Breathe Down to Your Belly

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Stop and take a breath. Slowly breathe in through your nose for 1…, 2…, 3… Now exhale for the same amount of time for 3…, 2…, 1… Feel the tension leave your body as your shoulders drop down and tension leaves your jaw.

Focusing on your breath is such a simple concept, yet it’s so easily forgotten as a way to squeeze relaxation into our daily lives.

Practicing yoga is a great way to become aware of your breath. Concentrating on a breathing technique helps you remain engaged and focused during a yoga session, allowing you to maintain poses for longer periods of time, while adding a meditative quality to the practice.

Studies have shown that taking the time to practice yoga during pregnancy can be very beneficial. Here are just some of the benefits that yoga can have:

Breathing

Learning proper breathing techniques like ujjayi (oo-jai) can help prime mothers for childbirth. This technique focuses on full breaths, expanding your lungs, and breathing all the way to the belly. This triggers the muscles to naturally relax. Through practice, it can allow the mother to stay calm and take the mind away from pain throughout labor.

Strength

Yoga gives one the freedom to increase strength, flexibility, and endurance of muscles. Performing poses and stretches will help promote all these things, and make the child birthing process easier.

Not only can it help during childbirth, but also in carrying a child as your body changes. Yoga can help to release tension and strengthen the lower back, which can be a source of discomfort for many women. Through stretching and exercise, you can also strengthen your pelvic floor. The pelvic floor muscles support your digestive and reproductive organs, as well as a growing baby during pregnancy. A strong pelvic floor will help you support the weight of a growing baby and working those muscles throughout the pregnancy can accelerate recovery after childbirth.

Just as yoga strengthens your muscles it can also increase your flexibility. It’s essential that you remain mindful of your flexibility and stretching during pregnancy. When you’re pregnant, your body releases greater amounts of the hormone relaxin. By loosening the joints and ligaments, relaxin will make women more flexible, but you must be careful not to over stretch with this new ability and hurt yourself. Yoga can be a great way to loosen up the tight pregnancy hips but with guidance so you don’t get hurt.

Even with all the benefits that yoga is seen to accomplish, it is still recommended to speak to your doctor before performing any physical activities. It’s important to understand typical classes, and how to practice yoga safely throughout a pregnancy. Listen to your body. Honor where your body is at today. Namaste.

Want to know where there is a yoga studio near you? Check out YogaFinder.com.

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About Author

Stephany Foster

Stephany Foster is the Associate Scientific Writer at Recombine, a genetic testing company based in New York City. She writes on topics spanning fertility, reproductive medicine, and recent advances in genomics. Stephany also writes about recently published research that Recombine presents at conferences and meetings around the globe. Before joining Recombine, Stephany interned at the George Church Lab at Harvard Medical School. She graduated from Brown University with an A.B. in Biology in 2014.