What is yoga?
Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that originated in ancient India, designed to engage the entire body. It focuses on breathing, centering the mind, body awareness, stretching, strengthening muscles, balance and relaxation.
The class starts with long slow breaths and centering of the mind. Participants are asked to calm the mind and focus on their breathing. Long slow breaths that are designed to slow the body down and bring awareness to the body.
Muscles are lengthened through holding poses for long periods of time. Participants are encouraged to push through the stretch with every exhalation to increase the depth of their stretch and flexibility.
A variety of poses are held for long periods of time engaging specific muscles groups. Participants are encouraged to breathe and focus on the muscles that are engaged.
Participants are encouraged to focus on an area in the room and ground themselves through the body part that is touching the floor.
The class always ends with some relaxation and time to reflect on their practice and positive energy in our lives.
Benefits of prenatal yoga
- Prepares the body for labor/childbirth;
- Promotes a healthy pregnancy;
- Helps to reduce stress/anxiety;
- Helps to promote your baby’s good health;
- Improves endurance;
- Improves strength and flexibility;
- Relieves tension in the shoulders, neck, hips, chest and back;
- Can help to improve your quality of sleep;
- Improves balance; and
- Provides an opportunity to socialise.
Is it safe?
It is always advised to visit your health care provider first before starting any form of exercise when pregnant. It is also recommended to speak to your yoga instructor before the lesson to inform him or her that you are pregnant. Because some poses may need to be modified for you depending on the class.
Avoid Bikram yoga (hot yoga). Bikram yoga is performed in a hot room and may not be suitable for pregnant women.
Listen to your body and pace yourself. Be realistic about your body’s limitations and don’t compete with anyone else. Start in a beginner’s class and should you feel any aches or pains that feel unnatural stop immediately. And remember to keep well hydrated. Take a bottle of water with you and be sure to sip water throughout the class. Also, be sure to keep cool in a well-ventilated room.
And very importantly, listen to instructions and modify poses where necessary.
What should I take?
Wear appropriate workout gear that is comfortable and does not restrict your movements. Avoid overly loose-fitting garments that can get caught or cause you to trip.
- Fitted legging or footless tight;
- Maternity bra that provides flexibility, support and comfort;
- Your own yoga mat for hygiene;
- Bottle of water; and
- Small towel to wipe any perspiration.
And remember to ENJOY yourself. It is important to take part in activities that make you happy and support your mental health.
This article was written by Tracey Montford.
Like many women out there, Tracey Montford is an exceptional multi-tasker! Apart from steering a global business, managing 2 young boys and keeping the clan clean and fed. Tracey still finds time to provide creative inspiration and direction to the exceptional designs of Cake Maternity. From the branding, presentation and delivery, creativity is a big part of what Tracey does so naturally and effectively. Find out more at https://au.cakematernity.com or catch up with her on Twitter.