What is Prenatal/Postnatal Yoga?

Posted by Pleasance Silicki in Articles on Fri, Jan 13, 2012

Prenatal Yoga is the beginning of your journey into motherhood. Practicing yoga while pregnant, with another life inside of you, teaches you the core practices of yoga mainly breath, mindfulness, and awareness in the moment.

As you approach your 3rd trimester you are really forced to listen to your baby while you practice – what works for you, what works for them in each posture. If you listen closely, you can connect on a deep level with your baby before he/ she is born. I believe that what you do, think, read and listen to while pregnant helps to form and shape the being that lives within you. How magical it is to enjoy yoga and meditation with your child before they are born. Prenatal yoga is about being present on your mat with your body, breath, child and these are the foundations for mindful parenting.

What are the benefits of prenatal yoga?

The benefits of prenatal yoga are tremendous and vary from mother to mother. I found that I not only cultivated my own inner and outer strength and flexibility but I also enjoyed indulging in the prenatal yoga classes and practices for me and my children. Many of my students comment that they felt more prepared mentally and physically for labor and childbirth as a result of the prenatal yoga practice, with specifies poses, breathing practices, and mantras to guide you through whichever delivery and birth options you choose.

If you can’t get to a prenatal class, try to turn on some inspiring music, find a quiet spot in your home, and spend time on your mat breathing and moving with your baby in postures that feel authentic to what you both need. In the morning it might be a more energizing practice with modified sun salutes and standing poses , and wide legged forward folds to open the hamstrings for the day. An evening practice might be more focused on hips, seated poses, seated forward folds and restorative postures to help promote a restful sleep. Squats and pelvic tilts ( on your back if comfy or on all fours) should be part of your daily routine. There are many controversies in prenatal yoga postures, so it’s important to listen to your own body and your baby each time you practice.

Even 10-20 minutes daily can greatly reduce swelling, insomnia, leg cramps, and there are some postures which are wonderful for helping guide your baby into the birth canal for an optimal birth position.

Postnatal Yoga

Once you have had your baby, postnatal yoga is a wonderful way to connect to your new baby. Many studios have mom and baby classes or postnatal yoga classes that you can start 6-8 weeks postpartum. These classes are a great way to meet other new moms, and move through postures to reconnect with your core. We work on opening shoulders, which can be tight and pulling forward from breastfeeding, carrying the baby, not to mention all the baby gear! We also work with reestablishing the stability in the hips in our standing poses and find unique and interesting ways to incorporate our babies into our practice. We may start with some infant massage, work on baby kissing push-ups, and gently move into a short vinyasa flow or moving lunges and squats. The babies LOVE the rhythm of moving around the room and while the moms work on connecting to their own breath and body.

In either prenatal or postnatal practice, the key aspect is connection, as it is in yoga. Balancing strength and flexibility on and off the mat are keys aspects of the childbearing years. The integration of our body, mind and spirit can enhance any stage of pregnancy or new motherhood. Prenatal and postnatal yoga have the ability to bring joy and peace of mind to a magical and mysterious time in our lives.

To learn more about prenatal and postnatal yoga, or to sign up for a class, please visit our website.

About Pleasance Silicki

Pleasance began teaching yoga part time after leaving the DC Public and Charter School System as an educator, administrator and mentor. “Do what you LOVE and LOVE what you do” is Pleasance’s life mission and mantra. Pleasance believes that each day is a fresh start and a chance to love more, serve more, learn more, connect with others and smile. Pleasance teaches a blended style of yoga combining traditional hatha postures, vinyasa flow movements and strong safe sequencing along with yin yoga to give all students an integration of styles that meet your individual needs for this moment, this day, this breath. Yoga is TRULY for all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages! She is honored to be a luluelmon ambassador for the Logan Circle location and is grateful to have worked with many DC community organizations and non-profits including, YOKID, Center for Inspired Teaching, Girls on the Run, DC Scores, DC Voice, Holistic Moms’ Network and Friends of Guy Mason. Pleasance is the founder of lil omm yoga, Washington DC’s first prenatal and family focused yoga community center and a co- creator of DC’s own TOUGH/love fitness program. She is a graduate of The Institute of Integrative Nutrition and became a Holistic Health Counselor in 2011. In 2011, Pleasance gave birth to her 2nd child, Milo, who has added much joy to her family and life! Big sister Saylor adores her baby brother and enjoys practicing yoga with mommy and baby brother.

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