Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful experiences of a woman’s life. It is a time when a woman is overwhelmed with different emotions — happiness, excitement, anxiety — all at the same time. During this phase, a woman can also experience frequent mood swings, thanks to the hormonal changes taking place in the body. Fatigue and discomfort too, become permanent companions owing to the physical changes occurring.
Yoga offers holistic benefits to expecting women helping them to keep the body healthy and mind, calm and relaxed. Yoga prepares women for labor and delivery as well as assists them in recovering better post-delivery. Rajeev Rajesh, Chief Yoga Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute, shares five yoga asanas that can bring multiple benefits to pregnant women.
How to do: Stand erect and keep the feet a little wide apart. Interlock the fingers, raise the hands up and turn the palms upward. Take a deep breath. While breathing out, bend from the waist to the right, keeping the elbows straight and feet firmly on the ground. Hold the posture and breathe normally. Feel the stretch on the sides. While inhaling, gently come back to the original position. Repeat on the other side.
Benefits: This asana stretches the waistline and improves the flexibility of the spine. It provides relief in back pain and constipation, a common problem during pregnancy.
How to do: Standing erect and spread the legs 3-4 feet apart. Turn the right foot 90 degrees outwards and the left foot by 15e inward. While inhaling, raise the arms sideways so that they are parallel to the ground and in line with the shoulders. While exhaling, bend the right knee and turn your gaze towards the right. Gently push down on the pelvis and maintain this position with normal breathing. Inhale and gently come up and while exhaling, bringing the hands to the sides. Repeat on the other side.
Benefits: It helps develop balance, releases stress from the arms and shoulders, and relaxes the mind and the body. It is also an excellent asana to strengthen the lower back, legs, and arms.
How to do: Stand on the knees and keep them a little apart. Bend forward and place the palms below the shoulders and in front of the knees on the ground. While inhaling, lift the head up and push the lower back down. While exhaling, lift the back up and bend the head down. Repeat the practice ten times.
Benefits: This asana stretches the spine and makes it flexible. This helps support more weight during pregnancy. It also tones the abdominal organs and improves blood circulation.
How to do: Sit straight with the legs stretched forward. Bend the knees and join the soles of the feet together. Interlock the fingers and hold the feet firmly. Bring the heels close to your genitals. Breathe in deeply. Keep the elbows on the thighs. While exhaling, gently press the thighs and knees down towards the floor and then allow it to move up.
Benefits: This asana gives a good stretch to the inner thighs and pelvic area. This helps improve the flexibility and strength of the pelvic and hip regions. If practiced regularly, it will facilitate a smooth delivery.
How to do: Lie down straight on the back. Keep the legs slightly apart and hands slightly away from the body. Turn the palms up. Gently close the eyes and relax the body completely. Keep breathing gently and slowly. Do not allow any thoughts to come into your mind. Stay in this position for 10 minutes.
Benefits: The asana helps to achieve a deep, meditative state that fosters the repair of tissues and cells, relieving stress. It is also a good practice to reduce blood pressure, insomnia and anxiety.
Finally, a word of advice: It is crucial for pregnant women to remember that they should not indulge in asanas that require them to lie flat on the stomach. Also, inverted and forward bending asanas must be avoided as they might put pressure on the abdomen. Always Practice yoga asanas under the supervision of an expert.