YOGA-ARTICLE: Pregnancy is not an obstacle to yoga

«Life is not born in a vacuum». There is nothing more important on Earth than life. Life is something that is passed down from parent to child, from tree to seed. Life binds us all together. And before a new life is born, there is a stage of preparation of all the conditions for it to appear. In humans, this period of preparation is called pregnancy.

Pregnancy is a process of deep internal and external transformation. For some, it passes easily, but for some it is a time of asceticism and overcoming oneself. Whether you’ve been interested in Yoga for a long time or just started your practice, there are always these questions: what to do with personal practice during pregnancy? What features should be taken into account during this period? Should a woman practice during pregnancy or is it better not to? 

It is important to remember that pregnancy is not a disease and fetters, but a new experience that requires new efforts and abilities from a woman, it is an opportunity to take a different look at yourself, your body, your practice, your strengths, your ability to accept and adapt to changes and the ability to interact with the baby and the world. This is not something frozen, but an opportunity for search, self-knowledge and Yoga!

Practice is possible and necessary!

But first you need to calm down and tune in to the practice. During poor health, toxicosis and other manifestations of pregnancy, when you and your baby are just getting used to each other and, perhaps, you do not even feel able to get out of bed, Meditation will give you strength. Since during this period a woman undergoes changes in the hormonal system, she may experience mood swings. Meditation on the principles of Yoga and the wish of happiness to all living beings will help you to maintain a joyful state, good spirits and protect you from unnecessary emotional outbursts towards your loved ones.

Gratitude will give you peace and strength

We have the opportunity to manifest in this Universe thanks to our parents, grandparents – our ancestors. Relatives often help with raising our children. Yoga recommends expressing gratitude with the help of Meditation directed to all ancestors, even those who have passed away a long time ago. This will allow you to enlist their support on a subtle level and understand the unity with your family, understand that you are never separated from the family, you are not alone, all of us are always included in this stream of life. This Meditation will give you strength and confidence that everything will be fine. After all, we are not the first to follow the path of preparing for childbirth; tens and hundreds of thousands of our ancestors stand behind us.

The practice of Mantra yoga does not require much effort, but thanks to this practice, we will remove some of the internal tension using voice vibrations, immerse ourselves in internal sensations and distract ourselves from painful symptoms. Babies in the tummy also respond very well to their mother’s voice.

How to help your body adapt to new conditions?

Staying in the fresh air, resting, walking, healthy and pleasant food and water procedures will help to improve well-being and restore normal blood circulation.

Pranayama Yoga will also oxygenate your blood wonderfully. The practice of observing the breath, alternating and full yogic breathing will give strength, calmness and will help you to relax in childbirth. When practicing this type of yoga, special attention should be paid to the harmonious performance of each exercise.

As soon as the «body expresses the need» to get in good shape before childbirth and you want to relieve the accumulated mental stress through exercise, physical yoga practices will be an excellent tool for this.

During pregnancy, practice can be different. For someone it passes easily and naturally, as the body is able to maintain the same pace of exercise as before pregnancy. But for some it changes dramatically.

Do not panic if your usual practice is no longer suitable for you or causes you discomfort, because from this time on, the expectant mother «lives for two», her body experiences an additional load. Nature itself has provided time for the restructuring of the organism, time for understanding that now there are two: mother and child. A woman may want to sleep more and put in less effort. In some months you may feel the strength to practice, but in some other you may feel the need to rest. This is fine. During this period, you should listen to your feelings, do not rush and do not compare yourself with others or your former self. You should not be complex if you can’t do it like in the pictures. Yoga is an individual process, especially in such a wonderful period!

The main thing during practice, especially during pregnancy, is harmony

It is important to find your own rhythm, to learn how to interact with your body in a new way, realizing that there is another person inside it, who is a new Universe that has a direct impact on you. From now on you and your baby are practicing together. And it should be comfortable and enjoyable for both of you.

All exercises must be performed at your own pace, gently, harmoniously, without pain, sudden jumps and transitions.

If it is difficult for you to complete all the planned exercises in one practice, do not be upset. The body is under additional load, and it takes time to get used to it. If you want to keep the usual pace, you can break the intended practice into several approaches and practice throughout the day.

If it is difficult to do the usual set of exercises, then the practice of spontaneous dance, performed in a harmonious rhythm will warm up the body, relieve unpleasant symptoms, improve mood, rock the baby and prepare the body for Hatha yoga or Kriya yoga.

Avoid backbends in the early pregnancy and raising your arms too high in late pregnancy. Knowing these features will allow you to avoid stretch marks on the abdomen and an excessive increase in the tone of the uterus. There are poses with open legs, as in the lotus position, and closed legs (crossed legs), as in the cow’s head position. During pregnancy, it is better to use open positions so as not to compress the blood vessels that feed the baby.

When you are active and mobile, your baby receives more oxygen. When you exercise, the amniotic fluid massages the baby, and you also train his(her) vestibular apparatus. You get joy from movements and teach the little one, who is still in the tummy, that movement is healthy and useful. Therefore, there should be no violence, but only the joy from doing the exercises, the joy from overcoming yourself and the joy from rest.

Practice must be completed with a rest

If shavasana is not comfortable for you, especially in late pregnancy (it is believed that the supine position compresses the blood vessels and can cause discomfort), you can find any position that is comfortable for rest or relax on your side.

Pregnancy is a process of life formation, its deep perception by mother and child. The important thing is how a woman reacts to this experience: whether she will be able to maintain awareness and turn any difficulty into victory, whether she will be able to use pregnancy as an opportunity for her growth. There are no ready-made solutions, no one will go through this path for you. There are only recommendations that allow you to find joy in the interaction between the expectant mother and the baby!

Practice and find what works for you! Have a harmonious practice, pregnancy and childbirth!

Author: M. Sarasvati-Bhavani

Editors: Kerigona, Mirra, Inna Shakti

Translated by Ekaterina Daya and Avlaada 

Project curator: Kerigona