Maybe like me in the past you’ve laughed at people ‘standing like a tree’ and wondered how on earth THAT can do you any good!
But pregnancy strikes and you’ve most likely heard about some of the benefits, or even checked out a video somewhere or another, now maybe you’re yoga curious...
I did yoga for the first time in my life during pregnancy - I never would have tried at all only that the classes were all free at the Surestart centres then, and my company (upholding their legal obligation) gave me paid time off to attend – I would have been mad not to!
It soon became the pinnacle of my week and I was absolutely amazed as all my pre-held beliefs about yoga were blown out of the water - my teacher (The fabulous Janine Hurley) was totally normal, down to earth and amazing.
When my baby was born I progressed to mum & baby yoga and the rest, as they say is history!!
So now here are my 3 biggest Myths about Pregnancy Yoga – let me know which ones you believed & see if I can change your mind too….
You’ve seen those pictures of bendy yogis tied in knots, with limbs in places, that quite frankly limbs should never reach (see above!) Maybe you’re feeling frumpy, fat, unfit, and lacking in anything close to the energy needed for an EXERCISE CLASS!!!
Well here’s the NEWSFLASH - Asana (the physical postures) are only 1 part of the 8 limbs of yoga! You can pick and choose which ones to you want work with – but a good yoga class should give the opportunity to work with a good number – maybe not all in one class, but over time….
Read more about the 8 limbs & meaning of yoga here - But in short - ‘Yoga’, literally translated from Sanskrit means ‘union’ so the aim is not to reach fitness, or bendiness – but rather to unite the body, and mind (or the mother and baby). The postures were only ever invented as a way of giving the mind something to focus on and stay clear, rather than jumping around from one thought to another. Yes fitness and bendiness may be a happy side effect – but should never be the goal.
Read about what to expect in a typical pregnancy yoga class here
Your Pregnancy Yoga Teacher will have training in many of the issues pregnant women face, physically and emotionally – classes usually offer the chance to meet the other women attending and recognise the immense effort already put in to growing a new life.
Some women have a lot of energy, and others very little – your Pregnancy Yoga Teacher will be able to guide you to appropriate practices which offer the chance to balance and strengthen your body and mind.
OK yes, it is true Yoga is good for you on so many levels, but the bigger reason is that it is even more fantastically good for your baby.
Mother and baby are physically and energetically linked – anything that mother does, effects her baby, and with the busy, stressful lives we lead, deadlines at work, rush hour traffic, company restructures and house moves to name but a few - all contribute to stress and many of us go about with low levels of anxiety, and are so used to it, that we don’t even notice -
The effects of this are tension in your body and muscles, using up your precious energy, and the release of a hormone called Cortisol (stress), one thing it does is effect where and how well brain cells are formed and synapses connected. Another effect of stress is a reduction of good hormones such as Oxytocin (hormone of love and bonding) and Endorphins (feel good & pain reduction).
All the hormones in your blood stream cross the placenta to your baby and it is now known that mothers who experience calmer pregnancies, give birth to calmer babies, who are more settled.
Not only that – relaxation in pregnancy, and the hormones that go with it, lead to mother’s blood vessels opening wider, allowing more nutrients to pass through to baby and more babies being born a healthy weight.
Finally Pregnancy Yoga has been shown to improve birth outcomes - less births that end in emergency caesarean or forceps delivery, or babies born with poor APGAR scores (physical condition score). Any of these factors increase the likelihood that mother and baby will not be in direct skin to skin contact after the birth, and may miss ‘the magical hour’ this is turn has implications with feeding, bonding, colic, and more. (Of course, quick delivery of baby may be lifesaving in certain circumstances– but if there were a way to avoid….)
Pregnancy Yoga is great news for those planning for a natural birth, your teacher will tell you all the ways that moving your body can help your baby rotate and descend through the pelvis, as well as the relaxation side boosting comfort levels during labour.
But this can lead to mums thinking that’s the ONLY reason to practice….
A weekly practice can support your pregnancy, caesarean, or induced birth and beyond in many ways, here are just a few…..
- Many pregnancy ailments are eased by practicing yoga – PGP/SPD/Lower back pain/ exhaustion/oedema/indigestion/heartburn.
- Yoga can also banish antenatal anxiety, and antenatal depression – both of which increase the likelihood of suffering post-natal. Not good for you or baby.
- The relaxation techniques are hugely beneficial to your baby as we learned before- helping them grow to a healthy size, and be calmer after the birth.
- If you do have a high needs baby (and every parent will have fussy days, evenings and nights at least a few times) Well those times can get extremely stressful, when you want to sooth your baby but can’t tell what is wrong – if you’re able to slow your breath and stay calm – this in turn can help to sooth your baby. Especially the humming techniques which baby may remember from your pregnancy yoga class (in utero!)
- No matter what kind of birth you are planning – staying calm is essential for a positive experience, and you want to remember the birth of your baby with happiness and joy, not
disappointment, or worse. Yoga teaches breathing techniques to help stay calm throughout any experience and ‘Santosa’ – a happy acceptance for what
So that’s it – my 3 biggest Myths… did I convince you to give it a try? Check out my classes here
Or are you already practicing (maybe you’re a teacher) let me know what your biggest myths are?
Share this article with your friends & let’s share pregnancy yoga with as many people as possible.