5 Ways Prenatal Yoga Can Help You Have a Great Birth
Sheryl Haynes of Sunshine Family Yoga guides a group of women through her prenatal yoga class.
When it comes to preparing for a healthy pregnancy and birth, many moms add exercise and relaxation time to their lists. Prenatal yoga can certainly help you check off both of those goals – the physical benefits of practicing yoga are well-documented. However, there is so much more to it! Local Wichita prenatal yoga teacher Sheryl Haynes of Sunshine Family Yoga shares her thoughts with us of five ways prenatal yoga can nurture you on your way to having a great birth experience:
- "You learn how to really connect with your baby and body. Really tuning into how you're feeling, the movements within your body and the tightness or release within your body. You first have to be able to observe and be aware of that to develop the wisdom to listen to it. You learn to observe your breath, how you're breathing into your baby. With yoga we focus prenatally on breathing into the baby space. That brings the breath deep into the body, which is beneficial for relaxation, centering, finding your strength, riding through the surges. A lot of women tell me that tool is what they utilized the most during their labor and birth. You start to become more aware of what you're feeling, if you're stressed, relaxed, sad, or happy, and how when you're pregnant the baby feels that too. When you're laboring the baby feels that, and in parenting the baby feels that. You become conscious of bringing oxygen in to the baby and your body and working with the surges instead of against them.
2. You get to connect to a community of other women.
A prenatal yoga class gives you a wonderful opportunity to build a support system of women who are all in the same season of life at the same time. You get to connect to community resources - not only to the other women but to the wisdom they have, in a safe place to talk about our hopes and dreams and fears, centered around pregnancy and birthing and mothering. We facilitate a dialogue about what's going on, what your choices are in birth. Each person has a resource within them. I consider myself to be a facilitator, not merely an instructor. Part of that role is to help you find your “tribe”.
You strengthen your body.
While a big part of prenatal yoga is learning how to relax, we're also working on strengthening our bodies; working toward using those muscles during labor. We're doing poses that alleviate the discomforts of pregnancy and also helping women learn tools to care for themselves during pregnancy. It becomes intuitive, part of the muscle memory - the ability to listen to the body and see what it needs. I also see that moms who do prenatal yoga find more physical strength within their birthing journey and recuperate quicker.
It provides stress relief.
Prenatal yoga is great “me time” that combats depression and gives you space to set aside worries and just focus for a while on the new life you're bringing into the world. It helps you sleep better and alleviates common pregnancy discomforts. It's especially valuable for subsequent pregnancies, by giving you space to intentionally parent the new baby. You learn to listen to your body and give yourself permission to take care of yourself. We have women who have never done yoga or much exercise and they can come in and be comfortable and confident that their bodies will be respected and taken care of.
It promotes empowerment.
A prenatal yoga class can help you open the lines of communication with your care providers, your spouse, your loved ones. Moms feel empowered to talk about things they desire for their pregnancy and birth with these important people. They learn about the strength within them. That birth is something they do with their baby, not something that is done to them or that happens to them. I know that prenatal yoga helps women to balance finding their strength and to let go, and knowing when it's right to do those things. We learn visualizations, relaxation, affirmations and breathing techniques to use at home and during birth to give them a focus. Some people get more out of the yoga classes than their childbirth classes as far as taking care of their bodies, learning how to relax and listen and feeling supported on their journey. That teaches them they have more choice in childbirth, it's not merely epidural versus natural, or home versus hospital. Each person knows they're respected and it's not like coming in and doing a crash course. It's about really believing in your body and your baby and nurturing and fostering that connection."
Sunshine Family Yoga's new community space just opened on February 17, 2015 for nurturing prenatal yoga classes, parent and child yoga, meet-ups and much more at 1200 E. Waterman, Suite 201 in Wichita. You can learn more at the
to stay updated on classes and schedules.
Have you ever experienced the benefits of yoga during pregnancy?
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