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How pregnancy yoga can help you prepare for childbirth

What hypnobirthing and pregnancy yoga have in common

pregnant woman pregnancy yoga

Pregnancy yoga teaches you to still your mind

Many of us will spend long periods of time, every day, with our heads down, neck bent, and scrolling through our phone. We become lost in an endless sea of beautiful pictures, celebrity gossip, and a sense of feeling largely inferior. If we’re not scrolling through social media, we’re probably listening to music, or a podcast, or perhaps chatting with friends. We spend large parts of our day with our mind constantly being bombarded with information and noise. If we’re not being bombarded with information and noise, we are probably ruminating and worrying about something, letting our thoughts spiral, causing us to feel anxious, tense, and overwhelmed. Rarely, do we stop and mindfully listen to the bird song, the rustle of leaves, smell the fresh air, and feel the sun warm our face.

pregnancy yoga class pregnant women

Pregnancy yoga teaches you to slow down. Yoga teaches you to calm your mind and let it rest. By concentrating on the movements of your body, and your breath, your mind gets a chance to be still. In hypnobirthing, you train yourself to enter a state of hypnosis during childbirth where your mind is still and calm. Pregnancy yoga helps support you in this training.

Pregnancy yoga teaches you to truly be in your body

With a quiet and still mind, during yoga you are encouraged to pay close attention to the movements of your body and how it feels. When our minds are busy, and distracted, we are not experiencing our body. We become detached from it until it shouts loud enough, with pain signals, that you need to pay attention. Society then teaches us to silence the pain signals by taking pain killers and avoiding nurturing the source of the pain. Many people, during labour, look to pain relief methods to silence the sensations of childbirth, such as getting an epidural or using Entonox gas.

pregnancy yoga class pregnant women

In pregnancy yoga, you are taught not to be afraid of your body but to experience it, being fully present in it, feeling confident. This ties in beautifully with hypnobirthing where you are taught to feel confident about your body’s ability to birth your baby naturally. Hypnobirthing also encourages you to be present in your body, during labour, and respond intuitively to the movements you need to make and the foods you want to consume. With the tools of hypnobirthing, and not fearing the experience of labour, many women do not feel the need to have an epidural or reach for Entonox gas.

Pregnancy yoga teaches you to release tension

pregnancy yoga class pregnant women

Where your mind is still, and not spiralling into a whirlpool of anxiety, you are less likely to create tension in your body. When you also become fully present with your body, you can feel where, in your body, you are holding tension. As you move through a yoga series, your body focuses energy into different muscle groups, and the body parts, you have being holding tense and stiff, are encouraged to release. You will notice a difference in the muscles when tension has been released. During hypnobirthing, you are taught how tension in the muscles can create more painful sensations during labour. It is a great skill to be able to feel where tension is, and release it. The jaw and shoulders are common cesspools of tension in the body.  

Pregnancy yoga teaches you to enjoy powerful stretches

In yoga, as you move, you are encouraged to stretch out various muscles, such as the hamstrings during a down dog. Depending on what activities you do, and where you are holding tension, some muscles will be tighter than others. It is a common reaction to grimace, and tense further, when you attempt to stretch

pregnancy yoga pregnant woman

out a tight muscle. During yoga, you are encouraged to shift your mindset to experience a deep stretch as a pleasurable release, and to enjoy it. If the muscle is tight it wants to be released and cared for in a beautiful, deep, slow, stretch, combined with deep, slow, breathing. In hypnobirthing, you are also encouraged to apply this mindset to the sensations of labour; we do not automatically view surges as pain but as a pull and release of uterine muscles to open and expand the cervix. You may experience the sensations of labour as powerful, rather than painful. Some women even describe these sensations as pleasurable.

Pregnancy yoga teaches you to use deep, slow breathing

pregnancy yoga class pregnant women

Finally, during pregnancy yoga, you are encouraged to maintain a low, slow, rhythmic breath, throughout your practice, and pay attention to it. This breath serves you in helping to still your mind, and to release tension with every exhale. During exhales you are also encouraged to go deeper into a stretch and to release further.

In hypnobirthing, you are taught to use a similar deep, rhythmic breath, and this breath is a fundamental component of entering your hypnotic state. A simple breath holds a lot of power.

All these components of pregnancy yoga work in combination to keep your mind calm, tension to release, and your body to become soft and relaxed. This combination is exactly what you need for hypnobirthing and yoga is a great way to practice bringing everything together. It is also great for you and your baby to be calm, relaxed, and comfortable during pregnancy.

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