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(Schwangerschaftyoga und Atmung ) During pregnancy, breathing tends to shorten. The abdominal cavity is an enclosed pressure chamber. Bad posture, fatigue, pain, discomfort or lack of awareness of pregnancy increase the pressure. The diaphragm is the ceiling of the chamber. On average, by the end of pregnancy, the diaphragm has widened 2 cm, and at the top, because it is dome-shaped, not flat, by up to 4 cm. Changes occur in the body so that an expectant mother can breathe easier, but even so, many women get short of breath or their breathing becomes shallow. When pregnant, a woman needs oxygen for two; for herself and for the baby growing inside her, so she needs to have a practice of deeper breathing.

Breathing exercises during pregnancy should be adapted to each individual according to capacity and experience of Pranayama before pregnancy. Pranayama is very important for pregnant women since it also affects the baby. One must have an experienced teacher to teach Pranayama before or during the Pregnancy.

Good breathing and relaxation help reduce blood pressure, release analgesic endorphins and improve blood flow in the body. Deep exhalation reduces pressure from the stomach and all the organs below the diaphragm. Concentrating on breathing (Schwangerschaftsyoga) helps to calm the mind and focus the awareness inwards as we find the centre.

For example, Kumbhaka, pausing and holding the breath, does not endanger the fetus, but can become an effort and a discomfort for those who did not practice Pranayama before pregnancy. For beginners, learning to pause the breath is too challenging during pregnancy, though for advanced practitioners it can be relaxing. A pregnant woman`s awareness is concentrated on the front of her body, so she has to learn to draw her awareness back and how to breathe into her back and the posterior ribs. With the fetus located at the front, everything that happens in the back will be easier and more spacious, distinct and grounded. Women who did not practice Pranayama before (Schwangerschaftsyoga) pregnancy should try one type of breathing for a while, and only then add more exercises.

For example:

  1. Focusing on Smelling as we breathe – a flower, a baby, any association or image that works for the practitioner.
  2. Yogic breathing, Analoma Viloma, or fetal breathing – control, clarity of mind, peacefulness.
  3. Soft Ujjayi – concentration and focusing awareness help the body sit upright, grounding, lowering or raising blood pressure.
  4. Nadi Shodhana, with or without hands – balancing and relaxing
  5. Sound – S, F, SH, Aa, Oh, Oh, M, Brahmari (bumblebee breathing) – extending the outbreathe, relaxing.

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