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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

Planning to start with yoga lessons during pregnancy? The following benefits of prenatal yoga will help you make up your mind.

Yoga, the age old disciple of exercise originated in India. Although, Yoga has been popular in Asian civilizations for so many centuries, it’s only now that the western world too has realized how beneficial it can be, both for the mind and the body. Speaking of its benefits, yoga is especially known to aid in prenatal care. So, if you are pregnant and wondering what are the benefits of prenatal yoga, here are some of them explained in detail.

Benefits of Yoga During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, the best way to exercise and keep yourself physically and mentally fit, is by combining yoga with walking. For doing yoga, you have two options i.e. either you can join a yoga class and practice it under a trained teacher or you can purchase yoga DVDs and do it yourself at home itself. If you are someone who has never done yoga before, it is advised that you join a yoga class so that you know exactly how a particular yoga pose has to be performed. Another of the benefits of joining a yoga class is that you will get the company of other expectant mothers and thus can share knowledge and tips on pregnancy and baby care with them. In the end, whichever way you plan to do it, you will surely enjoy the following benefits of prenatal yoga.

Improves Blood Circulation

Yoga is known to improve blood circulation in the body. During pregnancy, water retention resulting in swelling is very commonly experienced by women. However, if a woman undertakes yoga, it brings down the swelling and inflammation in the feet and legs to a great extent, thus reducing the discomfort of the pregnant woman.

Enhances Flexibility

One of the benefits of prenatal yoga for pregnant women is that it increases the flexibility of the muscles of the body. When a pregnant woman does yoga, it stretches her muscles and tones them. This makes the muscles very strong, which is a good thing during pregnancy. Women who suffer from lower back pain can especially benefit from yoga as it stretches the back muscles, improves the posture which otherwise undergoes a wide change during pregnancy, thus relieving back pain in the process.

Relieves Stress

As everyone knows, yoga not only maintains the physical well being, but also greatly contributes to mental well being. During pregnancy, when a woman undergoes so many physical changes, when hormones are playing havoc with her system, when she is not able to do so many things that she was used to doing before, when she suffers from bodily pains, not to mention morning sickness, headaches and nausea, she is bound to feel very agitated. This is where the various prenatal yoga poses help. They help her maintain a calm mind and reduce any mental and physical stress that she might be going through.

Prepares for Labor

One of the Yoga techniques that is taught to pregnant women is to locate tension in their bodies and then release it. This is one of the main benefits of prenatal yoga when a woman goes in labor. Due to this technique, the pregnant woman does not feel tense every time she experiences a contraction. This yoga exercise makes her labor less painful than usual.

Enhances Oxygen in the Body

As various breathing exercises are also a part of prenatal yoga, a pregnant woman learns to breathe appropriately while doing yoga. This increases the amount of oxygen in the body, which is beneficial for the health of both the mother and the unborn child.

These are some of the benefits of prenatal yoga. During pregnancy, you should be very careful of the exercises that you undertake. First of all, if you plan to start with yoga, consult a doctor. Only once the doctor recommends you to go ahead, that you should start with this regimen. Secondly, choose the yoga poses carefully. Some of the popular prenatal yoga poses are - Cobbler's Pose, Downward-facing Dog Pose, Tree Pose, Warrior Pose, Squatting and Cat-cow Pose. Although these poses are safe during pregnancy, still if you feel any discomfort while doing them, tell your yoga instructor immediately. Lastly, drink enough water throughout the day and during exercise to keep the body hydrated. If you keep these tips in mind, you can definitely benefit a lot from prenatal yoga.

Source: Aastha Dogra, Buzzle