Pregnancy is a time of monumental transformation. How can Prenatal Yoga support you during this incredible journey?
Physical Body: Your body is stretching from the inside to make room for a second human to share the space within, and your organs are being displaced to accommodate your new roommate. Symptoms from sciatica to nausea to varicose veins can make physical existence uncomfortable. While pregnancy is a joy and a miracle it also comes with discomfort.
Yoga directly addresses common physical discomforts through postures that release, tone, and enliven muscles, ligaments, organs, and nerves. When you move through yoga postures, your whole body takes part in a dance that moves blood and fluids to purify the body’s systems.
Labor and birth can be long and hard. It deserves no less attention than training for a marathon does. And if you want a training regimen for labor, yoga is it. All the key movements that help a baby be born are replicated in yoga postures. By moving in spirals, circles, toning and releasing the pelvic floor, opening the hips, and breathing deeply into all parts of your lungs, you prepare for the big day when your body will facilitate bringing a new human being onto the earth.
Emotional Body: Beyond the physical transformation that pregnancy instigates, there’s the emotional impact. The hormone soup that bathes your inner world and regulates your emotions is suddenly shaken. Beyond that, you know in some vague sort of way that the freedom to sleep for a whole night is about to be revoked for years. Anxiety, depression, anger, obsessive thoughts, and sadness may flow unpredictably and erratically through the lives of many pregnant women.
Yoga supports your emotional well being by bringing balance to your mind, deepening your perspective, and releasing emotional energy from your body’s tissues. This is supported by postures and breathing techniques that help to move energy/prana through the body and of course meditation, which provides some distance between the “I” and the thought that creates or reinforces the emotion. The ancient wisdom of yogic philosophy can also support a balanced and resilient mental/emotional complex. We learn about santosha, or radical acceptance; shraddha or faith/trust in what is; and viveka, or discernment between the thoughts that serve us and those that don’t.
Spiritual Body: A new human being – mind, body, and soul – is being born within you. The deepest mystery of the universe is taking place within you. And it’s changing your sense of self, your identity. The individual that you have experienced yourself to be for decades will be no more, as your destiny is joined to a tiny being that will depend entirely on you.
Yoga helps you to embrace the spiritual transformation that is inherent to pregnancy and harness it to support a deepening awareness of the timeless YOU that lives beneath all definitions and circumstances. It invites you to explore deeper and deeper levels of “Self”, integrating and synthesizing them as you go. It prompts you to ask yourself the most important questions and find the answers hidden within the depth of your breath, resting in intuition and relationship to spirit.
It’s no wonder that during this journey that really has no parallel in ordinary life, women seek out a yoga practice because it is so complete. An ancient practice steeped with wisdom, yet one that is evolving over the years to serve the ever-changing culture we live within.
This wisdom and much more can be found in Birthing Mama® an online holistic pregnancy program.
BIO: Corinne Andrews is the founder and head author of Birthing Mama®. As the owner of Yoga Center Amherst, a senior Embodyoga® teacher and the Co-founder of the local Birthing Mama Yoga, she has been teaching yoga to people of all ages and abilities since 2003. In addition to classes, Corinne teaches private yoga sessions for health and healing. She is the mother of two children who are her greatest spiritual teachers and the focus of her life when she is not practicing or teaching yoga or experimenting in the garden and kitchen.