Should expectant moms try yoga?

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When active moms first confirm that there is indeed a bun in the oven, one of the first questions in their minds has to do with fitness.

Traditional sayings simply advice moms-to-be to walk every morning so they won’t have a hard time “pushing” during their deliveries. But with the birth, so to speak, of this popular discipline in the Philippines, these moms-to-be now have a more enjoyable, albeit more challenging, choice.

As the world celebrated International Day of Yoga on Tuesday, let us learn more about its benefits for moms-to-be below.

The rise of yoga
From being the 5,000-year old Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, yoga—the Sanskrit word which means divine union—has become the modern day go-to exercise not just of fitness enthusiasts but also of professionals, students, housewives, retirees and even celebrities.


For those who have no clue about yoga, The Huffington Post writes that traditionally, yoga has one main goal and that is “to still the thoughts of a practitioner’s mind for him or her to experience one’s true self, and ultimately, to achieve liberation (moksha) from the cycle of birth and death (samsara), or enlightenment.” As it turned out, images of yogis—people who practice yoga—stretching and sweating it out on mats, is just one superficial aspect of yoga.

Whether it has truly went away from its roots or received a Westernized tweaking, yoga has been such a hit that since it first reached the Western shore in the ‘70s, it already grew to a multi-billion dollar industry. According to a 2013 The Huffington Post report, yoga is now “a $27-billion industry with more than 20 million practitioners, 83 percent of them women.”

In the Philippines, yoga found its own following that resulted to the appearance of yoga centers left and right. A far cry when it started with just a few ones in 2010.

From the basic yoga classes like Vinyasa and Kunda-lini comes a variety specially designed for expectant mothers: prenatal yoga.

According to American medical website mayoclinic.org, researches show that prenatal yoga helps “improve sleep, reduce stress and anxiety, increase the strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth, and decrease lower back pain, nausea, carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, headaches and shortness of breath.”

In addition, prenatal yoga can also help mothers to be meet and bond with other pregnant women and prepare for the stress of being a new parent.

Still according to mayoclinic.org classes may include the following activities: breathing excercises that might help reduce or manage shortness of breath during pregnancy and labor; gentle stretching; postures aimed at developing your strength, flexibility and balance; and cool down and relaxation to relax pregnant women’s muscles and restore their resting heart rate and breathing rhythm.

But like any other published materials regarding exercise during pregnancy, mayoclinic.org reiterates that before pregnant women enroll themselves in any of prenatal yoga classes, they must first get the seal of approval from their obstetrician-gynecologist.

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