The Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

Did you know that if you are pregnant in Greensboro you now have several options for prenatal yoga? With the explosion of new yoga studios in general, there are also more offerings for prenatal and postpartum yoga classes. But let’s discuss why you should consider prenatal yoga. Even if you have never taken a yoga class before, prenatal yoga can work for you. Like yoga in general, the benefits are far beyond physical fitness. Of course when you are pregnant, physical health might just need to be on top of your priority list. But interestingly, mental health precipitates physical health, and so the advantages of yoga over other exercise programs (or in addition to) are that mind, body and soul health are integrated into one practice.

If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you know how good Savasana (corpse pose) at the end of every class feels. It’s the moment of mind-body integration: a quieting of the senses and internal chatter. Prenatal yoga, like traditional yoga, brings you into yourself.

Being a mother will require of you the most patience, kindness, perseverance and unconditional love you will ever require in your life. Especially in the first year of life, you will need to communicate with your baby non-verbally. Being able to listen within will be a gift to boost your courage and confidence in your ability to listen to the nuances of baby’s “cues.” Knowing and trusting your intuition or Higher Self (or any other spirit communication you receive) can bolster your conviction for loving your baby in every way you know how. Babies are highly intuitive (it is how they receive and experience the world before they have the words to understand it), so connecting with your intuition will facilitate your communication on a higher level. And that takes practice (see my post on Intuitive Mothering).

Why am I talking about intuition in an article about prenatal yoga? In the ancient practice of yoga, the true purpose was communion of the individual with the collective consciousness. In this time of intense spiritual evolution (Ascension), any doorway is an opportunity for self and collective evolution and healing (this has also been called the time of the Great Healing). The asanas (postures) simply facilitate this journey by starting where we are, and most of us need to start on the physical level.

The postures provide a reference point to move into. If you want to practice unconditional love, place yourself in a supported chest-opening (read: heart-opening) position. Feel your heart open. Feel your love expand. Even if you think you’re just pretending. If you want to connect with the spirit of Mother Earth, the energy that creates and supports all life on Earth, stand and connect your feet to the Earth. Ground and feel the support, stability, endurance of the Earth and the deeper lessons that each form of life carries. If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, place yourself in a forward fold supported by a bolster (as to not compress the belly), and rest on your forehead. If you need to concentrate or let go of negative thoughts, try a breathing exercise. Simply focusing on all the aspects of every breath will quickly guide your awareness to a higher, calmer state of being. These are practices that will guide you though the rest of your life and especially in the first few challenging years of new experiences.

Prenatal yoga also offers the opportunities to learn about the birth process from the inside: about how to facilitate, guide and withstand the process of labor and birth. It gives you practice finding comfort in the positions of labor (being on your hands and knees, rocking on a birth ball or squatting). It gives you practice in connecting to your pelvic floor by being open, explicit and honest.

If there is one thing that inhibits labor the most, it is a sense of being watched and the self-consciousness and fear/shame/guilt that can come with that. In prenatal yoga, we talk about body functions without judgment or shame. We talk about the variety of experiences during pregnancy, labor and birth. We create a community of mothers. A sisterhood connected by the experience of birth that we can come back to years after the initiation. And we have a healthy sense of humor about our bodies. All of this takes us a long way toward accepting who we are. And of course, Who We Really Are is divine beings of light and love, ushering in more beings of light and love! What a joy and blessing!

Prenatal yoga allows us to practice quieting the “monkey mind,” letting go of the over-protective ego and allowing the divine light of the authentic self within to expand. So if you want your pregnancy routine to include time for self-reflection, self-healing and connecting with a higher purpose, try a prenatal yoga class with me in Greensboro.

Dawn Leonard

Dawn Leonard Design, Greensboro, NC, USA