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  • Yoga and Exercise During and After Pregnancy

    What is yoga

    Yoga was first elucidated by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. It is a scientific system that is used to being the body, mind and spirit into alignment, creating mental and physical health.

    This system of beliefs and practices originated over 2500 years ago.

    Yoga is often thought to be about bending and stretching in class (‘asanas’) however in fact Yoga includes self-inquiry (meditation), an ethical lifestyle and positive thinking as well as the physical yoga postures.

    The asanas make the body strong and create the health required to carry out the more philosophical realms of yoga, such as compassionate actions and selfless service.

     

    What is meditation

    Meditation is a way of training the mind so that we have more control over it. This is done in a kind and gentle manner.

    If we don’t have any control over our minds, our thoughts wander all over the place. We find it hard to concentrate and may feel depressed or overwhelmed at times.

    Through meditation, we expose any weaknesses in the mind, training it to become stronger. The way that we do this in meditation is just to sit and observe thoughts that come and go without getting attached to the thoughts or labelling them as good or bad.

    In a compassionate manner, we sit with ourselves without reacting in habitual ways or judging ourselves for the thoughts that may arise.

    With regular meditation, states of mind and events can be perceived as being temporary and subject to constant change.

    Everything arises and passes. Birth and death can be seen as important parts of this impermanence. When done regularly enough, meditation brings great happiness and peace of mind.

     

    Why yoga is beneficial for new mums

    Posture

    Having carried a child, your posture may need some gentle assistance to get back in alignment. Yoga asanas are fantastic for posture.

    Strength

    Yoga builds incredible strength – very useful for carrying babies and children and associated paraphernalia around!

    Karma Yoga

    Karma Yoga is the name given to acts of selfless service such as charity work and other forms of helping others. Caring for a helpless infant or child is a perfect example of Karma Yoga!

    Flexibility

    Kids have incredible natural flexibility. Why shouldn’t mums have too! An increase in flexibility is one of the more noticeable benefits of regular yoga practice.

    Stamina

    Mums need plenty of stamina! For the first year of baby, exhaustion can be overwhelming and hard to cope with. An extra dose of energy may be greatly appreciated to help deal with sleep deprivation. Yoga helps to build stamina and endurance to deal with not only post-partum tiredness but also to help with keeping up with energetic older kids.

     

    Yoga has a range of benefits to assist mothers of all ages to achieve optimal mental and physical health. If you have never given yoga a try, or if your practice has lapsed, now might be a perfect time to start!

     

    Benefits of Exercise During and After Pregnancy

    Published research continues to mount supporting the idea that exercise is not only safe during pregnancy, but that exercise provides many benefits to both mother and baby. Studies have shown women who exercise at a mild to moderate intensity for 30 minutes three or more times a week will experience the following positive effects:

    The benefits do not stop with the mother. Babies born to women who exercise:

    Exercise is a plus for postpartum moms too. Women who continue their exercise program after delivery experience positive benefits, and those who start working out for the first time after their babies are born have:

    Postpartum moms receive even greater benefits when they work out in a group setting such as an aerobics, dance or barre class. Women who exercise in a group postpartum have been shown to have more success at maintaining weight loss than those who exercise alone. (O’Toole, 2003)

    Guidelines

    All pre/postnatal students should have medical clearance from their health care provider to attend a pregnancy class or private session. Students who are less than 12 weeks postpartum (meaning their baby is less than 3 months old) should also have medical clearance.