Why flexibility matters in pregnancy
Why flexibility matters in pregnancy
Flexibility is the capacity to bend without breaking, think about a tree swaying in the wind, especially those trees that sit on top of windy slopes. In life we need to maintain a flexible attitude and a willingness to change in order to accommodate new circumstances. People with flexible minds are open to changing course when necessary, they are not overly attached to things going exactly the way they had planned. They trust that all will work out fine even if they take a different road. This allows them to see and take advantage of opportunities that come their way. It also makes life more interesting as we allow for situations we hadn’t planned to unfold, then the world continues to surprise and delight us.
In pregnancy, birth and parenting this becomes even more important. Just going through these experiences and life phases will probably make you more flexible. Ask any parent and they will tell you there is no doubt that babies and children teach us how to adapt and be flexible. If you don’t adopt a flexible attitude by the time your first child is three you definitely will bend a little by the time they are seven. If you have a second or third child and you make it to their teen years without a breakdown you have definitely developed some of your flexible parenting muscles. My third child challenged me the most. Her sun sign in western astrology is Taurus and she was born in the Chinese Year of the Ox which makes her a bull in Chinese Astrology too. She’s a double bull… you know what they say about bulls; stubborn as be-damned! I can testify that it’s true. I always say ‘thank goodness she was my third child and not my first as I had lots of practice before she came along’.
When it comes to pregnancy and birth, flexibility is key to having the most enjoyable and healthy experience. While having a birth plan is important, being flexible and open to all possibilities is also important. That is why attending a pregnancy yoga class is one of the best things you can do during pregnancy.
When we practice yoga, we become more flexible, not only in body but also in mind and therefore in attitude. That’s why people who practice yoga all their lives are generally happier, healthier and more content. Not only because of how they stretch and tone their bodies doing yoga postures but also because of the other yoga techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, visualisation and breathing practices. All of these components of yoga contribute to our general health and happiness.
There is no better time to develop our flexibility than in pregnancy. We are primed for it at this time. However it’s important to attend a specialised pregnancy class rather than a general yoga class as a pregnancy yoga instructor will be expert on all the changes the woman goes through, physically, mentally and emotionally and can facilitate that change in the best possible way.
Attending a pregnancy yoga class will help your body by stretching physically all those muscles and parts you never even knew were tight. It also allows your baby to stretch out as you will make more room for then. We also exercise our minds with pregnancy meditation, mindfulness, and visualisation techniques. We can do this during a yoga class under the guidance of the teacher, we can also do our own mindfulness and visualisation practices in our daily lives. Perhaps taking a different route home from work occasionally or taking the bus if we normally take the train. Perhaps we might get really creative by rearranging the furniture in our home or redecorating a room. We could simply stretch our imagination by visualising different ways of putting the furniture or different colour schemes for redecorating. Even if we never carry out the move it stretches the mind and creates new pathways in the brain. Most importantly it gives us confidence knowing there are so many possibilities and it loosens the bonds of fear.
We cannot predict exactly how our pregnancy or birth will unfold but we can educate ourselves about birth and new parenthood so that we are prepared and can adjust and make good decisions along the way. We can learn how to stretch and become more flexible so we have confidence in our ability to adapt and to trust that no matter what happens everything will work out fine.