Is “Prenatal Yoga” the same as “Gentle Yoga”?

I created Ma Yoga® for Pregnancy, Motherhood & Beyond because I believe passionately that prenatal yoga is NOT the same as gentle yoga.

Women need inner and outer strength when they’re pregnant maybe more than any other time of their lives.

Not only are pregnant mamas carrying around a bowling ball in their belly, but there’s an added weakness.

Pregnancy hormones like relaxin and progesterone are meant to destabilize the joints of our pelvis, so the bones can separate and baby’s head can fit out.

This is a good thing, of course.

Problem is, pregnancy hormones also destabilize every joint of the body: wrists, sacrum, neck and shoulders, ankles, knees, even the spine – all become more lax and “loosey-goosey.”

Add to this instability a bunch of extra weight, and small misalignments often turn into discomfort and pain.

Gentle yoga often involves passively stretching. However, when we passively stretch, our joints tend to become even weaker. When we activate a muscle, we can actually stretch the muscle instead of loosening joints.

If you are interested in discovering more about practices and principles for relieving aches and pains not just for pregnancy but for all people, join us for our online therapeutic yoga teacher training.

Or, if you’re pregnant and you want to stay strong and relieve aches and pains, join us for a free online prenatal class, you’ll be guided through strengthening as well as lengthening your muscles.

Physically, you’ll move muscles and bones in the direction they want to be – kind of like physical therapy, but using your breath, your strength and your awareness to find space.

Energetically, when we draw our muscles inward, your nervous system can relax. Kind of like a baby being swaddled, or a loving hug. You can let go inside, making more space for breath and baby – and to enjoy this exciting time.

In our online birth class, you’ll learn how to use your strength to make space for baby to move into optimal position; and practice breathing into your contractions so you can make the most of each one. And you’ll explore how to access your deep core to push baby out.

In online prenatal yoga, you’ll learn how to use strength to create stability in the knee, ankle, wrist, shoulders, neck and spine. These mini actions can help not just pregnant women but anyone out of pain in regular poses – from Chatturanga to Pidgeon – as well as throughout the day, in “Texting Pose,” “Driving Pose” and more.

Try using strength to support healing for these common aches and pains:

· Hip and pelvic pain: Have your students do Cat/Cow and Downward Facing Dog with a block between their thighs. The hugging in of the thighs will help stabilize the hips and return the low back to its natural curves.

· Upper back pain: Inhale and expand your whole heart center, including the back. Exhale and gently hug the bottom tips of your shoulder blades toward each other, on top of that fullness. This supports wrists too and is therapeutic for carpal tunnel.

· Knee pain: Kick off your shoes once an hour, flex your feet and spread your pinky toe toward your outer heel. This engages the Perronial group of muscles that runs up the outer shin and hugs in, stabilizing the outer knee.

And of course, strength is not just physical. Where does inner strength come from?

You guessed it.

Your strength is always there in your center, waiting for you to connect to it.

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