Yoga Asanas or exercises are actually the ways of moving or holding the body in different positions. Yoga asanas ensures a healthy baby, which is the dream of every mother. Yoga has several exercises or postures that work efficiently on a woman's health during complicated pregnancy conditions. These exercises vary widely in application and style. These postures gently stretch and explore all parts of the body. During pregnancy, yoga asanas are essentially a gentle way to keep the mother's body parts active and supple. The remarkable effects of these postures in pregnancy show the power of yoga for ensuring a problem free pregnancy, natural childbirth and restoration of body shape even after childbirth. Yoga during pregnancy can be usually classified into two phases, namely before birth or the 'prenatal' phase and after birth or the 'post natal' phases. The exercises are different in both the phases and have distinctive characteristics.
There are specific ways how Yoga asanas usually help in prenatal pregnancy, namely relieving edema (fluid retention) and cramping. Such problems can be quite frequent in the last months. Yoga asanas also influence the position of the baby and turning it in advance if needed. They also strengthen and massage the abdomen which helps stimulate bowel action and appetite. Raising the level of energy, yoga asanas also help in slowing the metabolism to restore calm and focus. Regular practice of yoga asanas during pregnancy tenure reduces nausea, morning sickness and mood swings. The best option is to practice these asanas in combination with pranayamas (yogic breathing). The would-be mother can focus on relieving tension around the cervix and birth canal and opening of the pelvis to make the labor easier and quicker and practice Yoga asanas.
'Titali' Asana or the butterfly pose opens up the hips and inner thighs, and removes tension from the inner thigh area. In addition, it stretches the knees and groin area. It is one of the most beneficial pregnancy poses and if done consistently right from the first trimester, it will certainly ease childbirth to a great extent. One should be slow and gentle, or else it may lead to strain or tearing of a ligament.
Squats or 'Utthanasan' makes incredibly easy delivery. One has to keep the feet around three feet apart, with both heels facing inwards and toes facing outwards. Interlocking the fingers, one should let hands hang down in front. Gradually lowering the buttocks, one has to keep the feet flat on the floor. One must not raise the heels; stay down for a few seconds, and then stand up again. This is similar to the position adopted by housecleaners when they sweep the floor, which is why sweeping floors is actually a brilliant exercise for all women.
The Cat Stretch Pose or 'Marjari Aasana' strengthens the neck, shoulders and spine. Moreover, it tones up the entire reproductive system, and is very beneficial for women before, during and after pregnancy. One should always start this asana with the Vajrasana pose, the raise the buttocks off the heels and bend forward, leaning on the palms. When the woman is on all fours, she should inhale, raising the head and pushing down the arch of your back, which gets the concave shape. After exhaling, she should contract the stomach by pulling the navel up towards the spine. This yoga asana can be repeated for six times.
Yoga asanas greatly contribute in during the post natal moths of the mother. Regular practice of Yoga asanas restores the uterus, abdomen and the pelvic floor; relieving upper back tension and breast discomfort. After the baby is born, even if delivery was uncomplicated, a woman often experiences difficulty in many ways. She may be unable to adjust to the many demands that come upon her in addition to the decrease of hormones that were once active all across her body. She may experience exhaustion and fatigue and feel aches and pains. Depression occurs frequently in new mothers and sometimes leads to catastrophic results if not attended properly.
A daily yoga practice during the post natal times includes some particular Yoga asanas, pranayama and meditation. These particular Yoga asanas relieve symptoms of fatigue and tiredness and increases the positive energy flow. Yoga asanas massages and tightens the internal organs, mainly the womb, which has undergone great changes during pregnancy, and restores suppleness and strength of the abdominals. Yoga strengthens and stretches the back that has been strained from pressure and weight gain and thus restores the pelvic area, its hips and bones. Yoga asanas stimulates the pituitary glands which regulate prolactin, helping with the production of milk for breast feeding mothers during the lactating period. During post natal pregnancy period, Yoga asanas strengthens stretches and relieves pressure in the upper body, neck and shoulders due to the weight of carrying the new baby and helping restore proper posture and a healthy spine.
Pranayama breathing techniques help women during such crisis periods by increasing oxygen and energy levels in the body and promote a feeling of relaxation that is much needed rejuvenation. Meditation can help to center and soothe the mind and restore a sense of balance, leading to a greater capacity to handle the demands of motherhood. Yoga asanas are classified according to the mother's requirements and health conditions. However, it is always recommended that one should follow these under expert guidance.
Combining asanas with pranayamas, meditation and relaxation techniques; is always considered to be the best way in order to attain the optimum benefits. Pregnancy is a sensitive tenure of a woman's lifetime and every precaution has to be taken to ensure the safety of the child and mother. Yoga in pregnancy is essential to make it smooth and easy. Painful and complicated surgeries can be often avoided by practicing proper yoga asanas under the guidance of an expert Yoga teacher.
(Last Updated on : 09-04-2013)
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