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Prenatal yoga: healthy bodies and minds for mums-to-be

15 APRIL 2010

Many people take up yoga for its ability to help create balance and unity between the mind and body. But the practice also provides many physical benefits, which is why so many soon-to-be mums who want an active and healthy pregnancy are buzzing about yoga.

Exercise in general should be one of the most important parts of an expectant mother's routine, unless otherwise advised by a doctor. Physical activity during pregnancy helps control weight gain, while yoga specifically aims to improve the flexibility of your joints, increase circulation, and help you find your centre of balance.

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Furthermore, the practice, which combines deep breathing with muscular stretching exercises, is highly recommended for anyone dealing with a traumatic or stressful time, which can be the case in labour and the first months of motherhood.

The ancient relaxation techniques, which originated thousands of years ago in India, control the activity of the lungs and diaphragm while avoiding the contraction of the muscles, making yoga the perfect outlet for tension release and mind relaxation.

Pregnant women do, however, have to take precautions, especially with complicated positions. To stay safe and make the most of this soothing practice throughout your pregnancy, follow these simple suggestions: avoid abrupt movements, don't remain on your stomach for long (after the first trimester), take special care when balancing and drink a lot of water to stay hydrated.

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