Yoga works with the mind and the body with the breath as the link. It is non-competitive, everyone works at their own level.
It is suitable for pregnant women whether a woman has an active birth or an elective caesarean.
The yoga postures stretch, strengthen and tone the whole body as well as taking into account specific needs eg backache, sciatica, varicose veins, oedema, cramp, heartburn etc.
The approach is holistic working mentally, physically and emotionally.
What we need for pregnancy and childbirth is:
Practising yoga in pregnancy in yoga does not guarantee one a wonderful birth, but it does prepare one to be able to:
We are also working with:
Sitting and standing tall by lengthening the spine allows plenty of space to accommodate your baby and allows the ribcage to expand thus enhancing good breathing.
Women are taught how to relax with the breath and with various yoga movements; relaxation is key in pregnancy, in labour and once your baby is here.
We work on yoga postures that are beneficial in pregnancy and in labour. See the seven-way stretch for pregnancy below.
The yoga postures as described above stretch, strengthen and tone the whole body keeping one fit and healthy in pregnancy and thus well prepared for labour. We work too on a variety of yoga postures relevant for labour taking into account breath, movement and contraction working together, as well as looking at birthing positions.
Pelvic floor exercises are a 'must' in pregnancy and afterwards. Many of the yoga movements we work on keep the pelvic area well strengthened.
It is important too to be aware that the ligaments and joints soften in pregnancy due to the release of the hormones elastin and relaxin consequently it is important to be able to support the muscles and keep them well-toned.
The breath is key in pregnancy and in labour.
The breath will see you through your labour.
Breathing techniques are practised and learnt thoroughly.
Breath, movement and contraction working together.
This is your birth, your baby, your labour.
Seven way stretch for pregnancy
Have the weight evenly balanced between both feet, feet parallel. Tuck the tailbone under and gently tone the abdominals, don't let the top part of the body sink into the bottom half, let the spine rise, the shoulders drop, the chest be open, the arms loose and comfortable.
Tailbone tucked under, abdominals gently toned.
INHALE - as you take both arms up
EXHALE - as you take both arms down
Stretches No.'s 2 & 3 - Sidebend
2) & 3)
INHALE - stretch legs apart, feet parallel, arms out from shoulders
EXHALE - bend forward and place right hand on right leg, knee bent, look up at hand, spine erect, chest open
knee bent, look up at hand, spine erect, chest open
INHALE - as come back to centre, feet parallel
EXHALE - as you lower your arms down
INHALE - in the standing/mountain pose.
Stretches No.'s 4 & 5 - Twist
4) & 5)
EXHALE - as you take the left hand round to the right hip and the right hand behind the back to the left hip . Keep the knees to the front
right hip and the right hand behind the back to the left hip . Keep the knees to the front
. Keep the knees to the front
INHALE - as you come back to centre
EXHALE - in the mountain pose.
Stretches No.'s 6 & 7 - Backward and Forward Bend
INHALE - as you clasp hands together behind back, looking up and opening the chest
looking up and opening the chest
EXHALE - as you come back to centre
INHALE - in the mountain pose, tucking tailbone under
EXHALE - as you bend forward, knees bent, spine long, back flat, placing hands on the wall
back flat, placing hands on the wall
INHALE - as you come back to mountain pose.
Turn round, place buttocks against the wall, curl forward with knees
bent to release the back and then slowly uncurl.
Click the link below for:A Gentler Way to Labour - Nursing Times - February 1995