Experience the benefits of prenatal yoga

By Amanda Bloye on July 24, 2013
If you’re in your third trimester, it’s possible you haven’t seen your toes in months. Though the relief of yoga may seem an impossible dream, studios offering prenatal yoga classes have designed the classes with an expectant mother’s needs in mind, giving pregnant women some much needed relief.

“Prenatal yoga is a specialty class designed just for mother and baby to prepare physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually for the natural process of childbirth and motherhood,” says Jannine Markou, yoga teacher at The Space Within. “These classes can be extremely benefi cial in providing relief for common pregnancy discomforts such as fatigue, back pain, shortness of breath, swelling, varicose veins, and sciatic and pelvic pain.”

The classes also focus on breathing and how those techniques can help moms when in labour.

“A lot of tension can be relieved through breath work, which can bring balance into the body,” says Ladan Paolini, teacher and founder of Body to Bliss Yoga. “More than anything else, expectant moms will come out of our classes learning how to breathe.”

Beyond the physical pluses, those attending prenatal yoga classes fi nd that spending time with other expectant mothers can have emotional and mental benefi ts, as well.

“The class is a safe and loving space for mothers to come to each week,” Jannine says. “It’s a space that gives expectant women the opportunity to be around one another, make new friendships, share personal experiences and learn from each other in a supportive community.”

At 12 weeks, Shawnna Truelove-Kniginyzky was already tired of being pregnant. Though active before her pregnancy, the intense nausea she suffered made day-to-day life diffi cult. After five months Shawnna decided to try prenatal yoga as a way to get back to her old self.

“Once I convinced myself that I wouldn’t be sick in the middle of a class, I was happy that I tried prenatal yoga,” she said. “I would always walk out of there feeling tired, but a little more sane than when I walked in. Something about being around that many pregnant women who are all going through the same things you are, it doesn’t make you feel so alone.”

“Prenatal yoga is the safest way an expectant mother can exercise,” says Ladan. “The classes are in a very calm and supportive environment, and involve gentle movements that also create strength in parts of the body that will support the body through labour.”

The added bonuses

Connection: With a hectic schedule, it can be difficult to appreciate and embrace pregnancy. Prenatal yoga can be a time to connect to self and baby, and help you become aware of what feels right.

Movement: During pregnancy the body stiffens, and back and leg pain can be uncomf ortable. Yoga helps loosen sore muscles and creates movement in the joints, which can help release tension.

Postnatal recovery: In Ladan Paolini’s classes, the instructors include a focus on postnatal recovery through specific poses. These include opening the chest and strengthening the core, which moms can continue after baby is born.

Originally pubished in ParentsCanada magazine, August/September 2013.

By Amanda Bloye| July 24, 2013

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