8
YOGA FOUNDATIONS
Becoming a mother is a very personal adventure. Although your health-care provider monitors your
health and your baby’s growth through pregnancy, yoga brings a calm strength and inner balance that
enables you to overcome whatever challenges lie ahead. Whether you are an accomplished yogi, a gym
addict, or new to exercise, you will find that yoga is a wonderful and valuable asset in pregnancy.
WHY YOGA IN PREGNANCY?
Adapting yoga poses to suit pregnancy varies between
different schools of yoga, but all stress the importance
of relaxation and taking safety precautions. This book
supports continuity in your motherhood journey with
yoga from the early weeks of pregnancy to the fourth
month after birth. However fit and experienced at
yoga you may be, gentle yoga is best in pregnancy to
help you tone muscles deeply, promoting the elasticity
and resilience needed to make space for your baby and
recover your core well-being after giving birth.
TONING YOUR PELVIC MUSCLES
Your pelvic floor muscles, which form a multiplex
“hammock” of muscles attached to your lower back
and abdominal muscles, require specific training to
give your uterus and other organs optimal support
in pregnancy. Deep breathing and exercises prepare
these muscles to become “birthing muscles” by
increasing their elasticity. You will learn to recognize,
isolate, and activate different muscle groups so that you
can use them most effectively during the birth. Your
aim is to “birth lightly”—making use of your breath
to control these muscles and increase the efficacy of
uterine contractions while keeping the rest of your
body relaxed. Whatever individual needs you have
during the birth, this yoga practice will allow you to
release any fear and tension as your baby is born.
THE POWER OF DEEP BREATHING
Toning with your breath is the main focus of the
adapted yoga in this book. Your breath is one of yoga’s
main tools of discovery and connection; with it, you
become increasingly self-aware and step lightly through
the life-changing experience of motherhood.
Instead of relying on willpower to feel in control
during pregnancy and birth, use yoga to help you listen
to your body and respond calmly. Relaxation with deep
breathing is an effective way to soothe discomforts or
disturbing emotions early, before they require further
intervention. A greater awareness of your breathing
rhythms as you stretch and relax also nurtures you,
creating a sense of well-being and contentment that
extends through you to your baby, your partner, and
your family.
The benefits of yoga can continue long after the
birth, when deep breathing is used to tone your pelvic
floor into peak condition and keep your energies in
balance as you adjust to the demands of caring for
your newborn.
LOCATING YOUR PELVIC FLOOR
The pelvic floor muscles stretch all the way across the
base of the body, from pubic bone to tailbone (coccyx),
and hold all the abdominal organs in place.
Pelvic floor
Pubic bone
Coccyx
(tailbone)
Rectum
Bladder
Uterus
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9
Adapted poses In pregnancy, classic
poses are practiced using strong leg
positions to promote overall strength
and stability. Some poses include
movement to avoid tension and strain
and to create greater ease, enjoyment,
and a feeling of lightness—always in
accordance with the principles of yoga.
Keep your knees slightly
bent to ensure good
spinal alignment
Keep your spine
well aligned and
don’t lean back
Push your
elbows back
Keep your
fingers close
together as
you stretch
Centering Aligning your spine and
breathing deeply as you focus on your
birthing muscles helps you relax and
center yourself. Centering lets you
access infinite reserves of power to
renew your inner strength and recharge
yourself emotionally.
WHY YOGA IN PREGNANCY?
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