“Absolute Belief in a statement will infuse every cell of your body with that Belief. Each action will then be oriented towards accomplishment of that BELIEF”
“Pregnancy is a short term disability” – this is how ‘Pregnancy’ was defined while I was doing MBA in The United States. I firmly believed on pregnancy being a short term disability; and made my students believe in the same. The good part was that they sailed through their pregnancy with that belief. The bad part was that Pregnancy could have been one of the best experiences of their life, if believed otherwise.
As years have gone by and I have dwelled further into my yogic journey, my approach to the subject has taken a completely new turn which is positive, strong, impressive & yet submissive to the strictures imposed during pregnancy.
I changed my BELIEF. That got transferred to my students as well. We have a new definition now.
“The beginning of motherhood is the best experience of life; Enjoy every second of this journey to the fullest”
Revathy Sreekumar, my 19th pregnant student has just entered her 8th month. She is amazingly fit and active, to the extent that many normal males and females fail to perform with the same ease as does she. She did face some back issues with protruding size of her abdomen, but her healthy body combined with yoga application was quick in healing that discomfort. There are various factors encompassing the whole gamut, her active life style, her positive attitude, her warm acceptance of the changes as they come and of course, her close association with YOGA.
According to Revathy, “Yoga has helped me stay fit, healthy and active during my pregnancy in the most natural way. Regular yoga practice has helped me manage any physical discomfort that I have experienced during this period.”
Revathy performs all the postures including sirsasana, standing chakrasana, suryanamaskar etc. (under observation; strictly no posture that requires her to lie down on her stomach or anything that puts pressure on stomach).
YOGA is must – Why?
The versatility of Yoga makes it easy to handle the:
- Changing size of the body: Innumerable asanas (modifiable & adjustable as per changing shapes of the body) can be practiced to maintain the mobility of joints, improve blood circulation to the pelvis, and strengthen the spine and the reproductive system, thereby preparing the muscles for child birth.
- Hormonal upheaval during pregnancy: Different asanas and stretches are exclusively designed to manage the hormonal changes, which is common during pregnancy.
- Mood Swings : Pregnancy is intricately related to mood swings. Deep Breathing, Mantra Chanting goes a long way in managing that.
- Pregnancy Related Issues: Gestational Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Back Pain, Leg Swelling etc., commonly experienced during pregnancy is easy to handle with specific Yoga Application.
- Normal Delivery: There are asanas and breathing techniques meant to be practiced for the last few months before delivery and some specifically during labor to promote ‘Normal Delivery’.
- Post Natal Recovery: Regular Yoga practice pre- pregnancy and during pregnancy has a significant impact on post-natal recovery
Pregnancy brings with it a lot of adjustment … physical, psychological and emotional. These changes affect all systems of the body specially digestive, hematological, musculoskeletal and cardiovascular. Yoga helps in accepting these adjustments gracefully. If done under proper supervision and with the right purpose & objective, Yoga benefits by, relaxing joints and bones, improving the efficiency of the digestive system, helping the body handle the tremendous increase in blood volume and keeping the heart rate and breathing constant. In other words, YOGA helps a pregnant woman have a control over herself despite the difference in the ability to function and physical changes”, says Dr. Sudeshna Ray, Gynecologist attached to Jaslok, Saifee and Breach Candy Hospitals.
ORGANIZINING YOUR PRACTICE
Some of the practices are trimester specific, others to be done throughout pregnancy and some exclusively for normal delivery.
As a general rule, a ‘mom to be’ (assuming no complication or such history) is told to practice everything her body is used to for the initial two months. If she is new to yoga, she should consult her gynecologist. Warm up is a must.
- Marjarasana (cat&cow) (do not allow the spine to collapse too much)
- Marjarasana with one leg up and opposite hand up
- Utthita Trikonasana
- Adho Mukha Shvasana
- Uttan Vakrasana
- Virpita Karni against the wall with legs together and then apart
Modified Suryanamaskar can be practiced too by eliminating posture number 6 & 7. The same can be practiced in the second trimester.
T- 2 is the time when you will need to observe some caution as physical changes will be more pronounced. Strictly no asana on the stomach. Also avoid anything that could create any kind of stress on the stomach. Add the following to your practice:
- Kati Chakrasan
- Ardha Chandrasana (with support if required)
- Sitting in squat
- Comfortable Parivrata Janusirsasana with belt
- Modified Upvista Konasana
- Pelvic Stretches
- Baddha Konasana against the wall
- Modified Sarvangasana
- Matsya Kridasana (with support of pillow), relaxes even during third trimester
If required, take support of a wall as some of you may find it difficult to balance by now.
- Equal Breathing: Assume a comfortable position with your spine in a neutral position. You can take support of a wall in case you feel so. Deeply inhale and exhale. Make sure your inhalation and exhalation are deep, soft and equal in length.
- Mukha Dhauti: Sit comfortably. Inhale from your nostril and long exhalation from your mouth. This comes handy especially during second & third trimester when movements begin to feel a little tiresome due to increasing weight.
- Shitali Pranayama: Create an ‘O’ shape with your lips, inhale and exhale from your nostrils. This brings a cooling effect to both the mind and body.
Rules to Follow
- Do not hold the postures for too long instead repeat the postures 2-3 times
- No holding of breath during pranayama
- Strictly no asana on your stomach
- Avoid lying down on back as baby gets heavier
- Do not approach your practice with the intention of weight loss during pregnancy. Your main purpose it to keep yourself healthy, active and mobile
- Purpose of practice should not be perfection but manageable performance with moderate intensity
Revathy Sreekumar is going strong. Let us check out in our next blog her practice during the last trimester. Meanwhile, feel free to share your experience or ask for her experience through the comment box. You can check the asana details and pregnancy exclusive videos on www.shammisyogalaya.com
Disclaimer: Every pregnant woman is different. What suits one may not suit the other. Hence, it is advisable to follow a program in consultation with your gynecologist and a yoga expert.
Shammi Gupta, founder of Shammi’s Yogalaya holds an MA in Yoga Shastra, is a certified Yogic Therapist and Naturopath, has completed an Advanced Yoga Course and holds a Diploma in Yoga Education from Mumbai University. She is a certified trainer from American College of Sports Medicine and holds an MBA in HR & MBA in Finance from The University of Akron, Ohio, USA. She conducts Health Awareness Workshops for Corporate, Yogasana Workshops for Athletes and Yoga Therapy Workshops on different medical issues for patients. Among the celebrities Shammi trains are eminent personalities from the film and television industry and corporate world.