Yoga for Pregnancy: Ancient wisdom for the modern mother-to-be.
by Antenatal and Postnatal Yoga Teacher Brigid Godwin
Today I received news from one of my students that her baby girl had arrived safely, the third message of it’s kind this month. I’ve been getting these wonderful moments of joy for the last 10 years and each time I feel delighted, relieved and privileged to be party to such special news.
Women start attending my pregnancy yoga classes anytime from 14 weeks and usually carry on until they have their babies. Yoga for pregnancy is an adapted way of teaching postures and breath work that have been around for arguably the last 5000 years. It is one of the best preparations you can do for what is unquestionably one of the most intensely physical and emotional experiences of any woman’s life. Physically, yoga offers a huge range of safe movements that keep the joints healthy and the muscles strong and flexible. It can help relieve many of the common pregnancy related niggles like back and pelvic pain and helps to build stamina which will help you stay active during labour. Yoga can help you stay connected to your rapidly changing body and help ease the transitions through the inevitable physical, emotional and hormonal shifts.
But what sets yoga apart from other physical pursuits and makes it so beneficial in preparing for labour, is it’s focus on breathing and how this helps to calm your mind. During a yoga class you are shown breathing techniques that not only help you to focus on your breath, but also help to expand the capacity for breath. This breath awareness is then threaded throughout the class encouraging the breath to be long and calm as you move. If your breath is calm this in turn pacifies the mind and enables you to find inner strength and focus. It’s a simple formula but hugely effective. If you have spent time during your pregnancy practicing conscious full breathing, you will be much more likely to draw effortlessly on this tool during the physical and mental intensity of labour.
Brigid Godwin teaches antenatal and mummy & baby yoga in Tunbridge Wells and has recently released a DVD ‘Pregnancy Yoga Flow and Postnatal Recovery’ which is available to purchase for £14.99 at www.unityyoga.co.uk/yoga-dvd.
‘’Excellent’’ Yoga and Health magazine.