Prenatal Yoga

by Aline Gareau Boucher

Aline Gareau Boucher has a B.SC., in nursing and has worked in pub­lic health for 10 years. She is the owner of Centre Parenfante and teaches prenatal yoga and children's massage

Via a holistic approach, yoga brings the expectant mother in touch with her body, contributing confidence and inner joy

Yoga is an ancient practice that merges body, mind, and soul. Just as everyday life scatters our energy, yoga gathers it.

Prenatal yoga allows the expectant mother to transcend and discover her inner and outer capacities. It is offered as a four-part course, beginning with: interrelation between participants, followed by an information session, chanting and breath­ing exercises, postures, and concluding with relaxation and visualization.

Controlled breathing exercises energize and regulate body systems

Controlled breathing exercises allow the expectant mother to take conscious control of her body, mind, and spirit. "During labour, breathing is the helm that will allow you to navigate the storm of birthing," explains professor Francoise Lapchuk. These breathing exercises bring the mother into contact with her baby. The quality of each breath is also important because breathing affects the blood that feeds the placenta which is the baby's lung. After her third delivery, a mother said: "My last delivery was the most difficult of the three, but prenatal yoga taught me to work with my body instead of my head. Yoga helped me stay calm and this tranquility was passed on to my son, helping him during birth."

Yoga postures can help relax, tone and engergize the body

In yoga, the postures are an expression of being. They must be practiced slowly with consciousness of movement, and, within the personal and unique limitations of one's body. Yoga is non-competitive. The conscious repetition of motion urges the body to perform. The following is a testimonial from one of my students: "I love yoga because I don't have to compete with the other students. I got to feel what was going on inside my body without feeling as though I had to do as well or better than the other women in the class."

Through yoga expectant mother can respond to the needs of her body and her baby

Relaxation and visualization exercises are important for fathers as well as for mothers. To regularly "connect" with the unborn child through visualization and relaxation nourishes the baby with tenderness, helping the child develop a strong confident personality and a link with the mother that will be useful during labour.

The expectant mother cultivates assurance through regular participation in yoga classes. She becomes self-possessed and ready for delivery. "Yoga allowed me to feel my body and fully experience my pregnancy. I was sensitive to my needs and .to those of my baby," explains one mother who followed the prenatal yoga course.

For more information concerning prenatal yoga, contact the Holistic Medical Association in your region, or regional gynecological clinics and hospitals.

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