What is yoga to you? It may be nothing yet. But, if you’re pregnant, there’s never been a better time for you to find out.
For me, yoga is about connection – connection with my body. It’s a set aside time of the day to go within and listen to my body’s inner wisdom and find out what it needs to remain or get in balance.
In our culture, women are more disconnected than ever. We’re disconnected from each other, from our baby, from ourselves (specifically our pelvic bowl/womb space, and our body wisdom).
Starting a yoga practice while pregnant can get you back in touch with each of these aspects to help you restore balance, connection, strength and flexibility in your life – all of which are essential for a great birth experience.
4 reasons to start a yoga practice while pregnant are:
1) Connect with your baby
The best and safest way for you to connect with your baby is to dedicate a specific time to get still, go within, and listen. When you make special time for a person in your life, you’re essentially saying to them, “you’re important to me and I want to hear what you have to say.” This is what you’re doing when you set aside time in meditation with your baby.
Most prenatal yoga teachers will afford you this time in silence or guided mediation. Doing prenatal yoga also gives you a chance to work through some of the exercises I talk about in the empowered birth online childbirth class such as visioning your ideal birth.
You can dedicate your practice to your baby, your birth, or simply to a healthy pregnancy. Whatever your intention, there is no better way to connect with your baby than through a prenatal yoga practice.
2) Connect with other pregnant mama’s
Pregnancy is a time of transition whether you want it to be or not. You’ll find that because your path is changing, so may some of your friendships. Getting into a prenatal yoga class helps you connect with other like-minded mama’s who may be due around the same time as you.
There’s nothing like creating a tribe of women in support of each other while creating your baby at the same time. It’s a surreal time and definitely one you may look back on fondness of for years to come.
3) Connect with your pelvic bowl/womb space, and body wisdom
One of the biggest frustrations for women birthing naturally is finding a position that feels right while in labor. Most women aren’t connected to or in touch with their pelvic bowl/womb space enough to know what feels “right”. I honestly believe this is why women birthing naturally are still giving birth in a supine position in bed.
Women are inhibited from birthing in other (non-supine) positions for many reasons such as an epidural birth, guilt for inconveniencing the doctor, because they believe birthing in a supine position is “hospital policy,” because they’re afraid their doctor won’t catch the baby in a non-supine position, because they’re afraid of contention in the moment… These are all preventable scenarios. (hint *hire a doula for this!)
For women who have worked through the above inhibitions, fears, and beliefs, and who are committed to birthing in a position that feels right instead of a position they’re told to get into (see a previous blog post about my personal story on this), a few things must happen:
You have to become aware of what’s going on inside you.
Once you bring awareness to the pelvic space and root, you have to assess and listen for what your body is asking of you.
The body contains incredible amounts of wisdom that have lied dormant inside the pelvic bowl for as many generations as humans have been “allowing” birth. (I don’t like the phrase “giving” birth because it implies that birth is masculine, which it isn’t. So, “allowing” birth is much more accurate.)
The body inherently knows what to do if given the opportunity and you’re willing to become aware and listen. Once you listen, you must act on the root voice to birth your baby in the way your body is telling you.
Starting a yoga practice while pregnant helps you develop the practice of
1. becoming aware,
2. listening, and
3. acting accordingly.
Practicing these steps while pregnant through a consistent yoga practice helps make the process second nature by the time you’re in labor.
4) Develop balance, strength and flexibility
To many, yoga is about developing balance, and connection. But, as a result of the practice, you’ll notice that your physical body begins to adapt to the balance and connection as well.
The restoration of connection manifests in the form of physical strength, flexibility and balance especially in the pelvic bowl – which are all essential to birthing a baby naturally. You’ll find that once you start a consistent yoga practice while pregnant, you will become more flexible and strong.
Labor can be tough, but the balance of strength and flexibility that comes with the practice will help you immensely in getting your baby out with ease and power.
I encourage ALL pregnant mama’s that are able (with an ok from doc/midwife of course) – even mama’s who know they need or want a medicated birth – to start a yoga practice while pregnant. Even with a medicated birth, the increased strength and flexibility will help ease your baby out.
So pull out that mat and let’s get to practicing Mama’s!
Did you practice yoga while pregnant? What benefits did you gain from your practice while pregnant? Share with us your experience in the comments section below. We want to hear from you!
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With so much love,