The world over people are realising the benefits of yoga and pranayama in our daily lives. Yoga is touted not just as a physical exercise, but actually a way of exercising each entity of human existence. It is physical, mental, spiritual, intellectual, as well as emotional well being that Yoga hopes to achieve through exercise, concentration as well as breathe control. Most of the times, strenuous exercises like the Surya Namaskar are forbidden for pregnant women as the body of a pregnant woman is rather weak and thus prone to easy injury, which might also affect the child within her. This, however, is not to mean that yoga itself is injurious to the health of a pregnant woman. In fact, some postures in yoga are extremely beneficial for a pregnant woman. We all know about the fact that few women are able to give birth naturally these days owing either to complications or lifestyle issues. Some easy and less strenuous yoga postures will actually help the woman have a natural childbirth, free of complications or Caesarean section operations and so on. Here are a few prenatal yoga poses for pregnant women.
Pregnancy Yoga Poses
Here are some yoga poses beneficial for women who are pregnant:
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
This pose is known to strengthen the spine, open the chest and the lungs to make breathing better and easier and is also effective for stimulating the thyroid gland. For this pose, you need to begin by lying supine on your back. Then, bending by the knees, bring the soles of your feet close to your buttocks so that they are parallel to each other. Interlace your fingers and bring them under your back. Now, lift your body, from the hips to the ceiling. Stretch your interlaced fingers bringing them as close to the ankles of your feet as possible. Even as you stretch, do not forget to inhale deeply. Now push your shoulders above the ground too, one at a time. Exhale and relax the fingers, even as you bring down your upper middle and finally lower body to the ground. Let the body loose, allow your knees to knock against each other and relax completely.
Cobblers’ Pose (Badhdha Konasana)
This pose is known to open and stretch the lower abdomen, hips, and the groin, giving it a thorough exercise. For this pose, you will have to begin by sitting erect on the floor with your legs outstretched. Bending your legs at the knees, bring the soles of your feet together so that you create butterfly’s wings-like structure with your legs. Keeping your hand on the knees, press the legs down gently as much as you can, and then slowly release.
The Child Pose (Balasana)
The child pose proves to be immensely helpful in opening up your chest and pelvis. For this, you will need to go down on all fours, with your knees spread out just a little wider than your hips. Gently and gradually now, support your buttocks firmly between your heels, stretch your arms out, with the palms of the hands pointing towards the floor and rest your forehead on the ground; exhale while you are in this position. Raise your arms from the ground so that only the palms touch the ground while your whole upper body is supported by your hands, like a baby about to crawl, even as you inhale deeply. Repeat this exercise at least ten times, but do remember to know your limitations.
Here are a few precautions that you need to keep in mind while practicing yoga during pregnancy:
By all means, keep away from pre-natal yoga exercises that require you to stretch your body too strenuously, especially your abdominal muscles. You must realise that injuring yourself is all the more easy when you are pregnant.
Always listen to what your body is trying to tell you. If a particular pose causes discomfort or pain, alter it or stop doing it. There is no harm in adapting the pre-natal yoga exercises to suit your body as it changes throughout your pregnancy.
It is extremely important not to compress your abdomen. If you need to bend forward while you're sitting, place a towel or strap around your feet and hold each end. Then bend from the hips and lift your chest. When you do pre-natal yoga exercises that involve twisting, you need to twist more from the shoulders and back as this will avoid putting pressure on your abdomen.