Yoga builds strength”One of the best things about yoga is it makes you stronger all over,” says Santa Monica YogaWorks instructor Julie Jacobs. You’ll need that strength in your lower body to carry the added pregnancy weight and compensate for changes in balance. And you’ll need it in your upper body to handle the weight you’ll be carrying around for the year or so after birth… your baby!
2: Yoga helps relieve aches and pains
Back pain is a common pregnancy complaint, often worsening as the weight of the uterus (and the baby in it) increases. Prenatal yoga strengthens the muscles that support this weight, taking pressure off the lower back. Many women experience irritation of the sciatic nerve during pregnancy, and yoga can also be great for this. The pigeon pose and half-moon pose can stretch this area to relieve pain, and inversions can help make space in the pelvis to lessen irritation.
3: Yoga teaches you to breathe
Breathing exercises can be incredibly helpful during pregnancy for calming and centering purposes, and to maximize oxygen flow when you need it. Breath control is an invaluable asset for pain management in labor and birth, especially for those hoping to forego medical pain relief options.
4: Yoga teaches balance
As weight and body shape changes, pregnant women can feel wonky and wobbly. Balancing asanas, like the tree pose and the half-moon pose, help women get comfortable with their changing center of gravity, while poses like the downward dog and the warrior will help stretch and strengthen the muscles required to counterbalance the big belly.
5: Yoga helps you open your hips for childbirth
Not only does yoga make your body stronger all over (a huge asset in childbirth), but as your pregnancy progresses, your practice can be tailored to focus more directly on birth preparation. Squats and other hip-opening poses can help your baby get into position and help with pushing. Some yoga teachers will work directly with women in the end of the last trimester to give them tools to cope with pain and ease childbirth.
by Rebecca Odes
Stay tuned next week to see 5 more benefits of prenatal yoga.!