Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’, which means ‘to unite’. It signifies unified balance between mind, body and soul. Yoga in pregnancy is a multidimensional physical, mental, emotional and intellectual preparation to deal with the many challenges of pregnancy. Childbirth is an emotional experience but leaves one feeling delighted, exhilarated and exhausted at the same time. Yoga assists with emotional regulation, makes you feel more empowered to make choices, helps you develop strong connections with your body, mind and the foetus, enables you to accept and appreciate yourself and increases the skills, confidence, self-efficiency and coping ability to manage pain during labour. On this International Day of Yoga, let us see why you must definitely make yoga an integral part of your pregnancy and post-pregnancy routine.
WHY YOGA IS A MUST FOR PREGNANT WOMEN
Yoga is a multifaceted approach to exercise that encourages stretching, focused breathing and mental centring to stay calm during labour. On this International Day of Yoga, here are a few reasons why you must make it a part of your daily ritual if you are pregnant.
1. Regular practice of yoga helps to reduce pregnancy challenges like
- Insomnia (improves sleep)
- Excessive maternal weight gain
- Low back & pelvic pain
- Urinary incontinence
- Risk of gestational diabetes
- Pregnancy induced hypertension
- Depression & anxiety (lowers the cortisol levels)
2. It will improve your ability to adapt to activities related to infant care
3. Regular practice will also improve posture and stamina
4. Yoga strengthens the muscles of the back , abdomen and pelvis resulting in
- Lower rates of induction of labour
- Shorter duration of labour
- Lowered perception of labour pains
- Lower rates of caesarean deliveries (inactive women are 3.7 times likely to have LSCS)
- Lower rates of preterm births
- Ensure delivery at appropriate gestational age. 40% of women have lower risk of preterm birth.
5. Enhances nervous system regulation and elevates mood.
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WHAT YOU SHOULD GO FOR: PRANAYAM, DYANA OR ASANAS?
Yoga is a contemplative practise which involves, physical postures (Asanas), breathing techniques (Pranayam) and concentration techniques (Dhyana). Asanas focus on building strength and balance. Pranayam makes one aware of one’s breathing and boosts lung function. Dhyan helps to pay close attention to thoughts & emotions to bring about a state of calm. Let us look at each of this practice.
This is a practise of complete prolonged and slow breathing. It energises and rejuvenates the mind and soul. Regular practice of Pranayama will provide emotional stability and help to eliminate anxiety, fear and stress from your life. It will also improve breathing capacity, stamina and vitality, which are no necessary when you are pregnant. Pranayam is of two types –
- Anulom vilom pranayama– Designed to hold breath, provide more oxygen to mother and baby.
- Bhramaripranyam – Helps to release stress, anger and calms the mind. Makes controlled breathing easier during labour.
This is nothing but meditation. It is relaxation technique which helps to focus, increase awareness and calm the mind. It helps to create harmony between the mind, body and soul. Sit with your spine straight and chant mantras like “OM” for 8-10 mins
Yoga asanas are positions, which stimulate various energies in the body. Here we list a few asanas or mudras.
- Aparna Mudra- helps deal with pain perception
- Gyan Mudra – calms and purifies the mind
- Aakash mudra- promotes positivity
- Pushan Mudra- helps to relieve nausea, heartburn and a feeling of fullness
- Yoga Bandha- refers to static postures. Involves repetitive constriction of rectal sphincter which helps to strengthen pelvic floor muscles and aids in natural birth. Also prevents urinary leak while coughing ,sneezing or laughing
BENEFITS OF POST-NATAL YOGA
Post-natal yoga is important. It helps you cope with many post-delivery problems and helps you get back on your feet faster after childbirth. On the occasion of International Day of Yoga, here are a few benefits of post-natal yoga.
- It helps you to regain balance and mobility faster
- It helps in muscular recovery
- It helps in post-delivery weight loss
- It calms the mind and helps you cope with stress and anxiety
- It restores lung functions and breathing patterns
- It helps you adjust to the demands in the post-natal period like breast feeding, healing and recovery as well as sleep deprivation.
Before beginning a yoga programme, get your doctor’s approval. It is not recommended if there are any pregnancy complications.
(This article is authored by Dr Loveleena Nadir, Yoga expert and Obstetrician and gynecologist, Rosewalk Hospital)
Published : June 19, 2021 9:00 am | Updated:June 19, 2021 9:01 am