Yoga is becoming more and more popular within our community. Although yoga is an ancient tradition from the East, its teachings are very similar to ours.
Yoga is becoming more and more popular within our community. Although yoga is an ancient tradition from the East, its teachings are very similar to ours. Yoga means “the union of body, mind and spirit”. It teaches us to be in the now, and helps us to find balance through breath, stretching and postures. There are many animal and nature references throughout the yoga practice with an understanding of respect for all living things. Masculine and feminine energies are acknowledged, for example in Hatha yoga, ‘Ha’ means sun and represents male energy and ‘tha’ means moon, representing female energy, just like Grandmother Moon and Grandfather Sun. Our Ancestors may not have practiced yoga in the way we think of it today, but many of our activities mimicked the postures that are done within a yoga practice. For example, we would squat while gathering, we would twist while paddling, we would sit cross legged just to name a few. Yoga mimics nature, and we should do the same as we are nature. If you watch a dog or cat getting up from a nap, they always stretch first.
There are many benefits to yoga. Physically yoga helps us get strong, helps with our balance, and our flexibility, and it is also really good for our joints. Mentally, yoga helps us focus and clear the mind of constant chatter.
Emotionally, yoga helps release old energy that no longer serves us, and removes blockages within our body. Our breath helps to calm our nervous system and relax our Being. Spiritually yoga helps us to connect, to let go and to just be.
I’ve been practicing yoga for about 6 years; 3 years ago I got certified in basic hatha training, followed by pre-natal yoga training. Yoga has helped me in many ways, especially now during my pregnancy.
The beauty of yoga is that it’s good for all ages and levels of mobility. Yoga is particularly good for moms to be; it has many benefits for both Momma and Baby. Practicing yoga while pregnant helps to prepare the body for delivery and afterward. It helps bring a deeper awareness to the body and connection with baby. The deep breathing, postures, meditation and visualization helps to calm the nervous system and create a peaceful environment for both mom and baby. Yoga can assist in relieving any pain or discomfort, especially in the lower back and pelvis. I find deep breathing really helps with nausea. Yoga during pregnancy builds strength, focus and flexibility and increases oxygen and blood flow. In particular, it helps to strengthen the birthing muscles and opens up our hips in preparation for delivery. When breathing and moving through the postures, various visualization techniques and mantras also help to prepare the mind and body, for example, we inhale peace and exhale fear, we visualize a healthy, strong baby growing within us and a positive delivery. Birth is a natural part of life and I find that yoga helps to welcome and surrender to that natural process. Also, some of the yoga postures mimic our more traditional ways of giving birth, like squatting or being on all fours.
Sometimes it feels like baby is doing yoga in the womb. I’ve never felt anything more amazing than feeling my baby move inside me. Absolutely beautiful. We are spectacular Beings us women, and creating life is a powerful experience.
Yoga can be done anywhere. You don’t need to join a studio and you don’t need fancy yoga clothes. All you need is you and your breath to create a healthy, positive space for both you and your baby.
SOADI will be releasing a Pre-Natal Yoga DVD soon, so you can practice at home or with your program. Stay tuned! And remember to breathe deeply!