To contribute to the circle of prenatal studies in my world, along with prenatal massage, I took the first part, of a two part series, in prenatal yoga at Yogaworks in NYC. Whether those enrolled in a prenatal yoga class are moms that have children already, or are pregnant with their first child, prenatal yoga can be very beneficial for the body and mind during the length of pregnancy, and extremely useful during labor as well!
One of the major themes in yoga in general, is BREATHING. So many of us don’t even realize we are breathing! When in a yoga class, the constant cues to “turn the awareness inwards and on the breath” or “focus on the inhalation and exhalation” are helpful clues in finding more relaxation and becoming more mindful of our breathing and actions, both on and off the mat. Breathing deeply, equal ratio breathing, and focusing on the breath can all come in very handy when labor and contractions start to take their course. If women are able to come back to some of the breathing we teach in yoga class, this might assist in labor.
The benefits of yoga aren’t only limited to the physical well being. It is another way to meet other pregnant, and a chance to become part of a community. Being in a positive, supportive environment with others that are going through the same experience, can help with and provide a regular emotional boost and keep up the motivation to continue practicing yoga and/or exercising. Listed below are some of the key benefits of prenatal yoga.
Increases strength and flexibility: Yoga helps increase flexibility in muscles and surrounding tissues, which also enhances blood circulation. This is important during pregnancy, because as hormones, like relaxin and prolactin, are circulating through the body, yoga helps strengthen and stabilize the joints as they become looser, making room for the baby during labor.
Helps diminish swelling and joint inflammation: Swelling and inflammation are both caused by water retention and decreased circulation. Since yoga is useful for promoting circulation throughout the joints, it is extremely helpful in reducing and maybe even preventing swelling in common areas like the ankles, feet and hands.
Prevents and decreases pain in the lower back and sciatica pain: Because of all of the extra weight that women carry when pregnant, lower back and sciatica pain are common complaints. Regular prenatal yoga practice helps strengthen the lower and middle back muscles, which also helps with posture during pregnancy, and alleviates some, if not all back pain.
Stress Relief: Yoga is a powerful tool for relaxation. It helps slow down the general pace of life, focus on the breath on an internal level, while also alleviating pains and stresses on the external level. During pregnancy, many changes are occurring physically and emotionally in the body, and yoga can be extremely helpful with relieving stress.
Helps prepare for labor: A yoga class can provide meditation, breath work and imagery that a woman can use during labor and during pain around time of contraction. If she is able to come back to any of the techniques that yoga class has taught her during labor, imagery and breathing through the pain can really help with relaxation and pain coping management.
On June 22nd, coming up in just two weeks… Yoga is being offered on the great lawn in NYC’s Central Park, and is open to any and all who register! This event is being hosted by Flavorpill, and taught by well-reknowned teacher, Elena Brower of Virayoga, and will be the largest yoga event NYC has ever seen!
Flavorpill is a daily guide to quality cultural events in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, and London. While Flavorpill presents this event, JetBlue Airlines is also participating by offering a free trip after you register to attend! Click here to sign up now and learn more!
Yay! Good luck winning your trip and see you June 22nd!
Amazing, actually! I received this information as a forward, and I thought it was worthy of sharing here.
Enjoy! And happy Monday everyone!
The Benefits of a Cucumber:
1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.
2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.
3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.
4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.
5 Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!
6.. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!
7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.
8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don’t have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.
9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!
10. Stressed out and don’t have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber with react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.
11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don’t have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.
12. Looking for a ‘green’ way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but is won’t leave streaks and won’t harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.
13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!!