If you've practiced yoga, you'll know it can be incredibly beneficial for overall health and wellness. It's the same story for pregnant women, with a regular yoga practice – known as prenatal yoga – being credited with creating healthier, more relaxed pregnancies.
Here we look at 4 great reasons to don the yoga pants and get into the prenatal poses:
1. Prenatal Yoga Lowers Stress
Anecdotal evidence points to prenatal yoga relieving stress for expecting mothers. By focusing the breath, taking time out and centering oneself, relaxation results and the mum-to-be reconnects with herself and her baby.
Some yoga practitioners say breathwork in prenatal yoga allows women to focus on making room for the baby. "Art of Attention" author Elena Brower was quoted by the Huffington Post as saying "it makes space in our bodies that we need for the baby and for ourselves…[it helps] us be patient and realise there's time for everything."
2. Prenatal Yoga Builds Strength
From stress to strength – prenatal yoga has been said to bolster the body and prepare it for pregnancy and childbirth. And it's not just focused on one area – mums-to-be can enjoy increased strength all over, particularly in the lower back where it's needed the most.
It also strengthenes muscles, so they can support the baby's weight. Try the half-moon or pigeon pose to relieve the sciatic nerve, which can become irritated.
3. Prenatal Yoga Balances the Body
It's an unfortunate fact that many women are concerned about putting on extra weight when pregnant. While we should all love our bodies, especially at the precious stages of pregnancy, it's understandable to want to stay healthy before and during the birth.
Prenatal yoga can help, by keeping the body, mind and spirit in balance. It also allows pregnant women to feel confident in their body, as they burn energy, build stamina and improve muscular strength.
4. Prenatal Yoga Gets You Ready for Baby
Another wonderful benefit of prenatal yoga is that is stretches the hips. Some movements, such as squats, are especially good at opening up the hips – which is why many women practise prenatal yoga right up until childbirth.
Prenatal yoga is a gentle practice that helps expecting mums to balance their bodies, focus their minds and enjoy the entire journey of pregnancy to childbirth.
Find a yoga class in your area to try it for yourself.Originally published on Oct 27, 2014