Relieving discomfort, pain, and stress through yoga is simple: you just have to do it. Ok, it is a little bit more involved than that, but committing to trying out yoga is the first step towards having a more comfortable pregnancy. And I am referring to both physical comfort and peace of mind.
Starting yoga can be more challenging than it sounds. One of my main pet peeves is people telling me what to do; but I do have to admit that everything (and I mean everything) has to begin with the decision to take action.
So let me share with you the 3 surefire ways to get the most pain and stress relieving benefit from prenatal yoga. They are easy, I promise you.
1. Focus on breathing. This does not have to be complicated. Simply take some time and pay attention to your breath. It goes in and out. The more time you take to exhale, the more relaxing the effect. Slow, smooth, even breaths are best. You want to breathe into your belly, deep into your lungs, you should actually see your belly rise and fall with the breath. Then notice the rest of your body: let it be soft, invite your mind to be calm.
Focusing on the breath has a ton of benefits. It sends signals to your brain to go into a state of homeostasis (think equilibrium and stability). Just extending your exhale lets your brain and body know that everything is cool, safe, ok. This is good for you and your baby. As you experience stress, your ability to breathe yourself back to a stable state is essential to “beating” stress and resuming a peaceful state of mind. So go ahead and cherish your awesome power to calm yourself in a variety of situations.
2. Regular practice. Ok, maybe you think this one isn’t easy, but you already breathe everyday right? Make a point of practicing relaxing breathing every night before bed, or every time you need to go to the bathroom. (Imagine how often you will be enjoying the relaxing benefits of breathing!) You will require some commitment to regular hatha yoga practices to help with pain, but even 10 minutes a day is enough. Especially if that 10 minutes is spent completely present and with the wholehearted intention of feeling good.
3. Be comfortable with change. This one is really important because when you are pregnant, even comfortable positions are not comfortable for very long. It seems a little unfair, but there is a lesson in that the more you move, the better. It helps you stay strong; it creates awareness of your changing body’s needs; it speeds along labor; and babies love it. So explore finding yoga-inspired positions that are comfortable and pleasing to you. The more the merrier.
There are many opportunities to try prenatal yoga: There are classes, DVDs, online resources, books and of course YouTube. Really, all you have to do is decide to try it and there will be some way to work it into your life. You might have to give some things up or find time when you feel like there is none, but believe me: when you commit to practicing, everything will fall into place. You will feel better, have more energy, experience less pain, have more confidence, and be well on your way to birthing in a beautiful, strong and powerful way. I believe this and I believe in all women. Namaste.
About the Author:: Stephanie Michelet is a prenatal yoga teacher, birth doula and mentor. Expect to laugh, relax and leave your aches and pains behind. Stephanie’s classes are peaceful, gentle, safe and fun for all levels of experience and taught with the sincerest intention to help moms experience the best pregnancy and childbirth possible. Please visit LaliYoga.com to learn more about Stephanie’s classes and workshops.