by Leta Koontz-Stuyvesant
Yoga has increased in popularity in recent years. It has
been shown to lower blood pressure, improve sleep and digestion,
strengthen muscles and joints,and increase flexibility. Yoga
removes impurities from the body through the breath, sweat,
liver, kidneys, and digestive system. People who practice
yoga regularly report that they feel less stress and more
peace in their lives.
Pregnant woman can gain even additional benefits from practicing
yoga: relief from back pain and nausea, and increased stamina.
Yoga is a low-impact exercise that can help expectant moms
to stay in shape. And the breathing meditations practiced
in a yoga class may come in handy during labor!
Great changes take place in the human body during pregnancy.
Practicing yoga is a great way to slow down and appreciate
these changes. Yoga encourages you to be in the moment - to
be fully present. It encourages you to listen to your body,
to accept it as it is, and to surrender to its sometimes uncomfortable
changes. Through gentle stretches and simple strength-building
postures, you can improve your physical health. Through meditation,
you can reduce anxiety and self-critical thinking, thereby
improving your mental health!
If you are interested in practicing yoga during your pregnancy,
be aware that certain postures should be avoided (such as
those that involve laying on the back or belly). Get a video
or book that is specifically designed for expectant mothers
or attend a prenatal yoga class. These videos, books, and
classes will cover postures that help to reduce back pain,
swelling in the lower extremities, and misalignments due to
weight changes. Many postures (for example, squats) are useful
preparations for natural childbirth. During pregnancy, hormones
cause joints in the body to become loose (that's why women
often increase in shoe size). Yoga postures can help to stabilize
and strengthen these joints and promote flexibility in the
muscles and fascia.
The food that you eat, the oxygen that you breathe, and
your state of mind are all transmitted to your baby. The stress
you feel is the stress your baby feels. Yoga has developed
over thousands of years to help practitioners obtain optimal
physical health and a relaxed and peaceful state of mind.
The word yoga is a Sanskrit word meaning yoke or connection.
Yoga connects your body, mind, and spirit. Yoga can connect
you to your baby, too! The practice of yoga gives you the
opportunity to create a world (your body) for your baby that
is healthy and at peace.
Remember the words of Yogi Bhajan: "What a child learns
in the womb cannot be learned on earth." Leta Koontz-Stuyvesant
has been studying yoga since 1998. Her first instructor was
Lori Brungard. In 1999, a trip to India focused her interest
in Ashtanga yoga. She teaches at Schoolhouse Yoga in Pittsburgh,
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