Prenatal yoga: pregnant poses, great expectations

Mon Dec 7, 2009 1:28pm EST
 
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Modern mothers-to-be are turning to the 4,000-year-old practice of yoga to put mind over pregnancy matters as they strengthen their bodies for the road ahead.

"There's a level of comport and presence women cultivate when they're practicing regularly through their pregnancies, so the changes that come are not going to shake them," Elena Brower, a New York City-based yoga instructor said in an interview.

The founder of the Virayoga studio in Manhattan, Brower has worked with celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow and Christie Turlington Burns during their pregnancies. She also has developed the DVD "Element: Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga."

"It's about teaching women how to safely strengthen their abdominals," said Brower, herself the mother of a toddler. "And strengthening is complemented by learning how to stretch, so that you can be as limber as possible when that baby comes."

Yoga can also help women to get to know themselves a little better.

"You have a level of presence that allows you to ride the wave of the contraction/pain into another place. You don't think intellectually about it. You breathe."

A study of 335 pregnant women in Bangalore, India, found that those who practiced yoga experienced shorter labor, less pregnancy-induced hypertension, and higher birth-weight babies than the control group.

More than 11 million Americans are estimated to do some form of yoga. The name derives from the Sanskrit meaning yoke or union, and the practice strives to unite movement and breath.   Continued...

 
<p>Pregnant model Lucy Bivins demonstrates a triangle pose in a segment from the "Element: Prenatal &amp; Postnatal Yoga" video. REUTERS/Anchor Bay Entertainment</p>