Monday, November 5, 2012

5 Fab Benefits of Prenatal Yoga By Elizabeth Rowan - of MindBodyGreen Your Guide to Wellness Website

5 Fab Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

(Permission to reprint article given to me by Elizabeth Rowan. Article first published on MindBodyGreen Website )

We've all seen photos of Miranda Kerr, Jessica Alba, and January Jones  toting a yoga mat, bringing increasing awareness and cool factor to the  practice of prenatal yoga. While celebrity endorsements are great, are  you aware of the amazing power of prenatal yoga for both mom and baby?  At a glance, here’s a top five of the many, many benefits of prenatal yoga according to my students. The power of prenatal is nearly endless, but here’s a start.

1. Prenatal yoga doubles as a therapy session and support group. 

I start my prenatal yoga  classes with an extended check-in time, during which each mom  introduces herself, shares how she’s feeling – physically AND  emotionally – and has the opportunity to ask questions of fellow  students. This period provides an awesome peer support network for the  mom and the opportunity to share with others beyond her doctor and  partner. Sometimes this is the longest part of class – and that’s okay!  Moms share tips and learn from each other with every class, as well as  realize that their feelings and experiences are normal. Tears and  laughter are the norm, as are strong friendships that result from  sharing the journey of a pregnancy.

2. Yoga can help turn a breech or posterior baby. 

When  the baby is not positioned head down and facing downward, a host of  poses can encourage him/her to turn. Downward Facing Dog, Extended  Puppy, Bridge, Cat/Cow or pelvic rocking, even Legs Up the Wall poses  have the power to rotate the baby. This is amazing and can possibly  prevent a cesarean section too – often a surprise for my first time  moms.

3. Select poses can shorten the birth canal up to 30% when practiced during labor and delivery. 

Now  if that’s not a selling point, I don’t know what is! Goddess and other  squatting poses shorten the distance that the baby has to travel. (Avoid  practicing squats after 34 weeks though as they’re so effective they  can induce labor.) Lots of moms tell me they’ve put this into practice  in the labor/delivery room. Every prenatal class I teach incorporates  squats in some way.

4. Pranayama, mamas! 

Breath  is key when it comes to labor and delivery, and the ancient yogic  practice of pranayama is an awesome skill for moms to have before giving  birth. Prenatal yoga teaches forms of breathing  that can help alleviate heartburn and morning sickness, help the mother  push and/or control the urge to push during labor and delivery, connect  with the baby once hearing is developed, even incorporate into nursing  after the birth to the benefit of both mom and baby.

5. Prenatal yoga is an awesome gateway to a lifelong practice!

Many  moms find yoga for the first time when referred by a doctor or friend.  Similarly, prenatal is an equally attractive option for long practicing  yogis once they’re expecting. New practice for moms to have for life,  new practice variations for existing yogis. Everyone wins.

What  powers of prenatal yoga have you discovered through practicing or  teaching? Add your fab findings to the list in comments below!

(The above are fun facts and not meant to be medical advice. I can rock a yoga mat but definitely not a stethoscope!)

Pictured is pranayama mama Ashley Albrand!

Published  March 22, 2012 at 3:10 PM

About Elizabeth Rowan        
Elizabeth Rowan is a formerly anxious, multiple  BlackBerry-clutching executive who recently went all-in to lose the high  heels, teach yoga full-time and drum up some health and inner peace.  Elizabeth received her 200 hour yoga teaching training certificate from  Anahata Yoga, Hong Kong, in 2011 while studying under Yogananth  Andiappan, son of Dr. Asana Andiappan of Chennai, India. She is also a  certified Pranakriya prenatal yoga teacher by Jacci Reynolds and a  certified Radiant Child Yoga teacher by Shakta Khalsa. Elizabeth  currently teaches Hatha, Yin, Prenatal and Children’s yoga in Savannah,  Georgia after spending the last several years in Hong Kong.

Photography by Raftermen
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