Pre and Post Natal Yoga
To learn that you are pregnant is one of the most cherished memories a mother can have. You look forward to care and nurture your bundle of joy. You make plans and dream about getting the best for your baby. Your health is as important as your baby’s. Being healthy and living a healthy stress-free lifestyle is quite important during this stage.
Yoga helps one to be connected to their mind and body. It is a wonderful activity which can help lower your stress and improve your flexibility and overall well-being. Morning sickness and sore back can dampen the joys of pregnancy. Through yoga, soon to be mothers can connect to her baby through her own body. Post birth, simple exercises can help further deepen the bond with a mother and her child and help them grow healthy and stress-free through simple meditation and relaxation techniques. Hence, practicing yoga is beneficial for both, the mother and the child. Here we provide a small compilation of asanas for the mother to try out.
Pre Natal Yoga
Soon to be moms can connect and be one with their baby through yoga. It can help alleviate morning sickness and body aches. Your body is undergoing a lot of change during this period which can get quite stressful at times.
Things to keep in mind :
- If you haven’t been practicing yoga before pregnancy, do check with your doctor to make sure it’s okay for you to start or continue a yoga program. If you get the green signal, find an instructor trained in prenatal yoga or a yoga class tailored for expecting moms. If that’s not possible, make sure your instructor knows you’re expecting.
- Perform yoga in suitable comfortable conditions.
- Drink lots of water before, during, and after exercising to stay hydrated.
- Breathe deeply and regularly as you stretch.
- Simple stretching exercises encourage circulation, help fluid retention, and relieve stress.
- Listen to your body. If you’re feeling pain or discomfort, make an adjustment or ask your instructor to recommend an alternative position.
- Avoid lying on your back, more importantly after the first trimester. It can also make you feel dizzy and cause shortness of breath and nausea. Use a wedge or pillows to raise your upper body.
- Forego the headstands and shoulder stands. Avoid stretching moves that feel uncomfortable or cause muscle soreness.
1. Marjaryasana-bitilasana asana (Cat cow pose)
This asana warms the body and brings flexibility to the spine. It softly stimulates and strengthens the abdominal organs. By opening the chest, your breath becomes slow and deep.
Get on all fours, with the wrists shoulder length apart and the knees beneath the hips, ground the entire hand, keeping the arms strong and straight. Press the shins down to make the thighs strong. As you inhale, lift and arch your back upwards to the sky and as you exhale, press the mat away and arch your back lower into the ground.
2. Vakrasna (Twisted pose)
This asana helps in easing the back muscles.
Sit erect with feet stretched in front, legs are parallel. Inhale and raise your arms at shoulder level, palms facing down. Exhaling, twist your body from waist towards your right moving head and hands simultaneously to the same side. Swing arms back as much as possible. Do not bend your knees. Inhale and come back to the original position maintaining your hand’s shoulder level and parallel to each other. Repeat on another side.
3. Setu Bandhasana (Easy bridge pose)
By this asana, you can increase flexibility in the back and shoulders. By stretching, you release tension in the neck. It also helps to strengthen the leg muscles.
Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor and close to your buttocks. with Arms by your sides. Start by pressing your lower back into the floor so that the tailbone lifts up and away from the floor. Gradually lift the lower back from the floor, until you are resting on your middle or upper back. Buttocks should be lifted a few inches from the floor. Weight should not be on your shoulders and neck. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and begin to slowly lower the back from the upper portion one vertebra at a time. Visualize the spine unrolling. Relax with the legs outstretched or hug the knees gently to the body. Repeat once more.
4. Bhadrasana (Butterfly pose)
This asana helps to strengthen inner thighs and pelvic region.
First, sit on the mat with legs fully stretched. Keeping the legs in contact with the mat, form ‘Namaste’ with your feet. The soles of your feet are in contact with each other. Sit erect, without leaning forward. Place your hands on knees or thighs. Hold the posture until the time you feel comfortable. Straighten your legs and repeat again.
Post Natal Yoga
You have brought out your bundle of joy into this wonderful world. Your body is still undergoing a sea of changes and help yoga can help you sail through it effortlessly. It’s an effective tool to help beat stress for you and your baby.
Things to keep in mind :
- Consult your physician before practicing yoga again. Process with caution. You may have to wait a while to get back to it again. Meanwhile, you can continue with breathing exercises which can help you remain calm in all those stressful moments.
- Follow the general instructions mentioned above for your safety.
Yoga poses/asanas :
1. Virabhadrasana (Warrior II pose)
This asana helps to build stamina and strength. It was named after the fierce warrior Virabhadra.
With legs four feet apart, turn the right foot in and the left foot out 90 degrees. Bring your arms out to the sides, parallel to the floor, as you bend the left knee over the left ankle. Reach out with your arms and hold for five breaths. Repeat on the other side.
2. Viparita Karani (Legs up the wall pose)
This is a restorative pose which helps to open the chest, encourages you to take deeper breaths, and aids relaxation and rejuvenation.
Lay with your right hip against the wall and a pillow under both hips. Then slowly swing your legs up onto the wall, bring your arms out to the sides, and breathe deeply. Hold for two minutes.
3. Navasana (Boat pose)
This asana helps to strengthen your abdominals and hip flexors.
Sit with your knees bent. Place hands underneath knees. Tip back on the bones and draw lower back in and up as you hug abdominals toward the spine. Lift shins parallel to the floor. Then stretch arms forward. Finally, straighten knees if you can.
4. Ujjayi Breathing
Ujjayi breathing will help mom stay calm and centered—even while holding a fussy and crying baby.
Hold your infant closes your chest. Start deep Ujjayi breathing by audibly inhaling and exhaling through your nose with your mouth closed. The deep, rhythmic sound of your breath could very well soothe your baby.