Recently I took a prenatal yoga class and the teacher instructed us to move from tabletop to lunge by bringing one foot forward to rest next to the hand. As she concluded the instruction, she said, “Graceful or not graceful, it doesn’t matter.” The ladies in the class and I chuckled a bit as most or maybe even all of us clumsily maneuvered our bodies to a lunge. It felt good to hear the teacher offer relief of any internal or external pressure to look a certain way as we moved through the yoga class. It offered up a freedom to be light in our practice, to enjoy how it felt rather than thinking about what it looked like.
Being pregnant, the body goes through many changes that impact the way it feels and how it moves. The changes are immense and range from physical to mental and emotional. Obviously the body is physically expanding, but the mind is also expanding as it prepares to welcome a new life and all the changes that come with it. Yoga is a fruitful practice for pregnant women because it integrates the changes of mind and body and even allows room for the times when it looks or feels a bit, well … clumsy.
Yoga translates from Sanskrit to mean “union.” For pregnant women, the union of mind and body is paramount to a healthy pregnancy and a healthy birth. During childbirth, women need to harness all the energy (physical, mental, emotional) that is within and around them to fulfill one goal: honoring the mother’s body, listening to the baby and allowing the two to work in harmony to create a healthy transition from the womb into the world. While a physical yoga practice helps with things like circulation, balance, hip opening and easing back pain, the mental practice helps with other important things like the mother’s focus and ability to direct the breath.
Allowing the mind and body to harmonize is a valuable skill. Attending pre-natal yoga class gives expecting moms a place to practice and reinforce their trust in the mind/body connection. I am grateful to offer pre-natal yoga classes at Full Spectrum Wellness. It is a place where expecting moms can relax, tune into their intuition and practice deep listening to mind and body, aligning them in preparation for giving birth. Graceful or not graceful, it doesn’t matter.