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April 27, 2015
I have a question about the body temperature of the fetus. I am hearing from some
prenatal yoga teachers that it is important to not allow the pregnant mom to become too overheated because of a difference in the body temperatures of mom and baby. Can you give me some specific information on this or recommend some reading material on this topic?
April 27, 2015
Yoga In Pregnancy - The Principles
By Sally Janssen
Ahimsa - Non-violence
Women students of Yoga who become pregnant are encouraged to consider the following points as important in benefiting from continued practices that must be adapted or modified for the months of pregnancy. Your teacher's instruction is essential throughout as it is advisable to maintain consultation with your doctor.
Some of the disciplines that are easily applied to personal body-care exercise and breathing techniques before pregnancy, have to be carefully considered for their safety regarding the developing baby and your own comfort and good health.
The factors vary with each woman, making it difficult to generalise upon the wisdom of specific practices. To an extent each must also rely upon a woman's natural instincts during this time. This is made easier when remembering the importance of the need to choose the safe, gentle approach known as ahimsa.
Your general fitness and your age already make it necessary to make some allowances or modifications. For instance, if you already can sit comfortably in X legged positions, pregnancy will not affect your ability to do so, certainly in the earlier months. Otherwise you must rely upon detailed instruction from your Yoga teacher who will advise you of alternative positions and practices.
The philosophy when practising Yoga through pregnancy offers the opportunity to focus upon the ethic of non-violence or ahimsa. It is a reminder that you are becoming the channel for another soul to enter the world and you are the presiding environment for its development. There are subtle responsibilities associated with this role.
If you are in good physical health, this is already a bonus for the baby, particularly if you can continue with the gentler exercises and disciplines.
If you can maintain balanced and gentle emotions instead of succumbing to any storms of feeling, will provide a more serene and wholesome emotional environment that will be another bonus.
It may be difficult to apply when surrounded with work and domestic responsibilities, but next is to think of the mental environment in which the child finds itself. It is up to you to determine if the quality of your thoughts and that mental environment will be a bonus for your baby.
To keep clarity and calmness of thought and to focus upon periods of beautiful thoughts at certain times of the day can assist both of you as you increasingly share the energies generated in the months ahead. A popular aid is to learn by heart a special prayer, poem or quotation that appeals to you and this you can concentrate upon even while doing chores, but best in relaxation or meditation time when in a peaceful interlude you find it easiest to surrender to nature's magic in creating a new body and for you to surrender and enjoy providing the channel for it.
By considering all the ideal applications of ahimsa you will find that you can apply it in many ways - not only through a state of your personal relaxation and gentleness in the things you do and in the exercises you continue, but in helping to reduce environmental hazards such as loud noise, chemical pollutants that can invade and damage the natural forces at work and encourage all pleasant influences by enjoying your garden, outdoor functions and direct contact with the beautiful things of life.
It is time to enjoy the special glow and rewards of gentle motherhood in knowing you are giving your child a basic health insurance necessity in a calm nervous system and feeling of loving security as it develops is your body and in your psychic space.
In sharing a class with other expectant mothers there are many benefits and so it is best to join with other women in special pregnancy groups.
Learn other Yogic principles that apply to nutrition, respiration and meditation.
Sally Janssen is a writer, and Yoga teacher well known both in Australia and abroad for her skill in demonstration of the Hatha Yoga practices and her wisdom in applying the principles of Raja Yoga -the study of the mind and consciousness. More details at https://www.essence-of-yoga.net
Her book "Mental Fitness: A Complete Self-help Guide" explains the principles of mental fitness that can be applied by us all. The book may be found here: https://www.mentalhealthandfitness.com/blog.
April 27, 2015
Prenatal Yoga - The Importance of Relaxation for Pregnancy and Birth
By Rebecca L Perry
When women in my prenatal yoga class ask me 'What is the most important practice I should be doing to prepare for my birth?' they are often surprised by my answer: relaxation.
The importance of relaxation in pregnancy should not be underestimated. The benefits are profound - for both you and your baby.
Achieving a deep state of relaxation for the body recharges a pregnant woman's energy levels. Deep relaxation activates the parasympathetic nervous system, helping to regulate the hormones needed for a healthy pregnancy and natural onset of labour at the right time for your baby. And don't forget that the more relaxed you are, you are benefiting your baby through the hormonal exchange across the placenta.
Learning effective ways to relax is also important for labour, when you will want to be able to relax between contractions. The more you have practiced the mechanisms of relaxing, the more automatic it will be for you when you most need it.
The best relaxation
The key with relaxation is: little and often. You should be relaxing at least once a day, for at least 10 minutes. The best time for relaxation is said to be in the early evening, around 5pm.
You can have your partner massage you or massage yourself, take a warm bath, put on some relaxing music and put your feet up - whatever works best for you. Just taking 10 minutes to enjoy a cup of tea - without doing other things - can be just what you need to pick you up.
But the best sort of relaxation is deep muscle relaxation, which allows you to reach a deeper level of relaxation for the mind as well as the body. You can follow a CD, many of which are specially recorded for pregnancy, and many of them also include visualisation and affirmation. You can also learn a script from a book, have your partner read one, or record one yourself.
The four-part relaxation technique that I learnt from my yoga teacher training is very effective, and beautifully suited to pregnancy. It is done lying comfortably on the floor (use plenty of cushions for your head, knees, under your tummy etc, and remember that after 18 weeks you should lie on your left side.) The relaxation should be ideally around 20 minutes but can be a bit longer or shorter depending on what works for you.
It starts with a progressive muscle relaxation, starting at the toes and working up the body to the crown of the head. Each body part in turn is tensed, and then released with a single breath. Breathing in to tighten (say, the toes) and breathing out to relax (the toes).
The second stage of the relaxation is to repeat the sequence but this time using only inner awareness and not physical movement. Each body part in turn is relaxed, working up the body from the toes to the crown.
The third stage is simply resting in the silence and stillness you've created, for at least two minutes.
The fourth and final stage is to visualise a light above the crown of your head, and imagine drawing this light down into your body from the crown to your toes, visiting each body part again. This time we're waking up (re-energising) each body part, and it's an important stage to do so that you aren't left feeling sluggish after your relaxation.
This should be great for your baby, and yourself.
Rebecca L Perry
I am a prenatal yoga teacher in Canberra Australia. I am privileged to help many women throughout their pregnancy with prenatal yoga. I hope that this article helps and if you would like to know more about prenatal yoga or would like to join one of my classes you can click the links below.
Yoga Canberra: https://yogacanberra.com.au/
Canberra Prenatal Yoga: https://www.canberraprenatalyoga.com.au/
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