There is a demand for specialist yoga teachers to teach pregnancy yoga, prenatal yoga, and postnatal yoga classes to the public. Specialized yoga teacher training graduates are needed by pregnant students in every corner of the earth. Pregnancy is believed by many to be one of the most important events in the life of a woman. The child growing within her womb is the manifestation of all her feminine potential and in that new being is an entire life's worth of potential that is not yet manifested.
Our current culture fails to respect feminine experiences as much as ancient cultures did. Perhaps this was caused by the rise of feminism, or perhaps it's a manifestation of the current cultural trend to forget and leave behind all ancient wisdom in favor of new and modern perspectives. Whatever the reason, pregnancy is now looked at more like a medical condition than the profound bringing of life that it truly is. Women are expected to work right up until it's physically impossible for them to complete their jobs and this leads to a lot of latent stress as women are encouraged to pretend to have the same vigor and energy as they did before becoming pregnant.
Stress is a negative experience for the woman but it also impacts the unborn baby as well. Studies show that women facing stress during pregnancy often have higher rates of underweight and premature babies. Not only does the baby experience the mother's negative energy firsthand, it is also given a share of the stress hormones which flood the body of the mother. These stress hormones demonstrate ill effects on the growth and development of the baby as early as 17 weeks into the pregnancy.
Why is it that don't doctors warn us about this? The answer is simple, they fear driving pregnant women into fits of worry over how their emotional state impacts their baby and figure ignorance is probably bliss since there is likely no logical gain to informing women of these facts.
No pregnancy is completely free of stress and women shouldn't put undue pressure on themselves if negative feelings pop up since this guilt will only make things worse. Oddly enough, pregnancy is one of the best times to start undertaking daily yoga practice and this is one practical step that can be taken to reduce prenatal stress.
One major concern that women often voice is about the safety of yoga during pregnancy. Yoga is perfectly safe if performed with caution and common sense. Pregnant women gain a lot of strength and flexibility by performing yoga and that increased physical fitness is a great asset throughout the entire pregnancy and beyond.
In general, normal yoga classes are fine for pregnant women when a few variations are made. First, no yoga poses that require lying on the flat on the back should be performed after the first trimester since laying on the back blocks the blood flow to the uterus; pregnant women are discouraged from back sleeping for this same reason.
During pregnancy, the focus should be on doing the yoga poses gently and carefully and less on stretching itself. Pregnant women have joints that are more pliable and willing to stretch naturally so overstretching could potentially cause minor injuries as a result.
In the second trimester and beyond, any poses that disrupt the center of gravity must be done with caution, preferably with a chair nearby for support if needed since sudden bouts of dizziness are not uncommon.
Backbends and other poses that put serious pressure on the abdomen should be avoided and above all, listen to the body. If it feels wrong, don't perform it.
Because yoga calms both the body and mind and brings balance, stress levels are naturally reduced. Hopefully in the years to come all women will engage in some form of yoga during their pregnancies, resulting in healthier, happier and smarter babies.