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YOGA FOR HEALTHY PREGNANCY – PRE-NATAL YOGA

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The aim of practicing yoga is to bring the newborn into the world with minimum pain and hassle.

Benefits of pre-natal yoga:

1. Yoga stabilizes emotions.

2. It facilitates blood circulation for both mother and the baby.

3. Yoga helps relax muscles and joints and makes them supple, strong and flexible.

4. It improves sleep, reduces stress and anxiety.

5. It leads to a marked increase in muscle strength and flexibility and so, helps in birthing.

6. Regular yoga decreases the risk of pre-term labor.

7. In the postnatal period, yoga strengthens the pelvic floor just like Kegel’s exercises. This prevents prolapse of pelvic organs, especially that of the uterus.

Before you begin prenatal yoga classes

• Consult your doctor before you embark on any exercise regimen.

• Make sure you go to a qualified yoga instructor who has experience in teaching pregnant women.

• At Risk Women especially those with a past history of miscarriage, issues of uterus, cervix should be extra careful

• Set aside a fixed time. Wear loose and comfortable clothing. Be relaxed. Avoid over-stretching at all costs.

• Use a chair if you want.

• Avoid long duration of activity. Hold each pose only for about 10 to 40 seconds, based on your comfort level. Do yoga twice a week for 5 to 20 minutes.

• Be in sync with your body. Don’t do any asana or breathing exercise vigorously. Don’t let your attention wander, lest you hurt yourself. Yoga is meditative, so being focused helps.

• Don’t lie on your abdomen.

• Consult your doctor immediately in case of any doubt. Stop immediately if there is any discomfort.

• After the first three months, don’t lie on your back as doing so impedes the blood flow to the uterus and can affect your pregnancy adversely.

Trikonasana or the triangle pose

Stand straight with your feet apart. Raise your arms and then bring them parallel to the floor, keeping your palms down. Now exhale and bend from your hip (not waist). Rest your right hand, without distorting your body, on your shin or ankle or on the floor while you stretch your other arm up in a line with your shoulder. Hold this pose for around a minute or less and then inhale as you come up. Reverse and repeat.

Benefits: This works the legs and also stretches the side body. Your shoulders open up and your hips are energized too.

Baddha Konasana or Butterfly pose Sit with your legs stretched in front of you. Then bend your knees, bring your feet in and make the soles of your feet touch. Clasp both feet with your hands and while you keep your back straight. Move your knees up and down — try touching the ground too — without moving your joined feet. It should resemble the movement of butterfly wings. Benefits: Stretches the inner things and hips and increases mobility of the hip joints.

Sitting Side Stretch Sit with your legs stretched in front of you. As you exhale, slowly spread out your legs. Then, fold your right leg and bring your heel towards your crotch. Let your left leg remain straight, with the toes pointing to the ceiling. Stretch your right hand towards the ceiling and bend sideways. Your left elbow should be near your left knee, palms facing upwards. Benefits: This asana opens up your side waist, pelvis and also stretches the hips.

Warrior Pose or Veerabhadrasana Keep a distance of two to three feet between your legs as you stand straight. Turn your left foot by 90 degrees and align the heels of both feet. Lift both your arms together and bring them parallel to the floor. Now exhale as you bend your right knee and look to your right. Your ankle and knee must be in a straight line. Stretch your arms, push down your pelvis gently. Keep breathing as you go lower. Inhale when you come up and exhale as you bring your hands to your sides. Reverse and repeat. This asana should be practiced with support — stand close to the wall. Benefits: Ladies in their second and third trimester will find this asana beneficial. This strengthens your limbs, improves balance, increases stamina and releases stress. Your lower back will also benefit.

Recommended Pranayam:

1. Anulom vilom

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Author: txnaturalpediatrics

By training, I am a American Board Certified Pediatrician. But in my younger years I grew up with natural alternatives. As a mom I have tried to incorporate both for my kids and it has worked wonders. And finally, as I am studying natural & alternative medicines, I realize the beauty and wisdom of living closer to earth. Hence in my practice I integrate both...for acute ailments I follow American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation but for simple and/or chronic conditions I prefer natural alternatives. In western training we were raised to think that "health is the absence of symptoms and problems". But eastern sensibilities has educated me that "Health is state that allows one to use the full capabilities of their body, mind and intellect. Therefore, healthy living is a balanced state of well being: physically, mentally, socially and spiritually." This implies that healing is not a "one-pill-fits-all", but a personalized experience.

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