During pregnancy, a mother-to-be tends to seek out ways to keep herself and her growing baby healthy. That seeking is what led me to yoga when I was pregnant with my daughter 15 years ago. I’m forever grateful for that journey during pregnancy, because it opened me up to a whole new world of healthy and conscious living.
Since my yoga teacher Rainbeau Mars produced a yoga video when she was pregnant with her daughter, I decided to ask for her take on prenatal yoga.
You should always talk to your doctor before trying any prenatal exercise, especially if you’re new to exercise.
The following is my interview with her:
1. Why is yoga important during pregnancy?
Yoga creates a connection from the outside to the in, which is where we should really be focused when with child. Yoga helps tune us in to the needs of our growing child. Postures can also help with endurance, strength building and peace of mind, all necessary for birthing as well as tending to a baby.
Yoga means union, so it’s a good idea to create that with self and the being that is sharing your body at this time.
2. What are the best prenatal yoga poses and why?
Lunges and squats are good positions to be in, as it creates a shorter birth canal.
Backbends help one be pre-stretched and prevent stretch marks.
Certain hip openers create the openness and flexibility needed for the growing and expanding downward focal point.
Inversions can help with gravity and circulation. Because the feet are like a map of the body, feet work is good for the expanding body that doubles in blood. Structure and alignment is good to support the tendency to become over flexible. Safety precaution: You do want to avoid any inward twists or abdominal work.
*Talk to your doctor before trying any new prenatal exercise routine.
3. Are there certain post-birth yoga poses that you would recommend?
Kegels shall be done during pregnancy and after (tighten the pelvic floor and lift upward).
Udiyana Banda – the belly lift and lock – is the most important one to help support the uterus contraction; draw the belly back in (never to the point of pain, but just enough to the place where you begin to tone).
We filmed Yoga For Beauty Dawn and Dusk when Jade was 8 months old and it was designed for post-birth benefits as I was using it for my recovery. Try exercises with child, like lifting your baby to the sky to support arm strength and repeat.
4. Where can people purchase or stream your yoga DVD?
We have the ZenMama download right now at www.rainbeaumars.com.
5. Any other thoughts on the subject?
If you’re deciding when to incorporate yoga into your life, my advice is to start today. When pregnant, it’s about doing what you’re already doing, but a little less. So … if you’ve never exercised of done yoga, your prenatal practice shall be rather mellow. That said, I do like ZenMama for all stages of pregnancy. I was actually pregnant with my first child at the time and going through so many unique discoveries. It was not the easiest to shoot the video, but it’s more authentic. Also unlike other times in your life, if you need to eat or drink, do so. Your child shall always be the priority. When you give your child the love, nourishment and attention they need, you will reap the rewards.
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