Guest Post - Bettina Rae
Has pregnancy been a bit of a struggle? Sickness? Aches and pains? Uncomfortable? Are you feeling afraid around what is to come?
What if there was a something you could do, today, that would ease all of these things?
Pregnancy yoga is more than just a trend. It’s a practice that can help you to connect with your baby, overcome fears around birth and motherhood, ease the typical aches and pains AND give you the tools to actually enjoy labour and birth.
Sign me up you say?
Awesome. A few things you should know first.
What you need to know about practicing yoga whilst pregnant.
Pregnancy and birth are sacred processes in becoming a mother. Life changing rites of passage. Typically in the West we don’t honour these times of transformation as well as other cultures. We often gift the mother-to-be with everything she will physically need for the baby, when what she really needs is our love , support and wisdom. There is however a growing consciousness around women and the need to return to the ‘village’ approach when birthing and raising children.
The path to motherhood involves every aspect of us as women – it transforms our physical body, our thoughts and our emotions. The way we approach these changes can heavily influence how we feel about ourselves in our new role as a Mother and how we feel about life in general. If we resist or ignore the transformation and continue on as we always have, life becomes a struggle. But if we honour and celebrate these changes it is easier to surrender and embrace our new lives as mothers. By valuing the changes we go through to become a mother we can empower ourselves in this new role.
Pregnancy yoga helps you soften and surrender to the process of becoming a mother and trust that everything will unfold exactly as it should, without needing to control or try to change the process. It is also a beautiful way to grow your own network of women going through the same experience and I thoroughly recommend joining a class if that option is available to you. The connections you make during these classes will be so valuable to you when you are in the depths of your mothering experience. You will NEED the support of other women going through the same experience to cheer you on, and to listen when you need to vent.
You may find the recommendations don’t apply to you every day and some days you feel strong and can do more than others. This is why now more than ever we need to connect mind and body and be aware of the choices we are making, for our safety as well as our babies.
- adjust poses to accommodate growing belly and changed centre of gravity by widening stance to hip width or wider and not practicing closed twists which constrict the belly.
- be careful not to overstretch. Hormones are already allowing your ligaments and tendons to relax more than usual.
- avoid abdominal work that causes strain as you risk causing the abdominal muscle separation to worsen
- move slowly especially when moving the head from high to low as changing blood pressures may make you feel faint.
- earn and practice correct alignment of the pelvis to help with back pain, sciatica and instability of the pelvis
- avoid deep back bends are weakening core muscles mean you do that have the muscle support to practice these poses safely.
- after the fourth month it is recommended that you do not lie flat on your back as this places pressure on a major artery and can affect blood flow to the baby.
- avoid overheating by wearing cool clothing and coming to child’s pose to rest when you need
- when moving in and out of poses, use the arms to support you to avoid straining the core. Eg. rising from lying to sitting
If you’d like to dive straight into a yoga class, try this pregnancy yoga flow for beginners.
Bettina Rae is a yoga teacher, counsellor and Mama to two young boys. She runs an online yoga studio for mothers to help them through pregnancy and birth, to practice yoga at home and to reconnect with themselves after having children. Her active community of women also gather monthly for women's circles (both online and in-person) for yoga, group meditation, healing and sharing their stories. She facilitates the online program; VIVE - 21 lessons to ditch overwhelm, reconnect and truly enjoy motherhood.
Don't forget to sign up to our newsletter for more helpful blog posts like this one!