by: Shreya of Dose of Wellness Blog
I’ve been practicing yoga for over 5 years and been teaching yoga for over a year now. I’m certified in Vinyasa Yoga as well as Yin Yoga. Through my practice and teaching, I’ve learned so much about my body, my mind, and my spirit. Yoga has taught me how to be mindful and intentional in how I live my life. Most importantly it’s taught me how to let go of what doesn’t serve me.
When I found out I was pregnant, it was really important to me to continue my practice. My practice has evolved along with my changing, growing body and I’ve had to learn how to get back to the basics. To my surprise, it’s the foundational practices that have really helped me get through the changes and challenges that come with pregnancy.
Here are the 5 ways yoga is guiding me through my pregnancy journey.
The number one thing I always say to my yoga students is: “If you’re breathing, you’re successful.” I’ve had to take this advice and apply it to myself more than ever during this time. In dealing with difficulties and challenges like nausea, discomfort, hormonal mood swings, and all the other symptoms that can come along with growing a tiny human, I’ve found that my breath is what always brings me back to the present moment. This is a fundamental teaching in yoga. Breathing can help relieve stress and anxiety on a physical and mental level. Taking a moment amidst the chaos to simply breathe has worked wonders for me.
Being in the fitness world and being used to regularly moving my body, I was really disappointed in myself for not being able to keep up with my fitness. It was a big adjustment as first trimester symptoms kicked in to find different ways to keep my body moving. Coming to my mat and practicing yoga was one of the things that made me feel great about moving my body and allowed me the freedom to cater to my new body’s needs. I had to change my mindset and realize that any movement was good for my body and I didn’t have to move in the same way as I used to pre-pregnancy. A prenatal-friendly yoga practice and going on walks has been my primary form of movement as I’ve been moving through my pregnancy.
3. Listening to Your Body
One of the biggest advantages of practicing yoga is learning to connect with your body. Tuning inward and being able to recognize what your body needs is a big part of the practice of yoga. It’s more important than ever, during pregnancy, to listen to your body and give your body what it needs. Some days your body just needs rest, some days it needs fuel, some days it needs movement and somedays it needs all of the above. Having experienced recognizing what my body is asking for, made it easier to listen to my body and give myself space when I need it.
It’s hard enough to relax in this modern, super high energy, active world when you’re not pregnant. A mixture of hormones, wanting to be prepared and dealing with all the changes with pregnancy makes it even more difficult to relax when you need it the most. The practice of yoga and meditation has helped me get in that relaxed space. Whether it’s a gentle yin or restorative practice with lots of props, or just a simple meditation, I’ve always felt better when I’ve prioritized these practices. I am confident that practicing these techniques throughout pregnancy will be helpful as I get closer to labor and delivery and finally give birth to my little blessing.
My yoga practice prior to pregnancy definitely included a lot of work on physical strength. Whether it was working on inversions, arm balances or core strength I always incorporated an element of strength and balance in my practice. As I’ve transitioned through pregnancy, I’ve incorporated some of those strengthening flows, but I’ve been focusing more on mental strength. I’ve also been focusing more on the pelvic floor and core strength to prepare my body to give birth through my practice.
Whether you’ve been practicing yoga for years, have just started
out in your practice or are just beginning to learn about yoga, I highly encourage you to incorporate yoga into your routine during pregnancy. The benefits I and many other women have experienced are well worth the investment in a prenatal yoga class, or online
program. Yoga has definitely made me feel more connected to my body and to my baby as we go through this journey. Whether you’re planning on growing your family soon or you already have a bun in the oven, take time for you, make your mental, physical and emotional
health a priority and know that you’ll get through it all. Wishing you a healthy and happy pregnancy!