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Question: Pregnancy can be a stressful time, mentally and physically. Is yoga considered a safe form of exercise in Abu Dhabi when pregnant?
Yes, prenatal yoga is often prescribed by doctors for expectant mothers.
Along with walking and swimming so this is a safe way to exercise for prenatal women in the UAE.
Question: The body goes through many changes during pregnancy. How does Yoga help women handle these rapid changes?
Yoga in Abu Dhabi helps one to connect with the breath and the sensations in the body.
When aware of the breath and the sensations in the body, we are in the present moment – neither dwelling on the future nor the past, thus releasing us from anxiety or fear for the future, and longing or regret for the past.
In life nothing ever stays the same, yet, we are afraid of the unknown.
Connecting to the breath and the body helps dissipate these fears, and we can learn to trust in the innate wisdom of the body.
Women have been birthing babies for thousands of years.
We don’t need to think about how to do it, our bodies are designed to grow and birth babies.
Practising yoga as a prenatal exercise in Abu Dhabi helps us to surrender the need to control all things, to let things naturally take their course.
Yoga teaches us that nothing lasts forever, that uncomfortable/unpleasant symptoms.
Ultimately this can help women to get through the sometimes-awkward stages of pregnancy and prepare mentally for the intensive labour to come.
Question: Do you think Yoga in Abu Dhabi is a good choice for women who are very active and train regularly but now find they cannot train as hard – will it help them stay in shape during their pregnancy?
Yes, it is important to stay active and to keep the body strong during pregnancy.
Generally, women that are more active during the prenatal phase have a quicker postnatal recovery.
However this is different for every woman and every pregnancy.
Prenatal yoga can help to explore range of motion of the joints, relieving back pain associated with pregnancy and strengthen muscles to a degree.
Breathing and relaxation also play an important part of prenatal yoga.
It can also help with mental preparation and recovery during pregnancy and after delivery.
However, I don’t think that “staying in shape” should be an expectant mother’s goal. Instead, mothers need to concentrate on a healthy pregnancy for both baby and herself.
Pregnancy is not a time to get fit, lose weight or work on increasing flexibility.
Those can all be addressed once the mother has safely delivered, recovered and been given the go-ahead to resume exercise by her doctor.
Question: Does practicing Yoga regularly during the pre natal stage of pregnancy help to strengthen and tone the muscles associated with childbirth? Can Yoga help to make delivery easier?
It can, provided that exercises to both strengthen and stretch the pelvic floor muscles are included.
Simply doing Kegels is only half the work.
Stretching the pelvic floor is extremely important to toning the muscles.
Yoga will also help first time mothers in Abu Dhabi to understand how to push, when it comes time to birth the baby, if she is delivering naturally.
Many women do not know how to push, which I think is an issue that should be addressed.
Delivery can also be made easier to handle by practising breathing exercises and connecting to the present moment.
Some positions may help to reduce discomfort / help baby descend through the pelvis.
In addition, acupressure points may also be helpful in reducing pain during contractions, fear and anxiety.
Question: As a professional Yoga Coach in Abu Dhabi what would you say are the top 5 Yoga poses that are both safe and effective for pre-natal women and how does each help?
This depends on each woman and each pregnancy.
Some poses may be helpful for some women and some may not be. I would suggest that you speak with a prenatal Yoga personal trainer in Abu Dhabi for some expert advice.
Always check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
Here are some poses that may be helpful.
They can be performed for 5 slow, full breaths or as long as it feels good.
Start on all fours.Arch/flex and round/extend the entire spine with the breath.
Inhale to arch the spine (lift the base of the spine, draw the ribs and chest forward, shoulders back, lift the chin); exhale to round the spine (tuck tailbone under, press the ribcage away from the floor as though hiding the heart and draw chin to chest).
Helps to open the shoulders and to help baby turn into the correct position (head downwards).
If baby is already in position, there is no need to do puppy pose.
From all fours, walk the hands forward whilst keeping the hips directly over the knees.
Sit with the feet together and the knees opening out to the sides.
Fold forward as far as it feels comfortable.
This helps to open the pelvis and hips for delivery.
Stand with feet a bit wider apart than the hips.
Try to keep the heels down as you bend the knees and bring the hips towards the ground.
Sitting on a block or low stool may be helpful.
Attempt to get the hips as low to the ground without touching the ground.
Press the thighs out to the sides, away from the body.
Helps to open the hips and pelvis for delivery.
Stand or sit or kneel on all fours and rotate the pelvis in both directions (both clockwise and counter-clockwise).
Helps to release tension in the lower back and mobilise the pelvis in preparation for delivery.
Helps to relieve swelling of the legs and feet, or when you have been on your feet a lot.
Lie facing up in front of a wall and bring the feet up the wall.
Try get the hips close to the wall, the hips don’t have to be against the wall, but shouldn’t be more than half a meter away from the wall.
A bolster, block or cushion/pillow can be placed under the sacrum (flat part of the lower back), provided it does not cause discomfort.
This is a very restorative pose and feels great!
Stay here for as long as you like, up to 10 minutes if that feels good. Otherwise 1-5 minutes will be sufficient.
Prenatal Yoga can be practised by many women in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. With any form of new exercise when pregnant always seek medical advice first.