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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Prenatal Yoga For Women

By Brenda Williams

What is it? As many may know by now, or not, the word 'Yoga' is derived from an ancient Indian word which translates into "union". Yoga is a practice of poses and postures connected to the development of a person's body strength and flexibility. Different poses or postures have, in themselves, different benefits.

Although it may look easy to a stranger's eye, the alignment of postures are physically challenging for beginners, many of them may giggle at the awkwardness of their posture. I've personally thought and still think that yoga is a slow activity yet I find myself sweating profusely than any other sport that I've tried.

Prenatal Yoga (also known as pregnancy yoga) helps a pregnant mother to 'slow down', literally. During pregnancy, there will be many changes taking place in the human (mother's) body. Hormonal changes, circulatory system changes, respiratory changes, body temperature changes to name a few.

Prenatal Yoga helps and encourages women to adapt to these changes in a positive manner - positive growth. The yoga stretches and poses help in strengthening the birthing muscles, improves blood circulation, reduces backache that are common among pregnant women, reduces anxiety and postpartum yoga quickens the recovery process.

Mental Power

Yoga itself is a physical practice but it starts and ends with the mind. Firstly, free your mind and do not think of anything else during your yoga sessions. Keep in mind that you DO NOT HAVE TO worry about chores, responsibilities and a hundred other things. The priority is me, myself and I.

Second of all, be patient. Yoga is not a get-healthy-quick scheme. Yoga is health program by means of determination, persistence and perseverance. Results may not show immediately as it varies from individuals but the one thing that is certain; the most profound results of yoga are achieved after sometime and not the early stages of practice.

Last but not least, consistent by frequency is the key of yoga. Do it every day and make sure that you do it. Yoga cannot work under 'do-whenever-I-feel-like' circumstances, the right momentum is required.

Common Techniques

There are few common techniques that are recommended for pregnancy. DO NOT ATTEMPT WITHOUT FIRST SEEKING EXPERT ADVICE - I'm merely showing what it's about.

Backbend - Known as the bridge pose, is to lie on your back and bend your knees thereby lifting our hips by the strength of your thighs. This technique or posture strengthens your spine and thus spinal flexibility.

Cat and Cow Stretch - is to pose on all fours (hands and legs) like how a toddler crawls. Keep your spine straightened as a neutral pose. Cow stretch is done by attempting to look at the ceiling by first movement of the tail bone then the spine and finally the neck. Cat stretch is the opposite movement of cow stretch, attempting to look at your abdomen/stomach by first moving the tailbone, followed by spine then neck. Repeat poses alternately.

These are good for beginners to start with. For other poses, seek appropriate instructions:

Cobbler's pose, extended triangle pose, goddess pose, half-moon pose, knee to ankle pose, pelvic tilts and one-legged pigeon pose.