Strike a pose

TOM Kids rolls out the yoga mat and ex­plores the ben­e­fits of pre­na­tal yoga for preg­nant women

Time Out Malaysia Kids - - Parenthood -

Pre­na­tal yoga is be­com­ing a com­mon prac­tice among mums as they wait for the ‘big day’, and prac­ti­tion­ers and med­i­cal ex­perts boast not only of its health ben­e­fits, but also how it can help ex­pec­tant mums pre­pare for labour. How­ever, there are mums who are ap­pre­hen­sive about pre­na­tal yoga and the ef­fects it will have on the body. We speak to An­ge­line Liew, an ex­pe­ri­enced cer­ti­fied pre­na­tal yoga in­struc­tor at Prana Yoga to get the de­tails.

As with any phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity un­der­taken dur­ing preg­nancy, an ex­pec­tant mum should take note that while there are many ben­e­fits to pre­na­tal yoga and it has been proven that it’s a safe ex­er­cise, it may not be for ev­ery­one so al­ways check with your med­i­cal prac­ti­tioner.

The ben­e­fits of pre­na­tal yoga are man­i­fold and in­clude re­duc­ing stress and anx­i­ety, im­prov­ing sleep pat­terns, strength­en­ing and in­creas­ing the flex­i­bil­ity of the mus­cles needed for child­birth, and less­en­ing the symp­toms all preg­nant women suf­fer at some point like lower back pain, carpal tun­nel syn­drome and nau­sea. ‘These days, mums work long hours, which is very seden­tary and can lead to aches and back pain. Yoga is a good form of ex­er­cise as it fo­cuses on poses, stretches and a strength build­ing rou­tine that can be mod­i­fied to suit a par­tic­u­lar stage of preg­nancy,’ noted Liew. She was also quick to point out that there are many mums who are usu­ally very fit – reg­u­lar gym­go­ers and marathon run­ners – who do pre­na­tal yoga as an al­ter­na­tive to their usual ex­er­cise regime.

How safe is pre­na­tal yoga?

Ev­ery preg­nant woman al­ways has one pre­vail­ing thought run­ning through her mind, par­tic­u­larly if it’s her first preg­nancy – how safe is this? Liew re­it­er­ated that pre­na­tal yoga is very safe as only ex­pe­ri­enced in­struc­tors with spe­cial cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for pre­na­tal yoga can teach these classes; she also in­sists on a let­ter from a doc­tor/gy­nae­col­o­gist giv­ing the go-ahead for mums to join a class. ‘These classes are not like reg­u­lar yoga classes as they are not as dy­namic, and I al­ways mod­ify the move­ments to suit the in­di­vid­ual’s needs. Most im­por­tantly, I keep a close eye on the mums with back pain or any other aches as­so­ci­ated with preg­nancy.’

Once you have de­cided to do pre­na­tal yoga there are a few things to take note of: be­gin pre­na­tal yoga classes dur­ing the first trimester, re­main hy­drated at all times, be aware of how your body feels as be­ing preg­nant will in­duce fa­tigue so rest when nec­es­sary, and al­ways let the in­struc­tor know if you’re feel­ing un­well.

You’ve had the baby… now what?

As ev­ery woman who has given birth knows, the af­ter­math of that life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is that not only are you now of­fi­cially a mother, but your body is usu­ally in need of some dam­age con­trol! There are the lucky ones who slip into their sports at­tire and hit the gym run­ning in record time, but the ma­jor­ity of new mums are usu­ally ready to do some form of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity a cou­ple of months af­ter giv­ing birth (nat­u­ral de­liv­ery). Those who have un­der­gone a C-sec­tion are strongly ad­vised to wait at least five months as ab­dom­i­nal surgery takes time to heal.

Post­na­tal yoga is a rel­a­tively new prac­tice and there aren’t many places that of­fer this sort of pro­gramme. Prana Yoga is one of the few cen­tres which has a post­na­tal pro­gramme com­pris­ing eight ses­sions fo­cus­ing on strength­en­ing pelvic floor mus­cles, eas­ing back pain and help­ing with over­all well­be­ing in a gen­tle man­ner, with many women pre­fer­ring one-to-one ses­sions. ‘This pro­gramme is tai­lored to help re­ju­ve­nate and in­dulge in some “me time” be­cause once you have a child, you need time to re­cu­per­ate emo­tion­ally and men­tally, and post­na­tal yoga is a great way to be­gin this jour­ney,’ said Liew.

Be­ing preg­nant shouldn’t be an ex­cuse to stop all phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, in fact it’s a time to fo­cus on strength­en­ing and pre­par­ing for what will prob­a­bly be the big­gest event of your life!

An­ge­line Liew

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.