I am pregnant - can I do yoga?
If you are born Asian, most likely you are prohibited to do any sorts of exercise from your Asian parents. Looking at that inversion, standing on your head? That’s intimidating and freaky scary!
Almost everything is prohibited to the Chinese - no cold beverage, no pineapple & watermelon, no moving to new house, no staying in a house when the renovation is on-going, no this, no that... yoga? Are they kidding?
Let’s take a closer look at yoga, which is scientifically proven that it actually helps pregnancy and postnatal women:
1. Breathing in yoga:
a. Calm the nervous system, reduce anxiety. When one is consciously breathing (pranayama) blood pressure and heart rate are regulated that keep one in a relaxation and calming mood. When one is calm, anxiety disappears, better management of “panicking” makes labour process easier.
b. When one incorporates the specific deep breathing during labour, it helps and makes the pushing process easier.
c. Breathing also helps in better sleep. The calming effect of certain breathing techniques definitely helps to promote good sleep. When mom is calm and with enough rest, physically and mentally is balanced, a healthy baby is on the way!
2. Postures in yoga
Helps to strengthen pelvic floor muscles that able to carry baby more comfortably.
As the stomach stretch to the front and becomes bigger, the breast will enlarge for breastfeeding; the weight will be heavier in the front. This gives low back more stress that leads to lower back pain, knees that compromise lead to knee pain; shoulder and neck that try to counterbalance also give stress and pain to that area. There are postures that strengthen the back muscles, which helps relieve pain in the lower back. Postures that work on the shoulders, neck and knees will also help to ease the pressure off that area.
As for postnatal women, there are postures to strengthen the pelvic floor, improve blood circulation at the reproductive region that helps to tighten and prevent prolapse of the uterus.
For Flexibility :
Postures to improve the flexibility of the hip, hip flexor, knees that help opening up the hip, able to bend the knee and raise higher up closer to the chest helps to ease the labour process.
3. Mindfulness in yoga
Being Mindful about each poses we hold train us to be aware of what is going on inside the body. This helps moms to get connected to the little one inside the tummy, creating a beautiful bond between her and the baby. Mindfulness meditation teaches us to live the moment. This helps to calm the mind, relieve anxiety, be happy and enjoy every stage of the journey of pregnancy.
So, yoga or no yoga - your pick!
P/s: please do not attempt to do yoga on your own without a certified prenatal yoga instructor.