The benefits of yoga during pregnancy

Pregnancy is an important time for self-reflection and mindfulness.

At its heart, the practice of yoga is about mindfulness in all aspects of your existence: body, breath, mind and spirit. Yoga naturally creates an opportunity for self-reflection. Pregnancy, in particular, is an important time for this. Self-reflection and mindfulness provide opportunities to listen to your own needs as well as learn the balance between caring for yourself and caring for others — not only during pregnancy but after the baby is born. Pregnancy gives you the chance to see how tremendously your actions affect the life of another.

Creating a healthy habit of self-care during pregnancy sets a precedent for nurturing yourself while nurturing another. It helps you realize that a healthy body and mind supports not only you, but also all those you are responsible for.

Yoga practice begins with paying attention to your breath, specifically, learning the rhythm of your breath. This is especially beneficial for pregnant women, as breathing deeply and fully can become quite difficult as the pregnancy progresses. Different breathing techniques and yoga poses can help support better breathing throughout your pregnancy while also giving you and your baby more oxygen and nutrients. Because yoga breathing techniques relax, center and calm, they provide a nice foundation for any breathing techniques that may be taught for labor and delivery.

The physical part of yoga, the poses, provide numerous benefits. These include increased strength, flexibility and an overall state of well-being. The poses are chosen carefully to respect each trimester of pregnancy and the changes the woman’s body is going through. In general, yoga is perfectly fine to do during pregnancy as long as you realize that this is not a time to challenge yourself but to support the life or lives that are growing inside of you while giving yourself a safe discipline to practice in order to be as healthy as possible during your pregnancy.

Because yoga is a practice, the more you do it, the better it is for you and your baby. Begin a yoga practice today and see how it is a gift that keeps on giving!

As with any new physical endeavor, always check with your doctor or health care provider to make sure you are healthy enough to participate.

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