5 Awesome benefits of prenatal Yoga for a blissful pregnancy journey
We caught up with one of the best Yoga instructors in the country to know more about the benefits and wonders of yoga for moms-to-be!
For expectant moms, it can be difficult to find the right type of exercise that accommodates their changing needs. Whether they’re gym buffs prior to pregnancy or not, physical activity while waiting to deliver is something many medical practitioners agree upon.
One of the emerging practices is prenatal Yoga, something that’s sparking the interest of many moms-to-be. So, we interviewed Love Torralba from Bliss Yoga Manila, one of the leading Yoga studios in the Philippines, to find out just how much expectant moms can benefit from it.
She begins by explaining how prenatal Yoga helps moms-to-be regain their center of gravity.
“When we’re pregnant, the belly grows and this changes the stance and center of gravity,” says Love, who’s also a mom of two. “Most women compensate by arching their backs and so they experience back pain.”
“We also help them be more aware of how they walk. It’s a heel-toe ng walking to be aware and avoid getting off balance,” she says as she demonstrates the proper gait.
As for its main distinction from regular Yoga, Love says both prenatal Yoga movements and poses are down at a slower pace, always keeping in mind the individual needs of the mom because each pregnancy is unique.
Prenatal Yoga: Creating space and connecting to the womb
Before each class, Love makes sure to ask her students what their birth plan is.
“I noticed those more interested in natural birth in my class are those busy in the office. Perhaps they want to be more connected in a natural way,” shares Love, noting how birthing trends such as home water births are more widely accepted now.
Though most of the moms-to-be in her class now are planning to give birth in the hospital, she makes sure to ask all of them to do several birthing positions. “So even though they end up doing a home water birth, they’ll know what position best works for them,” says Love.
For moms who are looking into making Yoga their pregnancy exercise of choice but are uncertain when to start, Love has great news. Mommies-to-be are free to begin at any stage in their pregnancy—as long as the doctor says it’s perfectly fine.
“As much as possible, we would want them to present their medical certificate so it’s safe,” she clarifies, adding that this also applies to regular practitioners. “Every pregnancy is different so there’s no comparison.”
Learn more about prenatal Yoga on the next page
Prenatal yoga allows expectant moms to “tune in” more. “From the beginning you learn to hold space for your child,” says Love. “Personally, I think it’s important for moms to learn to ‘hold space’ for themselves to be able to do so for others.”
A common complaint shared by parents is a feeling of dizziness. Love shares this is because the growing baby takes up a lot of nutrients and fluid, which moms need to work around.
“At the same time, want to alleviate discomfort and they have a greater understanding of what’s going on inside of her physically and emotionally to have a better understanding so they’re able to appreciate their condition,” explains Love.
Here are some of the main benefits of prenatal Yoga.
Prenatal Yoga strengthens ligaments
Though the movements are slow, prenatal yoga poses are specifically designed to strengthen muscles and lessen back pain.
“If you trace a line from shoulder to shoulder to your waist, that’s the “rectangle” that we need to protect,” explains Love. “For instance, when we do twists, instead of twisting towards a flexed leg we twist away from it to avoid placing too much pressure on the belly.”
It also centers moms-to-be emotionally, lessening stress through breathing.
Prenatal Yoga enhances pelvic floor awareness
“The most important thing is for expectant moms to have full knowledge of their pelvic floor,” emphasizes Love. “We want them to get used to pressing it out early on in the pregnancy in order to tone the muscles. This lessens the risk of tearing during labor.”
A woman’s pelvic floor is comprised of interconnected muscles which, Love shares, needs to get used to “the sensation of pushing out”—sort of like a reverse Kegel exercise, where one breathes out instead of clenches.
For those who are already in their third trimester, Yoga sessions are directed mostly toward breathing and relaxation.
Learn more about prenatal Yoga on the next page
Prenatal allows for meditative bonding moments for the family
“Towards the end, I sometimes invite the husbands who are present to come to support,” recounts Love. “We always tell moms that it’s not just them who are pregnant; there are three of them in this pregnancy. So as early as possible, we allow them to bond.”
Partner yoga, such as meditative walking at a slow pace or simply holding one another as they synchronize their breathing to induce relaxation and connectedness, is also encouraged.
During some sessions, Love recounts, the babies are so responsive even in utero that she could actually see them moving around.
“The nice thing about prenatal yoga is that it’s just like we’re dancing and connecting. We move the hips a lot. There’s no pressure,” assures Love, adding that each pose takes about 3-5 seconds and she allows for resting periods in between positions.
It encourages babies to position themselves naturally
Throughout the nine months that they’re in the womb, babies shift and move, assuming different positions until they’re ready to exit the womb. Love shares how, in some cases, prenatal Yoga can influence a baby’s presentation, helping determine if a baby will be born head-first or feet first. “Prenatal yoga helps reposition the baby, naturally, to avoid breech presentation. The mom can just gently sway the baby.”
This is achieved through slow walks, while the mom sways her hips. Not only does it reposition the baby, it also lessens pressure on the mom’s bladder while lulling their baby to sleep in utero.
“This same motion, postnatal, also puts the baby to sleep,” marvels Love.
Yoga can help moms become better parents
“The practice of Yoga is physically rewarding: it prepares you for the weight gain body changes, prevents off balance, lessens dizziness, less pressure on bladder and swelling.”
“The responsibility of being a parent begins as soon as you get pregnant,” states Love, adding that feeling good inspires moms to make healthy choices and take care of themselves to create a healthy environment for their children.
Yoga helps you work around pain and discomfort, easing anxiety that often can’t be explained. It also inspires a good dispostion in moms-to-be.
“In that way, hopefully they can bring our small contribution into the world,” says Love. “We want to influence mild-mannered kids with a strong sense of self.”
“Yoga helps moms enjoy the pregnancy,” says Love. “It’s a wonderful journey!”
Bliss Yoga Manila is located at Unit 203 Plaza One Hundred, VA Rufino Street cor Dela Rosa Street Legaspi Village, Makati City. For inquiries, call 551-1485 or 09178419642 (email: [email protected])
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