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Yoga for Pregnant Women

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Posted on Thu Oct 17, 2013 9:33 pm


Yoga Asanas or exercises are ways of moving or holding the body in different positions. As your belly grows during pregnancy, your center of gravity shifts forward, which can cause you to lose your balance or strain your lower back. Yoga has several exercises or postures that work wonders on a woman's health and in pregnancy conditions. Varying widely in application and style, these exercises (postures) gently stretch and explore all parts of your body. During pregnancy, yoga Asanas are a gentle way to keep active and supple. The remarkable effects of these postures in pregnancy show the power of yoga for ensuring a smooth pregnancy, natural childbirth and restoration of body shape after childbirth.

How Pregnancy Yoga Exercises Can Help?

Relieving edema (fluid retention) and cramping which can be quite common in the last months. Influencing the position of the baby and turning it in advance if needed. Strengthening and massaging the abdomen which help stimulate bowel action and appetite. Raising the level of energy while also helping in slowing the metabolism to restore calm and focus. Helping to reduce nausea, morning sickness and mood swings in combination with pranayamas (yogic breathing). Focus on relieving tension around the cervix and birth canal. Focus on opening the pelvis to make labor easier and quicker.

How Yoga Can Help in Post Natal Care

Restoring the uterus, abdomen and the pelvic floor. Relieving upper back tension and breast discomfort. Yoga classes should be appropriate for you about 6 weeks after you have had a normal delivery and about
12 weeks after a cesarean surgery. But get your doctor's go ahead before you indulge in any physical exercise apart from walking. You can shed all the extra post natal weight and also recover from the fatigue of childbirth by practicing simple yoga poses.

Yoga Precautions During Pregnancy:

For the first trimester, standing Yoga Poses are advised as this will help strengthen the legs, enhance circulation, generate energy, and may reduce leg cramps. During the second and third trimester, you may reduce your time spent for practicing the Asanas to prevent fatigue and overwork. Instead focus more on breathing and meditation. It is also not advised to practice from the tenth through the fourteenth week of Pregnancy since these are crucial times. Do not overstretch the abdomen; the emphasis of your twisting poses should be on the shoulders and the upper back and not on the abdomen. Avoid doing inversion.

Cross-Legged Chest Lift: Sit comfortably on the floor and cross your legs. Reach back with both your hands and support yourself on your fingertips, keeping your fingers slightly bent. Inhale and press down gently on your hands us you lift up your chest. Look up diagonally and breathe for 4 breath cycles, then relax down. Repeat 2 more times.
Benefit: Improves digestion relives strain of spine caused by prolonged sitting.

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Kati Chakrasan (Waist Rotating Pose): Stand with the feet about half a meter apart and the arms by the sides. Inhale while raising the arms to shoulder level. Exhale and twist body to left. Bring right hand to left shoulder and wrap left arm around the back. Look over left shoulder. Hold breath for 2 seconds, inhale and return to starting position. Keep feet firmly on ground while twisting. Repeat on other side. Do twisting smoothly without any jerks. Do about 5-10 rounds

Benefit: Tones waist back hips. Induces a feeling of lightness and used to relieve physical and mental tension.

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Lying Quad Stretch: Lie on you left side, keeping your head up or lying on the bed as per your comfort. Slightly bend your left leg.
Tuck your pelvis under as you reach back to grasp your right ankle or shin and gently pull toward your buttock. Feel a comfortable stretch in the front of your right thigh, hold for 3 breath cycles. Repeat on the other side.
Benefit: Makes the legs more flexible and focuses on opening up the pelvis to make labor easier and quicker.

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Padmasan: Sit with the buttocks on the floor/bed, (picture shows sitting in full padmasan) cross the legs, placing one foot to close to the inner thigh and then the other foot close to the ankle so both heels are almost at your midline. Rest the hands on the knees in dhyan mudra while seated in the posture. Press the hip bones down into the floor and reach the crown of the head up to lengthen the spine. Now in this posture do the ashwinmudra (Ashwinmudra (Pelvic contractions while inhaling and exhaling): This mudra involves making small contractions of the muscles at the vaginal wall. This helps strengthen weak pelvic muscles, which can cause bladder control issues, which are common in women postpartum. ) Chant om 10 times and relax. (This can also be done in sukhasana as shown in the first trimester)

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Groin muscle Squat: Stand with feet a little wider than shoulders width apart, toes pointing slightly outwards. Place your hands on your thighs for support and squat down, feel a good stretch across both inner thighs and hold for 3 breath cycles.
Benefits: Shortens the second stage of labor (pushing phase), shortens the depth of your birth canal and increases pelvic diameter by 10+%

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