Yoga to Help with Pregnancy

oga offers many benefits for the pregnant woman. Yoga can help a pregnant woman get through her pregnancy with minimal discomfort. It can also help in the different stages of pregnancy, as well as the post-delivery stages. Since posture is improved by yoga, this can help ease back problems, which are common for a pregnant woman. Yoga continues to have benefits after pregnancy too. Postnatal yoga, which can be started approximately six weeks after the birth,[post-img] strengthens abdominal muscles and a woman’s pelvic floor. It also helps her to get back to her pre-pregnancy shape faster.

A pregnant woman often becomes hyper-aware of all the changes that her body is going through during the different stages of her pregnancy. Yoga brings an overall awareness to her body through focused breathing exercises, meditation and poses or "asanas." Yoga exercises allow a pregnant woman to adapt to the changes in herself more gracefully, and to afeel pride and a sense of
appreciation for her body.

Some of the mental benefits and physical benefits to practicing yoga during pregnancy include:

•    increased flexibility;
•    increased strength;
•    better circulation;
•    improved balance;
•    relaxation; and
•    focus.

Here are some tips for a pregnant woman who is following a yoga routine:

1. General yoga exercises are recommended in the first two months.

2. 'Pranayama' or breathing exercises should be done twice a day so that there is complete expulsion of carbon dioxide. This will give way for a fresh intake of oxygen. In Pranayama, first gently press on one nostril to close it and strongly exhale from the other nostril for about half a minute. Then close the open nostril, and exhale from the other nostril for 30 seconds, and then inhale from the same nostril for the same amount of time. Repeat this entire cycle for about five minutes.

[tip-fact]3. Some yoga poses help a pregnant woman deal with the symptoms of pregnancy, ensuring a smoother and easier delivery, and a faster recovery after childbirth.  A pregnant woman should pay attention not to over-stretch the body because the ligaments around the joints become loose and soft during pregnancy.

4. When carrying out standing poses, a pregnant woman should take care to place her heels against the wall or use a chair for support to avoid losing her balance and risking injury to both herself and her baby.

5. Deep relaxation is crucial to give rest to the body and mind, and a pregnant woman always benefits from having a good sleep.

Yoga Poses for a pregnant woman are gentle ways of keeping her body active and supple, and minimizing common symptoms such as morning sickness and constipation.

The following are a few yoga exercises suggested for a pregnant woman:

[b-quote]* Vajrasana: Sit with knees folded under you and place your hips on the heels of your feet. Maintain a straight back. Relax the hands on knees.

This asana is good for digestion, especially at a time when the enlarged uterus reduces the space in the intestine, which can make digestion difficult.

* Padmasana: This is also called the Lotus pose. Sit straight-backed with legs outstretched in front. Place the right foot on the upper thigh (nearly touching the stomach) and the left foot on the right thigh. Sit in this position for about three minutes.

* Sukhasana: This is a simple squat on the floor. This asana not only straightens the back but is also an ideal preventive against menstrual disorders in the pre-pregnancy and post-delivery periods.

* Shavasana: This is also called the Corpse pose. Lie on your back and spread your hands and legs like a corpse. Keep the neck in a comfortable position. Breathe normally and concentrate on each part of your body, starting from the toes upward.

A pregnant woman can rest assured that exploring yoga and its benefits will lead her on her way to having a happier healthier pregnancy and delivery.