Today’s article is by Libby Stevenson, Certified pregnancy and postnatal yoga teacher and a mother of four. She is originally from New York City and has been living in London for the past 26 years where she raised her 4 children. She shares with us the physical benefits of yoga in pregnancy and why its so important for you.
Over to Libby…
When I became a yoga teacher I took the time to think about who I wanted to teach yoga to. When I was pregnant 26 years ago, yoga was not as popular as it is today. In those days, the only safe forms of exercise during pregnancy were walking and swimming. As I do not swim, I did a lot of walking!
Also, I had recently arrived to the UK. I had no family nor any friends. As a pregnant foreigner, I would have loved a place where I could do some exercise and meet other mums-to-be (Wish Kensington Mums excited then!). With this in mind, I certified in pregnancy yoga. I learned it from the best – Uma Dinsmore Tuli – the Harvard of pregnancy yoga teachers.
As a woman who did not have yoga in her pregnancy and who teaches it now, what can I share with you about the benefits of yoga in pregnancy?
Let’s start with the physical benefits – and there are MANY.
- Pregnancy yoga is pro-active and anticipates your needs in the birthing room. All the movements prepare you for giving birth: it is all about opening the hips through adapted asanas (poses) and releasing down through pranayama (breathing techniques). Regular practice of both ensure that you embody the movement and the breathing so when you are giving birth it will feel completely natural.
- The movements can help to alleviate common pregnancy complaints such as lower back pain and exhaustion. It also helps to keep the pelvic floor in shape so that it is easier for it to recover postnatally. However, there is so much more to pregnancy yoga than the physical.
- It gives you an hour to yourself. An hour to feel you have regained some control over your life because pregnancy is a transitional time for women. A lot of changes are happening: the shape of the body, the hormones make you feel more emotional and give you a “foggy brain”, sleeping becomes difficult and relationships can change.
For some women pregnancy can be blissful. Wonderful!
4. Pregnancy yoga allows you the time to “just be”: in the moment, in your body. It gives you the space to look after yourself.
5. It gives you the opportunity to connect with other mums-to-be. In my yoga classes, I always give time for my students to meet and to talk about the experience of being pregnant.
For some, however, it can be a confusing time – how will the baby impact day to day life and the relationship with a partner? Is this the right time to have a child? What about the financial aspect of having a child?
For others, it can be isolating. Perhaps they live far away from family like I did.
So begin to embrace the changes and allow me to help you on that journey through yoga.
Article sponsored by Libby Stevenson, Certified pregnancy and postnatal yoga teacher and Yoga Alliance registered, www.mumasteyogawellbeing.co.uk. Instagram: @mumaste_yoga_wellbeing