Just because you’re expecting, doesn’t mean you should stop going to yoga. A well-balanced practice is tailor-made for the physical and emotional challenges of being pregnant. Erin Ruddy is a member of Flow’s support staff as well as a student of our pre-natal classes, and she highly recommends it for the nuances it adds to a regular practice. “This class is so specific to what my body needs right now. We focus on opening up our hips, breathing and holding poses for extended periods of time, all of which are going to be extremely helpful in the coming months.”
In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, pre-natal yoga is about far more than just stretching, staying fit and developing proper breathing techniques; it’s about helping women have healthier babies. Studies have shown that it can decrease the risk of preterm labor, pregnancy-induced hypertension and intrauterine restriction – a condition that slows a baby’s growth.
And the list goes on. Back pain is a common complaint among women who are expecting. Pre-natal yoga specifically targets this area – through poses like Downward Dog, Upward Dog and (wouldn’t you know it) Happy Baby, among many others – in the effort to lengthen, loosen and fortify the back. Along with the core, these are crucial muscles groups not only when pregnant, but also when toting your little bundle of joy around. Any extra weight added to this part of the body can create soreness and lower back pain, and these classes are designed to relieve that increased stress.
Speaking of the stress and anxiety of pregnancy, relaxation is another significant benefit of a regular pre-natal practice. Improved sleep alone has often been cited as a major reason for getting on the mat, but the importance of focusing on deeper breathing and the power chill-out that is savasana, during these crucial months, cannot be overstated. Complementing all this de-stressing is the sense of community. “It’s comforting to know that the women in the class are in the same boat. At the beginning and end of our practice we talk about where we are in our pregnancies and, in doing so, we’re able to learn from everyone’s experiences,” proclaims Erin.
Coleen Clement is one of Flow’s most beloved and respected teachers. Having already had one healthy baby while taking pre-natal classes, she’s ready for her second. She tells us that, “Moving through the postures while focusing on the breath kept my body open and strong, and my mind clear throughout the course of pregnancy. The practice offers guidance in creating mindfulness, focusing the breath, and staying connected to the beautiful process of carrying a child all the way to term. Now that I am pregnant once again, I am incredibly grateful to have my yoga practice!”
Instructor Lisa Lermitte teaches the pre-natal class at Flow and she has developed a customized program that nurtures her students no matter what stage of pregnancy they find themselves in. For her, the primary benefits include strengthening the pelvis which will aid in birth and post-partum recovery; learning breath awareness, pain management and relaxation techniques; relief from low back, sciatic pain, insomnia and swelling; as well as improving circulation and hormonal balance. “Classes are open and safe to all levels, whether you are new to yoga or have been practicing for a long time. I love helping mothers-to-be realize their inner strength and trusting themselves to follow their intuition. Learning to link breath and movement in a constant flow increases the ability for women to work with their bodies during labor and birth.”
Congratulations to all our expectant mothers out there and we look forward to seeing you at the studio soon!