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How Yoga can support you pre and postnatally

Whilst it might seem that Yoga is all Downward Dogs and fancy activewear, it actually has many benefits that can be embraced both on and off of the mat. Sarah, our Yoga Instructor explores why many women turn to Yoga pre and postnatally.

Whilst Yoga can obviously provide a good stretch, it can also help, not only to find strength in body, but also strength, confidence and empowerment in mind.

Here are some of the many benefits of Yoga for pregnancy, birth and beyond:

  • Relieve pregnancy or postnatal symptoms

Yoga can help to stretch away some of the aches, pains and niggles that come with pregnancy and caring for a new baby.

A gentle Yoga flow can help to stretch out the neck, shoulders, spine and hips which are often painful at this time due to the increased stress on the spinal nerves by growing weight of baby, and from new mum activities such as feeding, rocking, pushing a pram and carrying a car seat.

  • Strengthen the body for birth

Some of the more dynamic Yoga postures can help to strengthen your body and improve your stamina in preparation for birth and to promote faster recovery postnatally.

  • Introduce breathing practices for birth and motherhood

A well rounded pre or postnatal Yoga class should include breathing practices. Different breathing techniques can be used to support you through the different stages of birth and assist in pain management.

Slower breathing or finding a longer exhalation can promote feelings of relaxation and calm which is a great tool to harness during birth and when baby arrives.

  • Deep toning of the birth muscles

Prenatal Yoga classes often have a focus on the pelvic floor and various sequences can improve strength in the muscular walls of the uterus to help your birth journey and facilitate a faster prenatal recovery potentially reducing or preventing incontinence and prolapse.

  • Improves posture

A baby bump can often cause a curve in the lumbar spine, practicing alignment and correct posture can help to improve this and relieve back pain.

  • Provide relaxation and stress management

Albeit a wonderful journey, pregnancy, birth and new motherhood can be a stressful time. Finding space for a relaxing Yoga class with a focus on the breath and some meditation can promote feelings of calm and enable you to find a pocket of rest amidst the chaos!

  • Connection with baby

Yoga is for both you and baby. When mum feels calm, nourished, energised and well - baby does too. This is the case when baby is in utero and when baby is born. Taking the time to do something together is very special.

  • Empower

Yoga can you teach to listen to your body and to feel confident in your body helping you to navigate pregnancy, birth and the fourth trimester with more confidence and ease.

Beyond the Asana:

Pre and Postnatal classes are also a a great opportunity to meet other women on the same journey.

Here’s a few things to look out for when choosing a pre or postnatal Yoga class:

  • Local: choosing somewhere local means that you’ll meet mums-to-be or new mums who live close to you. That is gold - you can journey through the ups and downs together. Trust me, everyone needs a solid mum tribe to face a soft play!

  • Teacher: find a teacher who resonates with you. Everyone is different and respond in different ways to different teaching styles. Find a teacher who speaks your language and makes you feel all the feels.

  • Balanced class: find a class that has balance, that incorporates a mix of meditation, breathing, stretching, dynamic poses and of course a long shavasana (final rest). A good teacher should provide you with different options so that you can adjust your practice depending on how your body is feeling and what your energy levels are like.

Join me every Monday night at 18.30 for a Pregnancy Yoga class or every Tuesday at 14.30 for a Postnatal Yoga class that will help you with all of the above!

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