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A Review Of Yoga For Pregnant Women

Dec 31, 2007
There are many reasons to take a yoga class, but the main one for most Americans is to find relaxation and improve health -- not just muscular, but cardiovascular and mental health as well. Yoga for pregnant women can make all the difference in the mother's mindset. When combating fatigue, weight gain, tenderness, swelling, mood swings, cravings, constipation, leg cramps and headaches, its practice can be the only respite.

Pregnant women practice this relaxation technique for physical benefits. For instance, its practice can teach techniques that will be helpful during labor, such as breathing and relieving tension around the cervix and birth canal. Additionally, prenatal physicians recommend combining a light cardiovascular exercise (like walking) with a relaxing, muscle-toning exercise (like yoga) to maintain your physique, in spite of the intense cravings and normal weight gain associated with pregnancy.

Other pregnant women practice yoga for mental benefits. For one, it can be a great support to meet other women going through the same thing you are. Also, there is much emphasis on focusing on the moment and deriving happiness from each and every day, which can be vital when your hormones are out of whack. It has been known to stimulate beta-endorphins, which also brings comfort and a sense of relief.

You may be wondering which of its poses are safe for you and your baby. In the first trimester, standing positions will help circulation, strengthening of the legs and increased energy. Poses like "the mountain," "the triangle," "the warrior," "the tree yoga," "the standing side stretch" and "the standing spread leg forward bend" will all provide relaxing and satisfying stretches. During this time, you may perform poses that require you to lay on your back, but you should avoid back and belly poses into the next trimester.

In the second and third trimesters, practice time should be cut down considerably to avoid fatigue or overdoing it. Don't hold poses too long and use a chair or wall for balance, if necessary. Remember to put pressure on the shoulders and back, but never the abdomen.

The sitting poses, plus more emphasis on breathing techniques are most practical towards the end of your pregnancy. Try poses like "the hero," "the sage twist" and "the cobbler."

For its classes, look at Yoga website and search for a center near you. If you'd rather practice alone, some videos that focus on it for pregnancy include:

- Yoga Journal's Prenatal Yoga with Shiva Rea;
- Dr. Christine Anderson's Dynamic Prenatal Yoga;
- Prenatal Yoga: A Complete Home Practice For A Healthy Mother and Baby;
- Yoga Journal and Lamaze present Yoga For Your Pregnancy and;
- Prenatal Yoga Complete.

You can read user reviews at Amazon website -- or a good place to check out is YouTube (just type in "prenatal yoga" and preview or watch actual videos)!
About the Author
Mike Selvon's yoga portal has some more useful information on yoga for pregnant women. Visit his web site and leave a comment at his yoga therapy blog.
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