Yoga and Pregnancy – A Great Combination

Health Benefits of Yoga During PregnancyThere are numerous health benefits of yoga for every individual, but yoga during pregnancy is even more important. Women have great hormonal, biological and anatomical changes throughout pregnancy that might bring about unwanted problems. Pregnancy may also make women feel trapped, insecure and unsure of the outcome of the pregnancy. All of this may cause significant physical and mental distress. But practicing yoga while pregnant, with appropriate modifications and support from their health care professional, can help women discover much needed comfort, not just through minimizing anxiousness and instilling peacefulness, but also in strengthening the body and releasing tightness in the hips in preparation for birth and also by increasing oxygen and energy. A great deal of information is available on the Internet and can also be found on a yoga DVD about pregnancy.Yoga can increase self-assurance levels and stimulate the intuitive instincts. These elements allow for a smooth, uncomplicated delivery. Special Yogic respiratory techniques, called Pranayama, may help mother and fetus get more oxygen. Deep breathing relaxes the mother during labor; it also can help her focus and control her breathing when labor pains and contractions begin. Yoga during pregnancy helps lessen the strain on the muscular tissues and joints and improves blood circulation and the lymph fluids. Health benefits of yoga in pregnancy include a boost in the power, flexibility and elasticity of all muscles and improved posture. It relieves pain in the lower back and knees (a common problem in pregnancy). It lowers blood pressure and benefits the central nervous and endocrine systems.Stamina increases with regular yoga practice, which helps during labor. Continuing yoga subsequent to delivery will help bring back the strength and firmness of the principal muscles of the abdomen and back. Many health trials have been completed regarding the health benefits of yoga, reaching the conclusion that regular practice does the following:- Regulates the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems;- Improves the assimilation of nutritional compounds in the tissues;- Increases endorphins in the brain (cerebral chemicals, serotonin);- Increases blood flow and massages the muscular tissues and the internal systems;- Reverses the negative effects of the gravitational forces within the internal organs and the external body;- During Meditation, the presence of Alpha and Theta waves increase in the brain that are responsible for creating a state of calmness and equilibrium.Health Benefits of Yoga in Post-Natal RecoveryAfter the baby is born, even if delivery was uncomplicated, a woman may experience difficulty in several areas. She may be unable to cope with a number of demands that are placed on her. She may experience exhaustion and fatigue and many new aches and pains. Her life is now changed forever and the new obligations may appear insurmountable. Melancholy occurs frequently in new moms and sometimes leads to catastrophic outcomes if not attended to.A daily yoga practice of asana and Pranayama, as well as meditation, is highly recommended for post-natal recovery. Yoga will alleviate symptoms of exhaustion and tiredness and increases positive energy flow. Furthermore, it massages and tightens the internal organs, primarily the womb, which has undergone great changes during pregnancy, and restores resiliency and strength of the abdominals.Yoga stimulates the pituitary glands which regulate prolactin, helping with the production of milk for breast feeding moms. It strengthens the back muscles that have been strained from increasing body weight, and restores and strengthens the pelvic region, hips and bones. Yoga strengthens, stretches and relieves strain in the upper body, neck and shoulders due to the weight of carrying the new infant, and helps rebuild proper posture and a healthy back. Pranayama breathing techniques will help increase oxygen and energy levels in the body and promote a sense of calmness and much needed rejuvenation. Meditation helps to center and calm the mind and rebuilds a sense of stability, leading to a better capacity to respond to the demands of motherhood. There are a number of great books on yoga during pregnancy, or you can consult a good yoga DVD relevant to the topic for yoga positions during and after pregnancy.Yoga during pregnancy will help with the changes that happen physically and emotionally. Afterward, it will help with the transition needed for higher enjoyment and appreciation of, by far, the most amazing occurrence of all, the miracle of life!

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