September 25, 2010

Benefits of Yoga for Birth

The benefits of yoga can be experienced by pregnant women in preparation for birth. Because yoga is based on aligning the body, it can prepare your body to have a satisfying birth experience. This gives you even more reasons to try prenatal yoga.

Here are some ways that you can use yoga to better your birth experience.

1. Positioning the Baby

Yoga positions such as “the cat” can help move the baby into the right position for birth. If the baby is already in a good position, this can help keep him or her there. The cat pose is accomplished by getting on your hands and knees, with your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees right below your hips. You look upward, lifting your chin, and inhale at the same time. Then you drop your head down, exhale, and arch your back like a cat’s. This position is also helpful during labor.

2. The Yogic Experience

Yoga, being a whole-being sort of experience, is naturally conducive to birth. The labor and birth process itself can be seen as a “re-birth” for a woman, and the spiritual aspect of yoga ties in with this. Part of yoga is about finding harmony by joining opposites, and the birth experience, with its pain coupled with joy, is already yogic by nature.

3. Meditation

Yoga involves meditation, the art of centering yourself and finding an inner place of peace. During labor, it can be tempting to give in to fears or anxieties. The meditative training of yoga can strengthen your ability to handle stress, help you keep your focus and have a calmer birth experience.

4. Relaxation

The emphasis on relaxation can be a helpful element of birth. As the labor progresses, it is important to stay calm and “loose” so that everything moves along easily. Practicing the relaxation component of yoga is an important preparation for birth.

5. Back Pain

Yoga can greatly relieve the back pain of pregnancy and labor. It strengthens the lower back muscles, too, preparing you for birth and the post-partum period.

6. Stretching and Flexibility

Having flexible, well-stretched muscles can really improve your birth experience. Flexibility helps prevent perineal tearing and allows mothers to comfortably stretch their leg muscles as they give birth.

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Alexis Rodrigo

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