By Sangeetha Saran
Where can teachers or pregnant students find tips for a safe practice? Pregnant students require a specialist who has completed a prenatal yoga teacher training course to keep a keen eye not only on the student herself but the child she is carrying. While most students require variations or adjustments to typical poses, pregnancy carries with it a unique challenge in ensuring the health and safety of both mother and child.
As with any other yoga student, comfort, flexibility, past injuries or limitations help instructors find variations for a student during pregnancy. The added concerns with pregnant students include relieving any physical discomfort or emotional strain that a regular yoga practice can provide.
Here are some pointers for guiding pregnant students in your classes. It’s extremely important to make sure that the student has a medical care provider’s okay before attempting any new or strenuous poses. The following tips are useful for teachers and pregnant students.
1. Stay away from poses that place pressure on the abdomen. Don’t allow a pregnant student to try a pose that twists the abdomen. It’s safe to twist shoulders and the upper back, but ask them to refrain from twisting anything at the core. This ensures the safety of both mother and child.
2. This can be an example of yoga’s ability to accept the body as it is without judgment, and the idea of impermanence. A woman who is carrying a child is in a temporary state where there is a limitation on her physical body that will later bring the miracle of life. Accepting temporary limitations and the uniqueness of a student’s body is a challenge for the student, and one that can be used as a learning experience.
3. Aid students in developing their legs. In the first few months of pregnancy, practicing poses that develop leg muscles will help later on as the child grows larger and pressure on the spine and pelvis increase.
4. Emphasize the mind. Prenatal classes are one of the best times to stress the mental and spiritual aspects of yoga. As the mother struggles through hormonal changes, meditation practice helps relieve the emotional fatigue that accompanies pregnancy. Yoga’s ability to lower blood pressure, heart rates and breathing rates help mothers who are at risk for complications due to elevated blood pressure.
5. Teach muscle relaxation. Along with letting go with pranayama exercises, a yoga class is a wonderful time to teach pregnant students the importance of letting go of tight, clenched or knotted muscles. Muscle relaxation techniques will also be helpful to the student during delivery.
Even students who have never practiced yoga before will find the focus on breathing to be a great comfort, both during pregnancy and during delivery. Many Lamaze practitioners are delighted to learn that the unusual breathing patterns are familiar in some yogic practices.
Prenatal yoga training brings additional considerations for instructors to ensure the comfort and safety of both mother and child. A regular practice is also a place for pregnant students to integrate a relaxing and spiritual practice with methods that can help with delivery and relief of pregnancy symptoms.
© Copyright 2009 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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