Prepare Your Body and Mind with Prenatal Yoga
Prenatal Yoga is coming to Boone and the High Country!
At High Country Doulas we are always looking for new ways to support you as you journey through pregnancy, birth, and beyond.
That's why, we are beyond excited to announce our newest service!....Prenatal Yoga!
We could not be happier to have Lis McCachren Mitchell joining us from Heart Centered Mamas, to help us provide this valuable service to the High Country.
We love Lis and all that she does, and we know you will fall in love with her too.
By way of introduction, here is a recent article Lis has written to share with you the benefits that yoga can bring to your pregnancy.
Lis McCachren Mitchell...
"People ask me all the time, “Does yoga really make birth easier?”
My answer is always yes, Yes, YES! The practice of yoga makes many aspects of life easier, and the more we practice, the more we can rely on the tools of yoga to back us up in challenging situations. When you look at Yoga as a way of engaging with life, as a lifestyle, then the gifts are much greater than the physical benefits. However, when it comes to the extreme changes a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy and childbirth, that aspect, ‘the physical’ cannot be understated.
1. The Power of the Breath:
A large component of my prenatal yoga classes is the breath. Noticing how the breath is naturally moving inside the body is a huge clue to how we are feeling internally. If you are stressed or rushed, your breath will be fast and short. When you get frightened you may hold your breath completely. But during periods of calm, the breath moves slowly, deeply, fully.
The breath clues us in, and by changing our breathing pattern our state of mind and physical sensations are also altered. For example, when a contraction is painful you may try to hold back. You may feel frightened and literally hold your breath. A woman with a foundation of yoga will observe her body doing this and then through reminders of their own or of a labor companion she'll remember to deepen the breath. These deep breaths will relax her body, helping her feel calm through any turn the birth journey may take. A focused breath tunes your mind to this inhale, this exhale, leaving anxiety behind.
In yoga you really get to know your breath. As a teacher, I emphasize feeling how the breath moves in different positions, so that women notice the difference in their breathing from sitting down quietly, to moving through dynamic poses. The idea is to create an equanimity in the breath no matter what is happening externally. Women find it much easier to tap into a deep, calming breath when it has been practiced regularly prior to birth.
2. Moving for Comfort:
Prenatal Yoga shows a mother how to create comfort within her body. Many women that I teach complain of back pain, sluggish digestion or uncomfortable sleep prior to class. These same mothers report major relief from back pain, smoother digestion and improved sleep the night after class. This is a HUGE testament to how simple yoga postures create ease and comfort in the body.
This idea of ‘moving for comfort’ easily transfers to birth itself. Gently swaying the hips or rocking on hands and knees in labor can dramatically reduce pressure on the hips and low back. With almost every contraction of my own labour I got into an all fours position and swayed my hips back and forth. This was just as vital in easing pain as was my labour companion's hands on my back. Moving in early labour helps encourage contractions to pick up. If able, these movements can be used right up until birth to help baby find an ideal position, additionally good positioning of baby also can reduce pain in birth.
When a mother knows how to find a comfortable position for their body day to day and in labour they are able to relax and open easily. In prenatal yoga classes students learn a variety of positions that can be used in birth to create ease.
3. Setting Intention:
Intention is a cornerstone of yoga that differentiates it from other forms of exercise. I have found intention to be vital for creating a positive attitude. As one of my mentors says, “Intention creates a pathway for consciousness to flow”. Setting an intention is as simple as asking yourself “What do I really want from this experience?”. I encourage Mamas to practice this throughout pregnancy, or even prior to conception if you are preparing to conceive. This is an incredible way to tune in with your womb or spirit baby and ASK THEM what they want. Daily intentions provide a solid place for pregnant Mamas to turn back to when they feel confused or stressed. In my life I have found that when things don't work out as I wanted, many times I did not have a clear intention for the experience.
One mother shared this with me: “My intention was to open, and I visualized baby moving down and out throughout the last weeks of my pregnancy. I had a fast and relatively short labor for a first time mom and I know it was because of my clear intentions”.
4. Opening the Pathway:
Regular prenatal yoga practice literally prepares your body for birth. With carefully selected asanas, the pelvic floor is widened, strengthened, and a keen awareness of how to open the birth canal is gained. There is a delicate balance in prenatal yoga of muscle strength, and organically opening. We expand the space in the body. With these fine-tuned asanas the birth canal and whole body is made ready for birth. The style of yoga I teach also emphasizes opening the heart, because no matter how a Mother births, her heart will be opened in ways unimaginable before.
For me, this is the biggest kicker. Through yoga, you get to know your body, your emotions, your intentions, and your limits. You listen to your breath and trust that with each inhale, an exhale will be offered. You learn to listen to your instincts and trust them. Through making intentions and trusting our bodies, we open ourselves to the birth experience. This is the biggest, bravest journey of our lives as women. No matter how we give birth. There is no way through birth, but through it. It takes great trust to endeavor in pregnancy, birth and motherhood. Trust is a practice we engage in every time we come on to our mats."
-Lis McCachren Mitchell of Heart Centered Mamas
Lis completed her Yoga Teacher Training at the Neighborhood Yoga in 2008, considering it one of the best choices of her life. She has completed over 1,000 continuing education hours, all over North Carolina and around the globe. Her training includes optimal alignment, pre and postnatal practices, philosophy, and ways to bring the ancient practice of yoga into modern everyday life.
Learn more about our yoga services for Boone, NC and surrounding areas HERE.