Yoga and Prenatal

Benefits of Yoga

  • Prenatal

Prenatal yoga "tones the physical body, especially the pelvic floor, hip, and abdominal core muscles, in preparation for the birthing process," says Liz Owen, a Boston-based yoga teacher and the co-author of Yoga for a Healthy Lower Back: A Practical Guide to Developing Strength and Relieving Pain. A properly toned muscle has the right balance between length and strength -- it is neither too lax nor too tight. Building and maintaining muscle tone during pregnancy, with yoga poses like lunges and gentle backbends, can help minimize the aches and pains of those nine months, and are key in bringing your body back to a toned condition after delivery, Owen says.

Prenatal yoga is also effective for pregnancy discomforts such as lower back pain, nausea, insomnia, headaches, shortness of breath, and carpal tunnel syndrome. By stretching and toning muscles, you can help blood circulate throughout the body in a healthy way, and deep breathing can bring much-needed oxygen to your baby and to your own muscles. A 2012 University of Michigan study showed that mindfulness yoga, which combines physical poses with meditation practices, can bring measurable relief to the depression that can accompany the emotional journey of pregnancy. Of course, not all symptoms are guaranteed to disappear altogether, but the multidimensional approach of yoga to both physical and emotional health can help your body take the uncomfortable aspects of pregnancy in stride.

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