and in labor. Yoga practice can help you bring awareness to your breath, bringing increased oxygen to your blood and brain. It can help you energize the body while focusing the mind.
Yoga mindfulness practice can help reduce anxiety, depression and stress associated with pregnancy. Yoga offers mindfulness benefits through movements of yoga postures, but also in stillness and meditative yoga practices.
As your body changes during pregnancy, you can start to feel out of balance and overwhelmed. Your body begins to change shape and your strength, digestive system, senses, sleep, and energy follow. It's during this time that you needs extra love and support to feel good. Your body is dedicating resources to grow your healthy baby and preparing your body for birth. Yoga can help with keeping the body strong, balanced, and lead to self-love and acceptance.
Sending love to your baby through a dedicated yoga practice can help build a healthy emotional connection. Through yoga we mindfully send positive energy to baby, opening space for love to flow and bring joy and awareness to the beauty of pregnancy. Prenatal yoga offers space for connection.
Many women have shared the sentiment that childbirth is like a marathon. Whether you're planning a natural birth, a cesarean section or other medicated options, it's best to prepare your body and mind for an intense experience. Yoga during pregnancy offers benefits to hip flexibility, strengthening your pelvic floor, building physical endurance and offering breath and mindfulness practice that pay off big time on the big day, as well as supporting you with a quick post-birth recovery.
Prenatal yoga helps prime your physical body and your mental state for what's coming and gives you a solid foundation for recovery. Post-natal yoga classes focus on healing, strengthening and connection safely.
Last year I caused some damage in my knee that required surgery. With my knee being injured, it became unstable and other muscles jumped to the rescue. The body likes to be in balance, and when it’s not it will try to get itself back into balance. My hip began hurting, then my back, and then my shoulder. My body was creating a chain reaction of compensation to counter the instability in my knee. When I was given permission to use my knee again, it began with rehabilitation.
It’s similar to what happens to our bodies during pregnancy. As the baby grows, our core muscles become weaker and more strained. As a result, the spine and pelvis become more unstable and other muscles kick in to compensate. Our paraspinal muscles (muscles that support your back), take up the slack and become tight. The psoas (muscles that helps move your legs) begins to start stabilizing the spine, causing your hip flexors to get really tight. Your TFL (a muscle in your hip that helps stabilize your hip and knee with help from your glutes) starts working hard to stabilize the pelvis. With its attention going elsewhere, your glutes are no longer firing and they get weak.
Fast forward to after birth, and now you have a weak core, weak pelvic floor, and your back, hips, and glutes have taken up other jobs and none of its working like it’s supposed to. If this were any other injury, your physical therapist would tell you to balance out the other muscles before going back to “normal” so that you don’t injure yourself. In pregnancy, we are told to rest for 6 weeks and then just go back to normal. If we try to go back to normal without strengthening the core first, the compensating muscles have to work even harder and become strained. This leads to injury down the road.
Be gentle with your recovery. Rebuild muscles in your core that have become weak. Stretch and release tension that has built up in the hip flexors and back. Once you get muscles working the way they are supposed to, it’s then safe to return back to normal. Yoga is a great way to recover safely. If you’re interested in working with me to create a customized plan to rebuild your core safely, let’s chat! You can set up a free 30 minute consultation here!