Experience the benefits of prenatal yoga



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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.

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