How Yoga Benefits You and Your Child

Yoga is an exercise technique that has been widely adapted for its many wonderful benefits. This form of exercise helps you unwind and destress, improves balance and stamina, and boosts the circulatory system but adults aren’t the only ones that can benefit from this practice.

Practicing yoga is very advantageous for people of all ages, even in-utero. Learn how yoga benefits you and your child for a healthier, less stressed lifestyle.

Practicing Yoga from the Start
Exercise during pregnancy can offer many benefits, given the okay by your doctor. It helps in staying fit during and after pregnancy. The main focus in yoga is to concentrate on your breathing to center focus on one thing and clear your mind. Prenatal yoga is an excellent way for expecting moms to make time to relax and de-stress. It also benefits pregnant women with:

  • Getting better sleep
  • Reducing lower back pain
  • Improving flexibility and muscle endurance
  • Reducing shortness of breath

Practicing yoga while pregnant can help you to prepare for labor and motherhood both physically and mentally. There are different styles and techniques in yoga, but those best suited for pregnancy include non-strenuous poses such as prenatal yoga, Hatha yoga, and restorative yoga. Be sure to consult with your doctor before doing any physical exercise to ensure it’s safe for you and your baby.

Many places that provide prenatal yoga classes also offer specific classes for mothers and their new babies; although it’s quite easy to do at home under the guidance of a trained instructor. Doing yoga with your baby will help them gain social skills as well as assist in their development to reach important milestones. Yoga should be fun and relaxing for you and your baby so choose a good time when they aren’t sleepy or hungry. Only practice with your baby if they are willing and not in a fussy mood. During early infancy you can assist your baby in some simple yoga poses that gently stretch to help them gain spacial awareness.

Benefits of Performing Yoga for Mom and Baby

Carrying out specific poses in yoga benefits you and your child in many different ways such as promoting healthy digestion for both. Gentle stretches and movements for different poses can aid in alleviating trapped gas in the intestinal tract, leading to healthier digestion. Here’s an excellent pose to help in relieving gas and colic:

Knees to Chest Pose
This is a very simple yoga pose which you’ll begin by placing your baby to lay on their back, facing up. Move the baby’s knees to his chest and hold the pose for about three to five seconds. You can then release the knees and stroke the legs to keep your baby calm and relaxed. This can be repeated for about ten times.

A common problem many women experience from pregnancy is Diastasis Recti where the abdominal muscles separate causing that ‘mom pooch’. Performing specific yoga poses such as slow sunrise and modified cat/cow pose can help prevent as well as remedy the condition. If you have Diastasis Recti, this pose can be done with your baby.

Modified Cat and Cow 
Begin by placing the baby on a mat while facing up. Lean towards the baby to have a face-to-face interaction. As you do this, kneel down and let your hips be just above your knees and shoulders over your wrists. Inhale and tilt your tailbone up as you lift your chest simultaneously, the way a cat does when they’re arching their back. Conversely, exhale as you tilt your tailbone downwards, curve your back, and look down at your baby.

There are certain yoga poses and positions that should be avoided with Diastasis Recti. Be sure to consult with a trained yoga instructor as well as a healthcare provider to ensure it’s okay to perform this stretch.

Rocking the Baby
This is yet another common yoga pose that is done while carrying your baby. This should only be performed if you have good balance or a spotter nearby. Begin by standing with your feet spaced slightly wider than your hips as you hold your baby facing out. Bend your knees while exhaling, stretch your legs as you shift your weight to the left foot and inhale. While doing this, ensure that you extend to tiptoe on your right foot. Then bend your knees and exhale as you move back to the initial stance. Repeat the same movement in the alternate direction. Try holding the baby in the waist area and stretch them out as if to make him/her fly. This pose helps to strengthen your body as well as strengthen the muscles in the neck, core, head, and shoulders of your baby.

There are many ways in which yoga benefits you and your baby, but you should always consult with a health care professional first. Certain positions and stretches may not be advised with health conditions you or your baby may have.

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