Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful experiences of a woman's life. It is a time when a woman is overwhelmed with different emotions happiness, excitement, anxiety all at the same time. During this phase, a woman can also experience frequent mood swings, thanks to the hormonal changes taking place in the body. Fatigue and discomfort too, become permanent companions owing to the physical changes occurring.
Yoga offers holistic benefits to expecting women helping them to keep the body healthy and mind, calm and relaxed. Yoga prepares women for labour and delivery as well as assists them in recovering better post-delivery. Rajeev Rajesh, Chief Yoga Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute, shares five yoga asanas that can bring multiple benefits to pregnant women.
How to do: Stand erect and keep the feet a little wide apart. Interlock the fingers, raise the hands up and turn the palms upward. Take a deep breath. While breathing out, bend from the waist to the right, keeping the elbows straight and feet firmly on the ground. Hold the posture and breathe normally. Feel the stretch on the sides. While inhaling, gently come back to the original position. Repeat on the other side.
Benefits: This asana stretches the waistline and improves the flexibility of the spine. It provides relief in back pain and constipation, a common problem during pregnancy.
How to do: Standing erect and spread the legs 3-4 feet apart. Turn the right foot 90 degrees outwards and the left foot by 15e inward. While inhaling, raise the arms sideways so that they are parallel to the ground and in line with the shoulders. While exhaling, bend the right knee and turn your gaze towards the right. Gently push down on the pelvis and maintain this position with normal breathing. Inhale and gently come up and while exhaling, bringing the hands to the sides. Repeat on the other side.
Benefits: It helps develop balance, releases stress from the arms and shoulders and relaxes the mind and the body. It is also an excellent asana to strengthen the lower back, legs and arms.
How to do: Stand on the knees and keep them a little apart. Bend forward and place the palms below the shoulders and in front of the knees on the ground. While inhaling, lift the head up and push the lower back down. While exhaling, lift the back up and bend the head down. Repeat the practice ten times.
Benefits: This asana stretches the spine and makes it flexible. This helps support more weight during pregnancy. It also tones the abdominal organs and improves blood circulation.
How to do: Sit straight with the legs stretched forward. Bend the knees and join the soles of the feet together. Interlock the fingers and hold the feet firmly. Bring the heels close to your genitals. Breathe in deeply. Keep the elbows on the thighs. While exhaling, gently press the thighs and knees down towards the floor and then allow it to move up.
Benefits: This asana gives a good stretch to the inner thighs and pelvic area. This helps improve the flexibility and strength of the pelvic and hip region. If practiced regularly, it will facilitate a smooth delivery.
How to do: Lie down straight on the back. Keep the legs slightly apart and hands slightly away from the body. Turn the palms up. Gently close the eyes and relax the body completely. Keep breathing gently and slowly. Do not allow any thoughts to come into your mind. Stay in this position for 10 minutes.
Benefits: The asana helps to achieve a deep, meditative state that fosters the repair of tissues and cells, relieving stress. It is also a good practice to reduce blood pressure, insomnia and anxiety.
Finally, a word of advice: It is crucial for pregnant women to remember that they should not indulge in asanas that require them to lie flat on the stomach. Also, inverted and forward bending asanas must be avoided as they might put pressure on the abdomen. Always Practice yoga asanas under the supervision of expert.
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Indic traditions emphasise that good mental and physical health is directly connected to three prime activities-- what we eat, how we breathe and the way we think. These help us to understand the deep connection between our bodies, minds, emotions and thoughts.
One needs to respect the balance between the physical or the food that we eat, mental or the thoughts that we manifest by what we think, emotional or the reactions or responses to situations that we give and the spiritual aspects that we experience in understanding the connection between us and the cosmos. Only when all this is in balance will we have the fortune to experience a healthy, peaceful and successful life. Let us briefly divide these three important aspects that help detox our bodies and help us live a wholesome life.
A Balanced Diet
Based on the principles of the Indic sciences, our life is primarily composed of elements that are sattva or pure, ahimsa or nonviolence and upyogita or symbiotic living. It is in this context that a yogic diet is recommended to live a wholesome life. An ancient practice that has been tried and tested for over thousands of years, a yogic diet promotes mindful eating, consumption in moderation, eating according to the season and indulging in organic and natural food for consumption.
A wholesome diet promotes the concept of "mit-aahar" or moderate eating encourages one to eat food that is in accordance with one's doshas. Our civilization understood the interspersed connection between the ecology and us and this probably is the one reason that we must find the lost connection on why we need to discipline our food eating habits in accordance to nature. Indulging in wholesome grains, fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds etc that are both fresh and seasonal are the correct tools to live a healthy lifestyle.
Asanas for Great Health
Physical exercise like Yoga is known to help tune into the body's mechanism. We now need to connect individual intelligence with that of the universal consciousness. Our seers devised yoga as a way to overcome all suffering, internal or external, to enable us to live a healthy and peaceful life. Yoga helps centre the mind in chaotic times, strengthening immunity and building a strong but calm mind that can help us to withstand everything that comes our way.
Practicing Yoga Asanas for just 30 minutes everyday combined with simple breathing techniques and meditation, will help stretch the body and mind making us stronger and more flexible, less lethargic and more active. Not to mention we will be able to lead a disease and infection free life once we start our yogic journey.
Correct Breathing and Why it is The Key to Great Health
Our traditions emphasise that good mental and physical health is directly connected to the way we breathe. Correct breathing is known to help sharpen the brain and body, increase immunity, reduce stress and increase efficiency. Morden research confirms that most of us use only 20 percent of our breathing capacity during our entire lifetime, essentially hyperventilating on two overworked and exhausted lungs throughout our lives.
And without realising this, we live a stressful and disease filled life. Specific breathing routines have thus been established by our ancients that are as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago. Simple breathing techniques to manage breath must be practiced everyday to consciously navigate the body towards great health.
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