I am 20 weeks pregnant and my exercise routine has fallen by the wayside to say the least. I used to walk regularly and go to the gym once or twice a week but during the first trimester I was so wiped out I stopped completely. I am starting to get my energy back and I want to pursue some form of exercise.
I have always been interested in prenatal yoga. I didn’t get around to it with my son so I thought I’d give it a go this time. I love the gentleness of it and the fact that you can practise at home. Friends have also told me that it helps with the birth.
Yoga teacher Leonie Percy has written a book called Mother Om in which she shares meditations and mindfulness tips on how to be a connected, content and calm mother. One chapter ‘Buddha Bellies’ focusses on the benefits of yoga during pregnancy.
Leonie and son Lael
Guest Post from Leonie Percy author of Mother OM.
Excerpt from chapter Buddha Bellies*
“Many women start on the yoga path when they become pregnant” Leonie Percy
A yoga practice connects you to your unborn child and prepares you emotionally and physically for the birth. It teaches mothers how to learn and listen, and to rest and nourish their bodies.
Yoga strengthens you and releases tension while uniting your body and mind. You experience a sense of oneness and acceptance.
It can be a very spiritual experience to have another person growing inside you. Another soul is connecting with you. Even if the pregnancy was unplanned, women feel an instant connection.
Yoga can lead you to feel empowered and positive towards pregnancy, birth and being a new mother.
Yoga can also be used to balance and refine these energies, emotions and intuitions, and much more.
I won’t be doing that!
The benefits of yoga when you are pregnant
- It builds up physical strength in your body.
- It relieves aches and pains – especially back pain.
- It teaches balance, making space for baby.
- It can help you open up your hips for the birth.
- It relieves stress and anxiety about your pregnancy and the birth.
- It helps you to bond with your baby.
- It teaches you how to breathe for the birth and pain management.
- It teaches you to rest, and to sleep when the baby sleeps.
- It helps you tap into your intuition, your mothers’ instinct.
- It empowers you, preparing you mentally for the birth.
Yoga practice is very much about balance and strength, both physical and emotional, and pregnancy is one of the most important times to be balancing and strengthening both of these elements of yourself.
Mamata Buddha belly moment
Every night before you go to sleep and every morning before you get out of bed, practise taking three Blissful Belly Breathes (She Births© technique). These are very long, wide and deep breaths into your belly. These are the best breaths for contractions in labour.
Lift your belly as much as you can and slow the breath down as much as possible. Count to 10 with the inhale and the exhale. Visualise a golden light coming into the belly and around your baby; protecting, nurturing and loving them with each breathe. Say to yourself that with each contraction, I will breathe long and wide and I will allow my body to do the work. I will relax and I let go.
Find your mindful moment today
Lie down and rest.
Understand that part of the pregnancy process is to feel emotional.
Find a prenatal yoga class.
Enjoy a pregnancy massage.
Create an open birth plan that considers all options.
Talk or sing to your unborn child.
Thanks so much to Leonie Percy for sharing these tips! I hoped they helped you, they have definitely helped me. For more information on Leonie and Mother Om visit her website Yogamamata.com.au.
Mamata Buddha belly moment provided by She Births www.shebirths.com.au for Mother Om.
*© Leonie Percy 2014