Om, Baby: Prenatal Yoga Offers Relief for Moms-to-Be

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prenatal-yoga-smallSwollen feet, headaches, insomnia — women face a number of physical challenges during pregnancy. With the help of prenatal yoga, relief could be one asana, or pose, away. 

Committing to a workout routine can be challenging. Add pregnancy to the mix, and the thought can be downright daunting. 

Faced with unique physical changes that occur during pregnancy, even the most active moms-to-be can be tempted to cancel workouts. Enter prenatal yoga classes, which give women an effective, safe workout and the opportunity to connect with other expectant mothers in a serene, supportive and positive community.

Amanda Stover, a certified prenatal yoga instructor, has developed a gentle yoga practice designed especially for the pregnant woman’s needs.

“Much like other types of childbirth-preparation classes, prenatal yoga is a multifaceted approach to exercise that encourages stretching, mental centering and focused breathing,” Amanda says.

We rolled out our yoga mats with Amanda to ask a few common questions about prenatal yoga.

What are the benefits of prenatal yoga?

“Yoga has been shown to help alleviate many of the common complaints that occur during pregnancy such as heartburn, swelling, back pain and sciatica, while also bringing a deep awareness and a sense of joy at experiencing the natural changes that occur during pregnancy,” Amanda says. “Other benefits participants have experienced include improved sleep, reduced stress and anxiety, and increased strength, flexibility and endurance in the muscles needed for childbirth.”

Do expectant moms need to have any previous yoga experience?

“Absolutely not,” Amanda says. “In fact, many women begin their yoga journey with prenatal yoga, as it provides a gentle introduction to many poses in a very supportive environment. Whether you are coming to the yoga mat for the first time, or looking to modify your current practice for your pregnancy, this is perfect time to foster mindfulness and deepen your awareness of your body.” 

What can you expect when attending a prenatal yoga class?

“Expect a combination of gentle —  yet active —  flowing poses, as well as restorative poses to relax and re-energize,” Amanda says. “Simple breathing and meditation techniques are often introduced to support the practice and bring the attention inward in preparation for labor. Prenatal yoga applies postures, breathing and meditation to help soothe the challenges of pregnancy, and to prepare expectant mothers for both delivery and postpartum recuperation.”

What is the difference between yoga and prenatal yoga?

“While there are many different styles of yoga, prenatal yoga allows moms-to-be the ability to build strength, focus and flexibility through a gentle practice. Prenatal yoga classes help instill confidence in the innate wisdom of the female anatomy, and increase feelings of peace and ease as you journey through this magical time,” Amanda says.

Prenatal yoga classes are offered every Thursday at 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Renown South Meadows Medical Center, 10315 Professional Circle Reno, NV 89521. Registration is available online.

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