The Expectant Yogi

Having a baby? Don’t skip the workout. It could be the best nine months to do yoga.

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Pregnancy can be a wonderful time in a woman’s life. There is the excitement of starting or adding to your family, picking out potential names for the new baby, decorating his or her room and experiencing the physical changes that come with preparing the body for birth. But some of those physical changes are decidedly not fun. There is the back pain and the sciatica. And the stress of choosing names, selecting the best car seat, getting enough sleep and managing family pressure can weigh heavily on an expectant mother.

For some, yoga can offer some relief. Yoga is an ancient practice that still has a place in today’s hectic world. It is a wonderful way to ease the “not-so-exciting” times, help you maintain a happy, healthy pregnancy and prepare you for a smooth delivery. Even if you have never taken a yoga class before, pregnancy is the perfect time to start.

Yoga can play a major part in helping you enjoy the child-birth journey by providing many benefits, including:

·        Body Awareness—Yoga provides quiet time for you to become better acquainted with your body. We are often so busy during the day that we don’t take the time to assess our body’s needs. During your yoga practice, you will also have time to bond with your baby.

·        Elevated Moods—The coordination of movement and breathing provides a calming effect on the body. The breathing that is learned during yoga will also be helpful in times of stress and during labor.

·        Posture Improvement—The body goes through countless changes during pregnancy. Even the best, ballerina-like posture can be compromised during this time. Yoga opens the chest and strengthens the back, so you can continue to have good posture or improve your current posture.

·        Moral Support—If you decide to join a prenatal yoga class, you will be able to meet and bond with other mothers who can identify with exactly what you are going through. But don’t worry if you cannot find a class to join. One of the great things about yoga is that it requires very little equipment and very little space, so it can be done in your home and even in your office or in the car.

To begin, inhale deeply starting in the belly, allowing the abdomen to expand as much as it can. (This is part one.) Now allow the breath to travel up through the ribs (part two). And then let your breath move into the chest and shoulders (part three). On your exhale, bring your belly button into your spine to release all of the used air from your body. You should do this as slowly as you can to bring a calming sensation to your body.

Three-part breathing can be done anywhere and at any time you need to take a break from any stress or discomforts that you may be experiencing. It is also a good way to calm your mind before going to bed. As long as you are practicing your breathing, you are practicing yoga!

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