Yoga-Based Birth Skill #1- Movement (Asana) - Movement and Prenatal Yoga

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In Emily Oster’s book “Expecting Better” she considers it one thing to think about continuing regular exercise while pregnant and quite another to think about adding pregnancy specific exercise. Her take on the labor process:

“Labor is basically a really long workout that you can’t quit in the middle of. So maybe you should be preparing specifically for that. In fact, the uterus is preparing itself by flexing and un-flexing that’s ‘Braxton Hicks’.”

The uterus is comprised of smooth muscle tissue, it is an involuntary muscle, meaning that you cannot consciously direct your uterus to flex on command. The control of involuntary muscles is regulated by the Autonomic Nervous System.

So you can’t “practice” contractions because you can’t voluntarily flex your uterus but you can practice and strengthen the voluntary muscles that are essential to facilitate an active upright birth.

Preparing your body and mind to give birth is the primary focus of my Prenatal Yoga Classes.

A lot of people like the “idea” of yoga, but hate actually doing it. More than likely because it requires practice, and patience, and endurance, and resilience, and strength, and discipline.

What part of a woman’s life shares those exact same challenges—that’s right—childbirth. A challenge that continues right into becoming a Mother.

There exists plenty of actual concrete, and positive evidence that prenatal yoga is beneficial during pregnancy and birth in not one but in a variety of dimensions.

Evidence based studies have shown that practicing prenatal yoga allows for a reduction of discomfort in the last weeks of pregnancy, women experience a lower level of pain during labor, women on average spend a shorter 1st stage of labor (pre-pushing) and on average labors are about 2 1/2 hours shorter for women who practiced prenatal yoga.

If yoga is a practice that helps a woman remain comfortable during her pregnancy imagine how much better it will make your labor experience if you pack it as a tool in the your Birth Skills tool kit.

But it has to be said that:

Intellectual knowledge only becomes real wisdom when you experience it in your own heart and mind. In other words, you do not receive the benefits of practice by reading, talking, or thinking about Yoga, you need to actually do the practice and then continue to practice.

Practice requires discipline, the conscious decision to act in a way that strengthens you, and allowing yourself to surrender to a process that is greater than your individual self.

The above statement was written about the traditional practice of Yoga, about the need to deliberately prepare the mind and body for the discipline of the practice.

I ask you to consider if this is not exactly what childbirth asks of your mind and your body.

So in the words of Penny Simkin from her book “The Birth Partner”:

“What is needed for Labor are simple but powerful tools and techniques that will help you feel calm, confident and at ease. Skills that will promote a mind-body connection that will positively and directly affect your ability to give birth optimally, all by getting your mind to work for you rather than against you.

This allows a woman in labor to give herself permission to go wherever she needs to go, controlling what she can control and letting go of what she cannot. It helps eliminate the fear of Birth. Practices like these are what will enable you to do what you need to do in order to bring your baby into this world positively, calmly, happily, and confidently.”

My prenatal yoga classes are structured out of easy simple useable and doable movements, breath practices, meditations, visualizations and practices that aim to provide just that level of calm competence.

Read more about the many many benefits of The Yoga Whole's Prenatal Yoga Classes.