Hey pregnant momma. What if I asked you to try prenatal yoga? You might think that sounds exciting, or like many people with apprehension about yoga while pregnant (or even yoga in general), you might be thinking… NOPE. I get it. Touching your toes or balancing on one foot or bending your back in ways it is not used to bending can be intimidating when you do NOT have a growing baby bump in the way, so of course it seems out of reach when you DO. However, what if I left the words “prenatal yoga” out for a minute and I asked you this…
Hey pregnant momma! Would you like to decrease those pregnancy headaches? Reduce that dreaded nausea? Relieve low back pain? How about improve your flexibility, strength, and stamina? Diminish stress? Ease carpal tunnel syndrome? I bet you would like to improve your sleep, or lack of sleep. (Disclaimer: I can’t make any promises about the pre-existing babes already outside of your womb. They may still wake you up, but please refer to our recent Kids Yoga and Baby + Me Yoga blogs if you want to be a real problem solver, super mom.) What if you could lessen your risk of preterm labor? Or even lower your risk of intrauterine growth restriction? That’s the condition that slows down a baby’s growth.
Now I imagine all of that sounds enticing, perhaps even a little too good to be true. Believe it or not, those are just some of the amazing benefits of prenatal yoga. According to the American Pregnancy Association, studies have even discovered a connection between prenatal yoga and the reduction of hypertension-related complications and the improvement of fetal outcome. Prenatal yoga is a form of exercise that speaks specifically to your pregnancy wellness.
Deep breathing and conscious relaxation will support you as you face the physical demands of labor and birth. This body and breath connection will prime you for childbirth. In prenatal yoga, you will learn to breathe fully. When you use the breathing technique practiced in yoga, known as uijayi, you develop the ability to stay calm as labor progresses. When you let fear or pain lead you, your body produces adrenaline and produces less oxytocin, which is the hormone that helps labor to progress. Consistent yoga practice will help you avoid tension and tightening when you feel contractions growing stronger, making it easier to relax through them and progress more efficiently.
By participating in a regular prenatal yoga class, you benefit from a support system including other expecting mothers. You can openly share your concerns and talk through pregnancy with women who can relate and an informed prenatal yoga teacher. We offer prenatal yoga at FreshJax on Mondays at 11:00. We provide all of the props you will need to ensure comfort through each trimester. All we need is you and your precious baby bump.
As a mother, educator and mentor to children, it is no secret to me that it is important to develop the whole child. It is in the best interest of our children to develop their minds, bodies, behavior, emotional health, character, compassion and spirit. We put so much pressure on ourselves to simultaneously mold, stretch, protect and tame them while also allowing them to make their own choices and find freedom and independence from us in this world. Of course we do. It’s our job to raise them into positive contributing members of society. That’s a beautiful thing. However, what if there was a way to take some of the pressure off of ourselves to develop our children? What if some of this development could take place naturally within our children, allowing them to take some ownership of their personal growth? Children crave this. They want to feel ABLE, to prove to themselves and the world that they can do things on their own while also resting in the comfort of our guidance and support along the way.
As I develop as a yoga teacher and my personal practice of yoga grows, I’ve discovered that yoga has played a pivotal role in developing self awareness and personal intuition. As someone who believes in the development of the whole self beginning in our youth, I’ve realized that beginning our yoga journey as a child can and does contribute profoundly to that development. My yoga practice did not begin until I was in college, but I often wonder what it would have been like to grow up with yoga. As a mommy of two and an elementary educator, I have chosen to instill the practice of yoga in the children I personally influence and inspire, and the benefits are truly evident.
Don’t just take my word for it though. If I have learned anything as a mother and teacher, it’s that children are all unique. So let’s look at studies and statistics. The evidence is overwhelming. In one study, 88% of children reported that they have a more positive attitude towards themselves, 96% of children reported that they are kinder toward others, and 76% of children reported that they use breathing techniques to help them focus. Studies demonstrate that the practice of yoga positively impacts academic performance, discipline, attendance, and attitude. It provides physical fitness and emotional sustenance while developing coping skills, calm disposition, resiliency, compassion, and strength. It even significantly impacts education, prevention of violence, and behavior management. Activation of balance and movement aids in attention disorders and reading development. It stimulates the neurological paths of the body allowing the entire body to learn and grow. Frame of mind, vigor, vigilance, stress response, and brain development are positively impacted and children develop an overall sense of well-being.
Come join us for Kids Yoga at FreshJax on Fridays from 3:30 to 4:30. We look forward to igniting passion for the practice of yoga in your little ones. Ages around 4-10 are welcome.
Much like the experience of being in the comfort of their mother’s womb, rocking, swaying, back rubbing and baby massage are all gentle touches that babies enjoy. These interactions help them to feel comforted and trust the arms of their caregiver. Gentle movement and touch after birth helps unite sensory experiences with emotional exchanges.
Baby + Me Yoga, which is offered on Thursdays at 2:00 at FreshJax, helps parents and caregivers learn new ways to handle their babies at each developmental stage. It is a beautiful way for parent and baby to bond while building a foundation of exercise from birth, promoting positive sleep habits, strengthening growing muscles, and stimulating the baby’s bodily systems, especially the nervous and digestive systems.
Baby yoga helps assist babies in their transitions from one stage of development to the next, contributes to the development of the brain, and can even alleviate colic and gas. Early birth distress can be healed through tender interaction. FreshJax believes in providing relaxation and rejuvenation for all seasons of life, including our fragile and delicate babies.
Baby + Me yoga doesn’t only serve Baby’s body, but it strengthens and heals the mother’s body as well. Pelvic floor dysfunction affects fifty percent of women following childbirth. It is important to ease back into your fitness routine by first restoring your core and pelvic floor function. In this class, we focus on carefully rebuilding the pelvic floor and stability muscles of the core, so that Mom can safely return to efficient exercise and movement following birth.
However, this class is not just for mothers and babies. Dad or any caregiver will benefit from Baby + Me yoga. This class offers a great opportunity to get out of the house and interact with other parents and caregivers. We combine yoga and play while strengthening the bond between you and your infant. You will experience postures for both you and baby as well as calming and restorative time for both of you in a safe environment for mobile babies and newborns. Joint relaxation is beneficial for both parties and enhances nonverbal communication between baby and caregiver. You will get to know each other better through active communication, and you can take these practices home with you. New movements will be presented at a pace that is safe for babies to absorb, and assimilating these movements into their home life will help baby to positively manage new situations.
This class helps you to reconnect with your body and breath while bonding with baby and helping him/her to develop body awareness. We encourage you to listen to your baby’s needs and cues throughout class. We want you to feel comfortable stopping to nurse or feed your baby, as well as to change diapers and soothe baby however you see fit. Babies are often unpredictable, so we establish an open environment where you can come back to the practice whenever your baby is ready. These affirmative relations are the foundation for future positive social interactions, and they help your baby to build trust and feel safe in your arms.
FreshJax offers Baby + Me Yoga on Thursdays at 2:00. You and your baby can join us as soon as your doctor or midwife has cleared you for light exercise. Mobile babies are still welcome up to eighteen months of age. Our Baby + Me yoga teacher will modify postures and movements to meet the growing needs and desires of you active infant. We look forward to practicing yoga with you and your littles here at FreshJax.
Explore yoga + healthy living in Jacksonville, FL with FreshJax!