October 28, 2014

Using Yoga to Stay Light During Pregnancy.

Prenatal yoga

This is the experience of my first pregnancy and being a yoga teacher.

I researched extensively the subject of prenatal yoga and found a huge variety of opinions on the subject.

I set out to experience my pregnancy—using my discretion and intuition to guide my yoga practice.

I always had the Iyengar Book for Expectant Mothers on hand. It was a great reference for pregnancy with indepth postures, breathing, props and even food idea’s for all the trimesters and post pardum.

I did not follow the book to a tee because I wanted to experience my pregnancy and see what limitations I would have and what my body was telling me when.

I found that with breath, my practice stayed light!

My pregnancy stayed light!

If I missed a day of practice, I felt the heaviness.

For the most part my hormones and emotions seemed balanced throughout my pregnancy.

I eliminated forward bends and lower spinal twists from the get go. All forward bends I practiced as an extension and twists I maintained in the upper body.

Standing postures were a boon, keeping the legs strong and supportive for the spine.

I loved my inversions—I kept up handstands until the last day and surprisingly I found my pelvis extremely stable. With my inversions I was careful to step into them and step down—no heavy landings, always landing lightly.

I believe jumping can be done with extreme lightness.

Mula Bandha is said to be a good to practice during pregnancy—Uddiyana Bandha however should be let go.

This is how I practiced. I truly embraced the femininity of the yoga practice—looser, wider, spiraling movements with the hips was beautiful especially in labour.

If I were to change anything, I would definitely emphasize creating space even more than I did. As well as practice more the art of letting go—really letting go.

I recognized this especially in labour—sigh alot, ahhhhh alot, exhale alot, this will get one through.

In one pregnancy movies, Birth Into Being, they say a women ceases being a woman when in labour and becomes a force of nature.

Letting this force move through you without blocking it is the key.

My pregnancy was a breeze, I taught yoga up until two weeks before delivery.

The labour however was not a breeze, more like gale force winds! It was very lengthy due to the baby turning head to pubic bone in the last week.

However even with this difficulty the yoga practice was my guiding force by allowing me to stay close to the breath, not attaching to the pain and using my training in observation.

My home-birth midwives celebrated my strength.

Only one in 500 labors are like this and usually end up as a caesarean.

So maybe my story is a testament that with patience and breath labor is possible without drugs for the pain.

I truly believe pregnancy is an amazing physical experience that allows a woman to come into her own strength, no matter what her experience, whether caesarean or natural labor.

Childbirth is a right of passage. I commend all mothers for the sacrificing their bodies to bring all of us onto this earth.

I would highly recommend it to anyone not yet a mom—it took me 39 years to get to it and i’m so happy I did.

Now I face the challenge of learning to be a mom. I thank the Divine even more for the sanctuary of yoga.

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Author: Amanda Ramcharitar

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: courtesy of the author

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Amanda Ramcharitar