Monday, March 21, 2016

Healthy Habits: Yoga for Labor - 4 Poses for Pregnancy That Strengthen Your Body

It can often times be hard to get up and exercise during those precious months of pregnancy. Some figure it out pretty quickly and fall into a good routine to stay healthy, but sometimes intense exercising can be worrisome for others. To keep it simple and safe, and definitely healthy, yoga can be a great alternative.
There are many benefits to yoga, whether you are pregnant are not. Some of the top benefits for pregnant women, however, are that it will help relieve back pain, headaches, nausea, and even can help lower carpal tunnel syndrome. On top of this yoga helps to improve sleep and reduces stress and anxiety. All things we need and can do without during such a special time. Before starting any yoga class at home or not be sure to talk to your doctor or health care provider. And, as always, pay attention to your body and invest in the right equipment (yoga pants, a block and a thick mat) to keep you safe.
Triangle Pose
This pose can be a huge help in getting you back into balance. Pregnancy can tend to heighten the tension and stress we carry in our bodies to levels we most likely aren’t use to. Triangle pose is a great yoga pose for pregnant women as it helps to stretch your sides, opens up your shoulders, energizes your hips and can work the legs too.
If you can’t reach the floor as you bend over, try using a block or stack of books to rest your hand on. Be sure to not push yourself too far or twist your body too much as this can actually be more harmful.
Nearly all women will experience back pain during some point of their pregnancy, and can even end up enduring what is called back labor. One of the best yoga exercises to help relieve this pain is the cat-cow. This exercise will help warm up your spine and stretch your body. This pose can also help to move the weight of the baby away your spine and provide added relief.
Wide Squat
It doesn’t necessarily have to be a wide squat, but squatting whether wide or regular, every day can really help open up the pelvis and strengthen your upper legs. Squatting can also help you body to relax. Be sure that as you continue to get further along into your pregnancy (and a bit heavier) that you use props or even a few stacked books to rest your butt on.
Goddess pose is another great yoga exercise for pregnancy. This pose helps to strengthen the thighs and legs which are most used during labor. The added benefit of the Goddess pose is that is safe and can be done during every trimester of pregnancy. For another great pose, you can easily transition from Goddess to Side Goddess. Lean over to one side, rest your elbow on your thigh while raising your other arm up overhead. This will double the benefits of triangle (stretching the side) while also strengthening your legs at the same time.
Final Tips
Some final tips for doing yoga while pregnant: make sure to avoid doing any moves that require you to lie on your back or belly, and ones that require you to do deep forward or back bends and twists. Lying on your back puts pressure on the vein that returns blood from your legs to your heart. This can cause nausea, dizziness and shortness of breath. Deep bends and twists can stretch abdominals muscles too much and could even cause tears or strains. Also avoid hot yoga or Bikram classes and any breathing exercises that require you to hold your breath for a period of time. These can also cause you to become dizzy or lightheaded.
Most importantly pay attention to your body. As you get further along into your pregnancy, the center of your gravity will tend to shift which may cause difficulty in some poses. Don’t be afraid to use props to help better assist you. Another important rule of thumb is to not stretch further than what you have already done before pregnancy. Start slow, and only do poses that are in your level of comfort and experience.

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