These days yoga is like having a good night’s sleep. Except I don’t need to climb into my pjs or get horizontal for at least eight hours. Last month I wrote about the awesomeness that is prenatal massage.
This month I wanted to focus on my other favourite pregnancy activity (besides eating and prenatal massage, that is). Yoga is yet another lovely and relaxing way to nurture and support my body through all these big physical and emotional changes. When I get on my mat, I feel like I’ve slept eight hours (which often I haven’t), my tight spots grow loose and my weak spots become stronger.
To get the skinny on pregnancy yoga, I canvased former Vancouver yoga instructors Insiya Raiswala-Finn and her hubby Blissologist Eoin Finn. These B.C. yoga teachers, happen to not only be amazing, gumby-like yogis but they’re also married and proud parents of a little boy.
“Pregnancy is one of the most transformative times in a woman’s body and I can’t stress how helpful yoga can be during the entire continuum of a pregnancy,” wrote Raiswala-Finn, creator of yoga and eco-lifestyle blog Yogue. “It has far reaching physical, mental and emotional benefits that impact the woman practicing it as well as the developing foetus.”
Below I’ll share tips and advice from Raiswala-Finn and some suggestions on where you can find prenatal yoga classes around Vancouver. Yoga as way to prepare for childbirth
“I practiced yoga right until the day before our son was born and I can say honestly that it kept me sane, allowed me to have focus and also accept and welcome everything I was experiencing, the comfortable moments and those that caused discomfort. Yoga also helped us during the birth of our son. I used the yogic breath to help me stay present during labor.”
Yoga for the mind
“Just as yoga offers a tool to release tension physically from the body, it also allows for a mental release of what I call the dust bunnies of our mental landscape. Prenatal yoga can be a great time to rid ourselves of negative thoughts, fear, anxiety, any of those things that have been clouding us,” says Raiswala Finn. “And a happy mom equals a happy partner/dad.”
Yoga poses to practice as a mommy-to-be
Cat/Cows – on all fours with knees bent, spinal wave like motion. These are possibly the best yoga poses for pregnant women. They allow the baby to feel fluid and massaged. They are completely safe whether baby is breeched or head down and they really feel so great on the spine.
Viparita Karani – legs up the wall pose. This is really nice for pregnancy. Use a bolster to raise the hips so spine is not pushed onto the floor. Then the heart/ chest front body can open, shoulders can release and with legs up on the wall, you can reverse blood flow in a really safe, sweet manner.
Inner leg/inner thigh stretches – try the triangle pose, seated poses such as janu, Warrior one and two.
Hip openers like pigeon pose, forward folds (just open legs wide).
Savasana – corpse pose/deep relaxation (practice at the end of a yoga practice). Lie on the left side using a pillow/bolster between the legs.
Many local yoga studios and community centres include prenatal classes as part of their programming. Yoga studios such as Semperviva and Open Door Yoga offer prenatal classes, while Fit4Two teaches classes at community centres across Vancouver. Sage Yoga, meanwhile, specializes in pregnancy yoga in East Vancouver.
See you on the mat.