Margaret Rizutto Smith: Pregnant Warrior

Pregnant woman doing Yoga
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What does a pregnant woman, cat & warrior have in common – everything! As we become more aware of the importance of good prenatal care pregnant women are turning to yoga, practicing postures like the Cat, Downward Dog & Warrior. Yoga is a great way to prepare your mind, body, and spirit for labor and childbirth. The concentration, focus, breathing techniques, and strength required for childbirth are all essential elements of yoga.

Yoga teaches acceptance and awareness. You become more accepting of the many changes your body goes through during pregnancy and labor. You become more aware of your body, you notice & celebrate the many changes. You learn to trust that your body knows what it needs to do even if your mind feel unsure. You listen to your body and let it do what is most instinctive to support you & your baby during labor & delivery.

The breathing practice of yoga (pranayama) can become one of your greatest tools during labor helping you to relax through contractions, find relief from discomforts and put you in a place of feeling stronger and more present with your experience.

On an emotional level, yoga helps you to quiet down and honor the miracle that is taking place inside your body. It’s easy to get so caught up in the busy-ness of day-to-day life that you forget to take the time to connect with the little life growing inside of you. During relaxation you make time for that connection. You might visualize your baby, or hold your arms lovingly around your belly while listened to your breath, or imagine your breath and your baby’s breath as one, synchronized, sharing life, sharing love.

Physically, yoga strengthens, tones, teaches endurance, concentration, focus, all the resources you will call upon to guide you through your labor. Postures like the Warrior help you develop strength, feel powerful, and ready to embrace any challenge. The Cat helps relieve lower back pain by strengthening and aligning the spine, making it easier to carry the extra weight of pregnancy. Cat pose is also is helpful during back labor. The Squat opens the hips and helps prepare the body for delivery.

Prenatal yoga, like all yoga should be done in a gentle, non-judgmental manner. During pregnancy when your body changes from day to day, you need to remember to be gentle with yourself, take each day as it comes with all it’s joys, challenges and delights. The pose you were able to get into yesterday, you might not be able to do today and may do even better tomorrow – allow the body, yourself, to be where ever you need to be.

If you do not have previous yoga experience it is recommended that you attend a prenatal yoga class. There are some good resources in print, web sites and videos that can also help you develop a gentle yet empowering, yoga practice.

A favorite quote from a prenatal yoga teacher in CA, Gurmukh Khalsa, "Your spirit as a women has all the knowledge you need to give birth and nurture your child. It is in your genes, it has been with you since you yourself were conceived. You can trust its wisdom".

Margaret Rizzuto Smith is founder and formulator of Natural Beginnings, Aromatherapy for Pregnancy, Mom & Baby. She also teaches prenatal yoga in Rhode Island. Margaret is mother to Eddie age 23, Elijah age 2 and is wife to Evan.

Natural Beginnings Aromatherapy Products can be found at Twinkle Little Star.

Resource List

On the Web
Information & illustrated postures
A series of illustrated postures http://www.socialbirth.orh/shelly/yoga.htm
A collection of yoga sites

In Print
Yoga for Pregnancy: Safe & gentle Stretches, Sandra Jordan
Yoga for Pregnancy, Francoise Barbira Freedman
Prenatal Yoga & Natural Birth, Jeannine Parvati

On Video
Baby & Mom Prenatal Yoga, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa
Preparing for Birth With Yoga, Janet Balaskas

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