Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal yoga classes have become more and more popular in recent years.  With new yoga studios popping up in nearly every town; more women are able to find prenatal yoga classes that are offered near to where they live.

There are many benefits to incorporating yoga into your daily routine, especially if you are pregnant.

The first important thing that yoga will teach you is how to breathe.  This may sound silly if you have never practiced yoga before, but proper breathing and focused breathing is the most important element of any yoga practice.

The breathing technique is called ujjayi ; which refers to a slow, concentrated inhale, taking air in slowly through your nose to fill your lungs completely, and a slow, concentrated exhale, completely emptying your lungs until your stomach compresses tightly.

Practicing ujjayi breathing during your pregnancy will prepare you for when the time comes for you to go into labor.  It will take your mind off the physical pain, and your body’s tendency to tighten up during labor.

When we are in pain or experiencing fear, our bodies produce adrenalin.  The production of adrenalin has been said to reduce the production of oxytocin in our bodies.  Oxytocin is a hormone produced to assist in the progression of labor in women. Therefore, through practicing yoga and ujjayi breathing, you are actually changing your body’s chemical response to the labor pains and allowing your labor to progress smoothly and naturally.

According to a report in the Harvard Mental Health Letter from April 2009, studies have found scientific proof that “yoga helps the body deal with stress by slowing the heart rate and breathing rates and lowering blood pressure.”

In addition to the benefits of learning how to focus and breathe properly, prenatal yoga can help improve your muscle strength and flexibility, as well as your balance and circulation.

The Mayo Clinic reported that, “prenatal yoga can help with back pain, nausea, muscle strength, and sleep.  It can also decrease the risk of certain labor-related conditions, such as preterm labor and high blood pressure from pregnancy.”

Here are some recommended prenatal yoga poses you can practice at home.

While practicing prenatal yoga at home will benefit you greatly, you might want to find a yoga studio near where you live that offers prenatal yoga classes.  Putting yourself in a positive, supportive environment with other women who are experiencing the joys and pains of pregnancy like you can be of great benefit to you emotionally; which is equally as important as your physical health.