Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Yoga for Pregnancy by Doriel Hall

In my fourth month of pregnancy, I came across this book, which advocated the principles of gentle yoga i.e.:
“the safe and gentle way to prepare your body and mind for birth, in step-by-step sequences caught my attention".
Practising yoga since 2002, I was happy to see that yoga applies during pregnancy too and while I miss my yoga instructor, I found this manual a good companion. "Yoga for Pregnancy: The Safe and Gentle Way to Prepare your Body and Mind for Birth" has a sound introduction to yoga (its basic concepts, breathing methods, practice and benefits) clearly illustrated in step-by-step sequence.

There are also colour drawings of the human anatomy to further explain the position of the baby in the womb and how our posture and movements affect him. Each section concludes with a box of frequently asked questions.

The next section focuses on a Healthy Conception. As with ethical yoga practices, the book does not prescribe ‘miracles’ and is careful to stress that yoga will help you to reduce your stress levels and balance all systems. This, in turn, benefits your body and helps achieve the optimum conditions to have a baby.

The following sections are dedicated to each trimester of a pregnancy, each with suitable poses and stretches for each week. The clear instructions and accompanying photos helped me to follow the various exercises suggested and thoroughly enjoyed the stretching and relaxation poses.

I also found the section on Changing Positions in Pregnancy really useful for women in the second trimester onwards. With a growing belly and lax joints, photographs are used to show how you can safely and gently:
  • stand up from a sitting position;
  • roll out of bed and
  • stand up from a lying down position.
The lead author, Doriel Hall, is a yogi trained in India and is keen to share the physical and mental benefits of yoga without favouring any particular stream of yoga. One of the strengths I find in this book is the stress she places on being careful not to overstretch yourself and to ensure correct posture at all times.

As a long-term yoga practitioner, I am familiar with the breathing and proper posture required for the best of yoga. I will recommend this book to readers who are familiar and who have attended a proper yoga class.

For the complete beginner (especially a pregnant one), it is really best that you attend a class with a trained and certified instructor experienced with such advanced postures.
Buy the book or check out some DVDs:

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