Prenatal Yoga is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and your developing baby.
Preparing your body for labor and motherhood is the goal of Prenatal Yoga. Using the breathing techniques associated with yoga can help you in the labor and delivery process. Many yoga postures that are focused on opening up the hips or pelvic floor muscles, will help prepare for natural childbirth and may help ease labor and delivery by increasing strength, flexibility and endurance of the muscles needed for childbirth. During pregnancy, the body produces the hormone relaxin, which softens the connective tissue. Yoga postures can help to stabilize and strengthen the sacroiliac joints and promote flexibility in the muscles and fascia. Breathing is the most essential part of prenatal yoga, however, it is important to avoid any kind of breath retention, which can limit the baby's oxygen supply. As correct breathing nurtures the circulatory, cardiovascular, endocrine, digestive, and nervous system, sleep becomes more sound and stress and anxiety are reduced.
During pregnancy, the volume of blood in the body expands 40 to 60 percent to support the fetus and placenta. The blood circulates faster, the rate of metabolism increases, and the resting heart rate rises. You are using up your body's sugar faster, as important reserves are being used to support the health of the placenta and fetus. To meet the needs of your changing metabolism, it is important to eat a light snack about an hour before class and drink plenty of liquids. Support for the lower back and pelvis may be achieved using props, such as blocks, blankets, and bolsters to ensure proper alignment and to avoid putting too much pressure on the joints.
If you are brand new to yoga and pregnant, Danielle strongly recommends registering for her Private Beginner Yoga Series to learn the poses and modifications associated with a safe pre- and postnatal yoga practice. This Month-long Beginner Series is designed to help one increase strength, endurance, and flexibility by working with Danielle to create balance in the body and calmness in the mind using various breathing techniques within flowing sequences of fundamental yoga postures. Each gentle flow class integrates breath, movement and relaxation, along with the application of precise alignment, visualization and intention. This Beginner Series is available for individuals and small groups in the convenience of their own home. Classes are 75 minutes long and are designed for beginner yoga students. The Month-long Beginner Series Schedule is 2 private yoga classes per week for 4 consecutive weeks.
Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
1. Develops Stamina and Strength-
As your baby grows within our body, more energy and strength is needed to be able to carry the weight. Yoga poses strengthen the hips, back, arms and shoulders.
2. Preparation for Labor- You are working with conscious breathing during each yoga pose, which may sometimes be challenging. This transfers into the time of labor, allowing one to practice being “comfortable with the uncomfortable” through breathwork. As you inhale, you acknowledge the tension that is felt. As you deeply exhale, you learn to let go of it more and more with each breath.
3. Balance- Balance is challenged physically as the fetus grows within our body. Emotionally you are drained due to the increases in progesterone and estrogen. As you focus on holding and breathing through each yoga pose, you are able to fine tune your balance, physically and emotionally.
4. Connection with Your Baby- A prenatal yoga practice allows you to slow down and focus attention on what is going on within your bodies. Through combining breath with movement, you become more aware of what is going on within.
5. Calms the Sympathetic Nervous System (Fight or Flight Response)- Through deep breathing, the nervous system goes into Parasympathetic mode (Rest and Digest), which is responsible for relaxation. When our bodies are in that mode, our digestive system operates properly, you may tend to sleep better, and your immune system is at its optimal.
6. Increases Circulation- Circulation is enhanced within your joints and your muscles are elongated during yoga. Upon circulation of the blood within your body, swelling is decreased and your immunity is enhanced, creating a healthy environment for a thriving baby.
7. Relieves tension in the lower back, hips, chest, upper back, neck and shoulders- As your baby grows, more stress is put upon these specific muscle groups in our bodies. We tend to have more of a lower back curve due to the increased size of our bellies. The hips get tighter due to the added pressure of the baby’s weight in your belly. As your breasts increase in size, your upper back and chest have more tension, along with your neck and shoulders.
8. Nurturing Time- This time allows you to stop and slow down from your busy days. Through the practice of yoga, you are setting intention in taking care of not only yourself, but of your precious baby.
9. Breathwork Practice- This is a good tool for labor during contractions. If you are consciously breathing, your blood pressure and heart rate is regulated keeping you in parasympathetic/relaxation mode. A Calm Mama = A Calm & Healthy Baby.