Pregnancy is not a disease but its a phase in womans life. In olden days, it was said that a pregnant woman should not practice any kind of exercises, but when we think of Yoga,it is not a kind of exercise. It should be a part of every human beings life style. It has got so many folds with which a human body can be benefited.
Word Yoga originated in Sanskrit as Yuj means union, fusion, which indicates the union of body and mind, the union of man and divine.
There are five main paths of Yoga.
- Raajayoga ;more commonly known as meditation.
- Hat`hayoga ; practice of posture (Aasana) and correct breathing (Praan`ayama)
- Bhakteeyoga ; Yoga of love and devotion
- Dnyaanayoga ; Yoga of wisdom
- Karmayoga ; Yoga of cause and effect
In pregnancy, Hat`ha Yoga is commonly practiced. The word Hat`ha is made up of two roots, Ha means sun and T`ha means moon. The practice of Hat`ha yoga is thus said to balance the solar and lunar energies within a person. It can also refer to balancing positive and negative energies.
Hat`hayoga is further divided into eight sections.
- Yama; means certain restraints like non-violence, honesty, truthfulness, moderation in all things, lack of possessiveness, not stealing.
- Niyama; means cleanliness, contentment, purity, selflessness, dedication and keeping company with learned people.
- Aasana; posture, balance, perfection, concentration, efforts.
- Praan`aayama ; correct breathing technique , increase stamina.
- Pratyaahara ; separation of mind from all instincts and attraction.
- Dhyaana; meditation practices, chanting, to forget the disturbing thoughts and concentrating on a single resolve.
- Dhaaran`a ; concentration of mind.
- Samaadhee; To experience the fusion of a man with divine.
Aasana, Praan`aayama, Dhyaana, S`hithilikaran`a (relaxation) are the four things which can be practiced in pregnancy.
Benefits of Yoga in pregnancy:
Yoga has many benefits during the whole child bearing year; it helps to focus on pregnancy in a deeper way. It creates the space and time for the pregnant woman to integrate the process of change which is taking place and to gradually adjust the priorities and lifestyle.
Our modern lifestyle often prevents us from exercising or using our full body as nature intended, so that our full potential in terms of energy and movement is rarely called upon. This can result in our bodies becoming structurally weakened and out of balance. Neglected muscles gradually become stiff and joints lose their full mobility when their full potential to extend is not used.
In pregnancy Yoga can encourage
1 relaxation 2 flexibility 3 strength in gentle and non strenuous ways
- Body and mind both are considered
- It is an old ancient science
- Self controlled and thus safe
- Includes various breathing techniques (Praan`aayama)
When Yoga is practiced helps to reduce physical as well as psychological problems.
With the help of Yoga total fitness in pregnancy can be maintained
There are certain physical problems which are related with the hormonal changes
These problems are not permanent but they exist till the child birth
Some problems are physical and some are psychological
Different Aasana or postures can help to reduce physical problems and meditation, relaxation; Praarthanaa can help to reduce psychological problems.
Praan`aayama is the best exercise related with S`hvaasa (breath) which can be used at the time of parturition (child birth)
First three months (first trimester)
Generally a pregnant woman suffers from
- Morning sickness
- Nausea / vomiting
- Generalized weakness
- Weight loss
And many psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, nervousness
For this period light breathing exercises can be practiced.
In the second trimester that is from fourth month few physical changes are observed
- Weight gain
- Increase in abdominal and breast size
- There are few postural changes
- Dyspnea (breathlessness)
- Digestive problems such as indigestion, acidity, chest burn, gases, constipation
- Leg cramps
- Back ache / low backache
- Varicose veins
- Excessive weight gain
Yoga practices can be performed from second trimester of pregnancy after the anomaly scan when it is proved that the fetus is developing well.
To start with, one should consult with the doctor and get the training from a well trained and an experienced person
What kind of Yoga session is this?
To start with
First 10 to 12 minutes are for warming up, which consists physical movements that are done with specific breathing and the sequence is starting from head and end at toes
Blood circulation is improved
Body becomes warm and supple and is ready to practice Aasana (postures)
Then there are few Aasana, which are in standing position like
To improve postural disorders
Internal organs are well placed which leads to efficient functioning
Improves concentration and balancing
Vajraasana This is the only asana that can be performed after the meals as it helps in digestion and many of the complaints, which are related with the digestive process, can be minimized by practicing this simple posture
Vyaaghraasana– This is beneficial for the spine because in this posture the spine does not carry any load and the and the spinal curves are well maintained , at the same time this creates a good stretch in pelvic area and helps to improve muscle tone as well as the flexibility in pelvic muscles.
Gomukhaasana – This helps in developing muscle tone in upper body that includes the whole back chest and even arms
Lying down postures
Modified Pavanamuktaasana This helps for better digestion and at the same time it gives relief for the lower back because it creates a firm support for the lower back when it touches the floor while performing it.
Setubandhaasana This to improve the muscle tone of the whole back which gives relief from back ache.
There are few postures which can be done to reduce the specific complaints.
Maarjaarasana This is practiced with specific breathing technique and is the complete exercise for the whole spine.
Extension of knee joint It develops the strength of the knee. When the increasing weight of a pregnant woman is considered it is essential to concentrate on the knee joint.
Modified Chatushpaadaasana It works well when there is a unilateral pain which starts from the waist and passes through the leg till the heel.
There are few aasanas, which are beneficial at the time of labor. They improve the muscle tone and efficiency of pelvic floor muscles. For example
Bhadraasana, Vistrutpaadaasana, Angusht`ha-naasaaspars`hanaasana
In Yoga, few Bandhas are described out of which Moolabandha is most effective when practiced in pregnancy. This helps o achieve good control on pelvic floor muscles. By practicing this pregnant woman learns the art of relaxation of these muscles as they an important role at the time of child birth.
Praan`aayama It has got four stages
Out of these four Kumbhaka phase is eliminated and not advised in pregnancy but simple Pooraka (inhalation) and Rechaka (exhalation) can be performed by various ways like
- Three stepped breathing
- Urah S`hwasana (chest breathing)
- Udara S`hwasana (abdominal breathing)
- Mishra / Yogic breathing (mixed breathing)
Praan`aayama is the first step towards meditation.
Teaches how to relax
It can be practiced at the time of labor to reduce pain and it works effectively when it is done in proper manner.
Meditation and prayer
It helps in introspection and self realization
It gives the power to know the body and the mind from the depth
It improves mind power
It helps to reduce psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, doubts, fear, and tension
Purity /Satvagun`a is more when one practices the meditation which may influence the intellectual growth of the baby when it is in the womb.
This is an art. It is very useful in the last trimester as it is very difficult to go through the physical as well as the psychological changes. Because of the changed posture there are certain limits, so the pregnant woman does not feel comfortable and does not get enough of rest which is very essential at this particular period.
This rest can be achieved by using the proper relaxation techniques.
Relaxation is also beneficial at the time of labor as it is an active process and which needs the through cooperation of the woman.
When to practice Yoga
Once in a day (morning/evening)
Complete schedule takes 45 minutes
Specific postures can be practiced as and when required
Meditation can be practiced for 10 to 12 minutes
Relaxation should be done at least for 25 to 30 minutes
Last updated on March 5th, 2021 at 08:02 am