Here at the Center for Sacred Window Studies, we share voices from many perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the sacred weeks post birth, and the experience of humanity is experienced in countless ways. We learn by listening to one another and honoring our stories. The views and opinions of our writers do not necessarily reflect the mission, viewpoints or opinions of the Center for Sacred Window Studies.
Practicing prenatal yoga is an invaluable experience along your journey to motherhood.
Not only does practicing yoga while pregnant help prepare you for a better birth experience, but the benefits last well into your postpartum period as well. Whether you are an experienced yogi or brand new, prenatal yoga will be greatly beneficial. In fact, if you are not already a yogi, pregnancy is actually the perfect time to start because prenatal yoga is a fairly gentle practice.
On a physical level, moving your body through the different poses helps to create space for your growing body, and growing baby. Your body changes a lot when it’s pregnant; organs are moved around, parts of you expand.
Prenatal yoga accommodates all of these changes so that both you and your baby can thrive. It helps to strengthen and stretch your body in all the right places that will help you prepare for giving birth, but also supports you in becoming a mother.
In theory, the more prepared you are to give birth, the smoother your postpartum time will be. Additionally, pregnancy comes with a lot of extra hormones pumping through your body. The gentle movement of yoga helps to move all the new hormones around in your body, and makes sure they flow to the right places. This in turn can help with pregnancy nausea as well as giving you a general sense of wellbeing throughout this major transition.
Jamie with teacher Gurmukh
Beyond the physical benefits, prenatal yoga helps to quiet your mind and mentally get ready for what is ahead after you give birth.
As a teacher of Khalsa Way Prenatal Yoga, I see it as a way to help bring new souls into this world in a conscious and loving way. Khalsa Way has an emphasis on forging a path of conscious mothering.
Each class is a sacred space and time for you to slow down, connect with your baby, and with your body.
Often, we have very full and busy lives, so taking an hour or so to slow down and connect inward is a beautiful thing. Prenatal yoga classes can also serve as a way to build community. You are practicing with soon-to-be mothers who may be giving birth around the same time as you and live in the same area. Having a connection to other new mothers can become a lifeline in your immediate postpartum period and beyond. Not only can you form lifelong friendships, you may even meet other moms who will become part of your village, and can support you throughout your life as a mother.
Here are some of my favorite poses to do throughout pregnancy:
This position is done on your hands and knees. Make sure your hands are directly under your shoulders, fingertips pointing forward, and knees aligned with your hips. Inhale as you drop your belly towards the
earth as your shoulder blades come together like they might touch. On your exhale, round your back like a cat. Move back and forth like this with your breath. This pose takes some pressure off your internal organs, and relieves back discomfort. Not only does this pose feel good while pregnant, but it also supports your baby to be in the optimal position for birth. A fun addition to this pose is to add in some hip circles while you are on your hands and knees. This movement helps you get into your hip flexors and also may feel good when you are in labor.
This is an excellent pose to do while pregnant because it’s a great stretch for your side body, and for your back, which helps to create space for your baby. It helps to relieve sciatica, which some women experience while pregnant. Get into this pose by stepping your feet about 3 ½ to 4 feet apart (or whatever distance is comfortable for you). Turn your front foot out 90 degrees and your back foot in slightly (this is the same feet and leg
position as Warrior Two). Make sure both legs are straight. Stretch your arms out straight parallel to the floor, palms facing out. Hinge at your waist, and bend over your front leg. Your front hand can come to your calf or a block. Reach your other arm and fingers up to the sky. Hold this pose for 3 to 5 breaths and then repeat on the other side.
While not specific to yoga, squats are one of the best exercises you can do while pregnant. Squats help to get you in touch with your pelvic area while building strength and flexibility in your legs and hips. This will make a huge difference when you go into labor and give birth, which is one of the reasons why we include squats in every Khalsa Way class!
Jamie Meekins is a Maiden to Mother Coach, a certified birth and postpartum doula, and a Khalsa Way prenatal yoga teacher. As a graduate of the Center for Sacred Window Studies Ayurvedic Postpartum Caregiver program, she especially loves working with new mamas throughout their sacred window period. She lives in Oceanside, CA with her husband and Goldendoodle pup.
Find Jamie online at www.sacredmamahealing.com or on Instagram @jamie.meekins.