Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mama La Vida Lanka: Pre-Natal Yoga Part 1

photo borrowed from the yogapose.com

When I first found out I was pregnant, I knew I had to prepare my body for the journey ahead.  It’s quite an experience because a pregnant woman’s body goes through a lot of changes for 9 months and even after delivery.  I’m not one for a sedentary lifestyle (even before I was pregnant) and I wanted to keep exercising.  I love running and yoga and because running is not for pregnant women, yoga it is!  Luckily the Yoga Studio I’ve been going to have a special program for Pregnant Women.

Pre-Natal yoga usually starts around the 8th week.  I started mine around the 9th week.  The program differs depending on the trimester.  My first trimester program was simple – using most of the “regular” asanas (poses) but simplified or adapted to pregnancy.  For example in Savasana (corpse pose), instead of lying down on your back, you lie down on your left side – which is the sleeping position for pregnant women.  Many of the poses you also do against the wall – as with a growing belly, a pregnant woman’s center of gravity shifts.  In regular yoga, you are not supposed to eat or drink for at least 2 hours before the class.  With Pre-Natal yoga, you can eat or drink as you wish!  Moreover, if you feel like to have to cut down the number of repetition and what not, then you can easily tell your teacher and it will not be taken against you.  The key is listen to your body and respect what it needs.  It is no time to try and be a superwoman or prove your flexibility!

In the first trimester, the Sun Salutation is not done.  By the 4th month and 1st week, it is re-introduced to your program.  However with a slight twist.  Instead of going all the way down to the floor, you are supported by a chair propped against the wall.  Breathing during poses and breathing exercises also do not require holding the breath.  If during a normal yoga class, there seems to be more asanas than pranayama (breathing), a pre-natal yoga class would have a 60-40 split between asana versus pranayama.  Breathing is important in labor and practice makes perfect!

For the first two trimesters the key is really moving the body and enabling it to carry the baby and go through the many changes of pregnancy.  As you hit the third (and final!) trimester, more exercises will be to prepare your body for LABOR.  A class will also be set-aside (one of those last few classes) to invite hubby so teacher can also give him some instructions on what to do during labor.

I’m moving towards my 7th month and I have been enjoying my Pre-Natal classes!  For one it helps me to move my limbs and get that much needed exercise twice a week.  Also in my first trimester, my placenta was low.  I told my yoga teacher this and she asked me to do a special kind of relaxation.  By the 5th month my placenta was in the right place!  I really can’t assume a cause-and-effective relationship but I suppose it helped!  I also like it when during the relaxation, as you relax your whole body, you also move your focus on your womb and “picture your baby growing within you.”  Moreover during the final relaxation, I love it when the teacher asks me to focus on my heart chakra and “imagine love and compassion flowing” into my womb.  I imagine love and energy wrapping around our baby.  And that’s what it really is – all about love enveloping our baby. 

Watch out the second part of this post as I enter into my last trimester and prepare for labor with Pre-Natal Yoga.

If you are interested in Pre-Natal Yoga in Sri Lanka, contact Aurora Yoga Studio’s Nitya (0777703904).

Note: After 6 months and a dose of creative inspiration, I've changed the series title from Mommy Diaries to Mama La Vida Lanka :-) 

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