Prenatal Yoga for Parents-To-Be
Yoga practice is a beautiful gift that pregnant parents may give to themselves and to their unborn child. Yes, pregnant parents. Pregnancy is not a one-sided experience for the woman alone. A prenatal yoga practice is for birth partners and fathers-to-be. Practicing yoga during pregnancy creates healthier relationships and strong, capable bodies and minds that are ready to facilitate a baby’s birth. The postures, breathing techniques, and chanting encourage a deep mind-body-spirit connection. This allows the mother and birth partner to feel closer to the child while creating a serene space for the baby to grow and develop.
Pregnancy is a time of change and development. Numerous physical and emotional changes—as well as spiritual growth and introspection—take place during pregnancy. The combination of asana, pranayama, relaxation exercises, and an ahimsic lifestyle relieves many of the physical discomforts and emotional uncertainties that accompany this sacred time.
Pure water, clean air, and organic, plant-sourced foods are essential tools that empower the body to grow a healthy, vibrant baby. And—while it is vitally important to take care of the physical body through postures, breathing, and healthy food—it is equally important to nurture the mind and spirit. Watching, taking part in, or hearing violent acts, like those we experience through the media, impacts both the birth partners and their unborn baby.
Taking the time to reflect and meditate increases a family’s love and connection; these practices create a positive impression on the child developing inside the body. The womb is a sacred place in which this new soul flourishes until ready to greet the world.
For the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, I recommend focusing on meditative practices. Avoid any physical postures that are overly demanding, especially if you are new to, or have never practiced, asana. If you already have a steady asana regimen, you may continue practicing, but be gentle with yourself and listen to your body.
Asana practice may safely begin once a woman has entered her thirteenth to sixteenth week of pregnancy; this is after the first trimester. Unless you have a steady personal practice, I suggest taking extra time to relax, meditate, and sleep during the first trimester, instead of practicing asana. Practice all postures with gentle care and comfort. During pregnancy, intuition is even stronger than usual, so listen carefully, tune in, and trust yourself. Consult a holistic doctor, midwife, doula, or teacher who specializes in prenatal yoga to address your individuality.
Pregnancy is a beautiful and sacred event for parents-to-be. Practicing yoga during pregnancy is a wonderful way to nurture mother, birth partner, and baby. While the birth partner’s equal role within the pregnancy is extremely vital, it is often treated as insignificant or unimportant. This results in the birth partner being “along for the ride,” rather than actively participating in the process. When both parents-to-be take on the pregnancy and get involved with the birth—claiming responsibility for their family and their baby through the practice of yoga—a holistic and connected birth experience takes place.
There are many safe asanas and sequencing possibilities to practice during pregnancy. Please enjoy this prenatal safe instructional video with my two pregnant sisters.
Anna Ferguson is the co-creator of World Peace Yoga, a style of yoga that inspires peace in action, developing intuition, deepening empathy, and expanding compassion. Subscribe to the Heärt TV YouTube channel and check out the “Little Buddha Series” for inspiration from Anna and her son Noah. You may also connect with Anna via Facebook.