As part of our 10th anniversary celebrations, we conducted Facebook live sessions with doctors and other experts to help moms and moms-to-be and to make motherhood more enjoyable. For our fourth session, we invited Ms. Pradipta Sanghvi, who has been a yoga therapist since 1994! She is also a Lay counsellor with Sneha Society since 2004 and presently serves as their chairperson. Ms Pradipta has also been a Craniosacral therapist since 2010 and is practicing Leander Orr's rebirthing breath work with Sadgamaya Foundation. She is also a sports enthusiast and has been active at national levels too!
Yoga is rapidly becoming one of the best ways of achieving fitness during pregnancy and even otherwise and our video will help you understand why! It will also answer the questions you have sent us on yoga! Take a look!
Question 1: I am 5 feet 7 inches. My weight is 79 kgs, post-delivery and before it was 63 kgs. Any yoga tips for weight loss?
Answer: You do have different yoga practices to help you reduce weight. There are several breathing techniques. However, you have to be very particular about your diet since your diet affects your weight directly. I would say 70% diet and 30% exercises should help. Check with your doctor and yoga therapist and start your program.
Question 2: I have a 3 month old baby and I am having waist and back pain problems. How can yoga help?
Answer: Yoga can help you but a lot of things that you do can affect this. For example, while breastfeeding you should have proper support. Stooping can also cause back pain. There are exercises and asanas that can help you. So see a yoga therapist because yoga can really help with back strengthening. And it is safe for both normal and C-section deliveries.
Question 3: Is yoga safe during pregnancy?
Answer: Yoga is a natural process and as normal as eating, drinking water etc. Yoga is not just about yogasanas and there is a whole lot of mind, body and breath work in it. You have pranayama, deep relaxation, meditation, deep breathing etc. which can help you go through your pregnancy very cool and calmly. And you should continue post pregnancy.
Question 4: Can I start yoga during pregnancy even if I haven’t done it before?
Answer: Go for it! It is safe and it depends on which trimester you’re in. You have to be careful about which postures you are doing. The therapist can guide you through it.
Question 5: Does yoga help make natural birth easier?
Answer: Most people are psyched about the labour process of birth. So much of information and many videos etc. make the young mothers tensed about the process. However, the world wouldn’t be populated if it was so painful. There is pain but you can work towards stretching hips, pelvic floor muscles doing yogasanas etc. We also teach you how to breathe properly and relieve stress through meditation and relaxation. More importantly, yoga will enhance your body awareness.
Question 6: What are some specific postures that one must start before planning a baby?
Answer: There are some asanas you can do but I would not just stick to asanas. Regular workout, relaxation and breathing – everything is needed. It’s like the growth of a seed to a tree. The season is the time of conception, age and frame of mind. Asking yourself if you are ready for it fully is the first step. The seed is the ovum and sperm and the soil is your uterus. Your diet and lifestyle are going to be the water and the nutrients. So you have to nurture all this and have a good bond with baby and share that bond with your husband as well, starting from the time of pregnancy.
Question 7: How soon can I start yoga post birth?
Answer: For any kind of exercise, you should give it 6 weeks post-delivery to start. In case of C-section, you should give it 3 months’ time before you start. Also, check with your doctor before starting your exercises. However, it doesn’t mean that you should be on bed rest. You should do regular things like carrying your baby, bathing your baby etc. There’s nothing you cannot do when it comes to house work but it is important to respect your body. If you feel tired, take rest.
Question 8: Can yoga help calm me and soothe anxiety about birth?
Answer: You’re bombarded with so much information that you’re already scared. But I would suggest listen to elders who have given birth and get support from the family. Don’t get psyched up about the birth process. Breathing exercises like pranayama, anulom vilom etc. can help you calm down. Throat breathing can give you a lot of power and courage. Fast breathing is a strict no. It’s better to consult a pre-natal yoga clinic if you’re a beginner.
Question 9: Till what day can I continue yoga safely before the due date?
Answer: Till the due date!
Question 10: Are floor yoga positions good during pregnancy?
Answer: It depends on which trimester you’re in. In the first trimester, you have to be extra careful as the fetus is just settling in the uterus. But in the second trimester or the 4th – 6th or 7th month; you can safely do most exercises. However, you should use props; with the baby bump growing, you will need lot of support for your back, legs etc. Be careful and consult an expert. Props would include cushions etc. Always check with your doctor and therapist before you go ahead with it as it also depends on individual mother’s medical condition.
Question 11: Do I need to follow a specific diet if am practicing yoga?
Answer: Balanced and happy diet! Please make sure you chew properly and enjoy the meal. Do not watch television while eating. It’s okay to indulge but stick to a wholesome meal.
Question 12: How does yoga affect my unborn baby’s health?
Answer: Your baby is well-protected in the placenta and amniotic sac and is well-cushioned. What is more important is your comfort. Yoga is not just exercising but the art of living. It is about social and personal conducts which will give you a lot of internal and social harmony. Your inter-personal relationship etc. also affects your baby so make sure they are okay. And then you can start yoga asanas as they provide a healthy environment for you and your baby. So you can keep a healthy birth weight and be relaxed and just prepare for the D-Day. A calm mom means a calm baby.
Question 13: What are some precautions for pregnancy yoga?
Answer: When you are doing yoga, you should not hold your breath. Also no rapid breathing and avoid back-bends. When the bump grows, there is a lot of strain on the back and back bends can aggravate it. If you want to do back-bends, it should be supported with cushions. And always listen to your body and if you feel uncomfortable, then you shouldn’t continue with the asanas.
Question 14: What are some yoga positions that can be done with baby to keep baby occupied?
Answer: The baby is happy in her own world. Just keep doing your asanas!
Question 15: Should my water intake increase if am practicing yoga during pregnancy?
Answer: Water intake is usually standard – 1.5-2 liters. Also there are foods you have which have water content – juices, fruits etc. But if you feel dehydrated, you can increase the intake.
Question 16: What are some signs that my pregnant body is not taking yoga well?
Answer: You will feel the strain, you won’t breathe right and your mind would be agitated. These are the signs that your body is not taking it well. However, proper yoga shouldn’t impact you negatively and you should consult an expert to correct your postures and breathing.
Question 17: Is a little discomfort during postures natural after pregnancy?
Answer: Your body goes through so much trauma that it’s natural for some changes to occur. However you can wait for the appropriate time to start working on your strengthening exercises. However, take things slow. However, there are some changes especially in the breasts which have to be accepted.
Question 18: Does yoga help in morning sickness?
Answer: There was technique suggested by somebody but it should be practiced under supervision. It says that you can induce your vomiting in the morning so that you’re free for the rest of the day. But a lot of things have to be monitored like your blood pressure etc. But more importantly it is about relaxing and accepting it. Everyone has a different trick that has helped them. Deep slow breathing will help and acceptance is half the battle won.
Question 19: Do yoga and meditation go hand in hand during pregnancy? Is it necessary to practice one with the other?
Answer: Yoga is meditation.
Question 20: I have heard yoga helps reduce acid reflux during pregnancy. Is it true?
Answer: Acid reflux is part of pregnancy. As the bump grows, there is pressure on your oesphpagus which causes this. If you can bear with it, it’s fine. Else you can check on your diet and add some harmless medicines that can resolve it. However, if you can stretch a little backwards to open up space for the baby, it can help. Smaller meals through the day can also help. Lateral positions also help to tackle acidity.
Question 21: What are some yoga postures I can practice while sitting at my desk since I have a desk job?
Answer: You can keep moving your body even when you’re working. You can do simple twists to sides or work your shoulders up and down, move your neck etc. You can also do some standing postures with the support of the chair. And keep walking and take a walk every 30 minutes. You can also do squats and lunges in your work space.
Question 22: My baby is 3 years of age and am yet to lose the baby fat. Am also expecting now so am afraid I will completely out of shape. Would yoga help?
Answer: Right now your priority would be a healthy lifestyle and having a healthy baby. Everyone puts on weight during pregnancy and you should focus on weight reduction after the delivery. Later, diet and exercise can help in weight reduction.
Question 23: Does yoga affect breastfeeding?
Answer: When you are relaxed and calm, the milk production also increases. During breastfeeding, you have to be calm because you’re passing the same emotions to your child.
Question 24: Does practicing yoga before planning baby make conceiving easier?
Answer: You are making the environment, i.e. your body more fertile and healthy for the baby.
Question 25: I am getting a lot of skin problems like acne and rashes and it’s my first trimester. Would yoga help?
Answer: Skin quality will always change during pregnancy due to all the hormonal changes in your body. You can always consult a dermatologist but do check the labels before using any product.
Question 26: How can I reduce belly fat after delivery?
Answer: Belly fat can be reduced by doing a lot of core strengthening exercises. You can do nauka asan, plank poses. That small belly down there is always going to be a memory of your child. It is very difficult to get rid of that small bit of fat right at the bottom. Be proud of it. You’re a mom!
Question 27: Do yoga postures differ for each trimester?
Answer: The postures may be same but they can be modified to suit your growing belly. Pregnancy is a personal experience and differs for each person and hence the postures can be modified to suit each person differently.
Question 28: I’m expecting twins so I have to be a little more cautious than others. Is yoga advisable?
Answer: Yoga is advisable but just check with your doctor once before starting to make sure there are no complications. Just be calm and eat for yourself! And be very gentle with the postures.
Question 29: If I can’t work out in the morning due to morning sickness, can I still do it in the evening?
Answer: It’s okay to exercise during any time of the day. Just ensure that these light exercises are after 4-5 hours of a heavy meal. Never do yoga on a full stomach.
Question 30: Can I do yoga indoors? Or is it necessary to step out?
Answer: You can do it indoors provided that the environment is calm and doesn’t disturb you. The total time is your time and you should be mentally at peace.
Question 31: How much time gap should be there between eating and doing yoga?
Answer: 4-5 hours for a heavy meal and 2.5 hours for a light meal. And if you’re consuming liquids, consume it 30-60 minutes before exercise. After yoga, you can wait 10-15 minutes before eating or drinking anything.
Question 32: Is drinking water in the midst of yoga harmful?
Answer: I am personally not in favour of drinking water in the midst of a session. During a session, you’re preparing your body and putting it in a rhythm and taking a break and consuming water just takes away the effects. So drink half and before or 15-20 mins after your session. It’s a calming and soothing session and if you’re doing it right, you won’t feel so thirsty provided you are hydrated before the session.
Question 33: Can women practice Suryanamaskar during pregnancy to stay fit?
Answer: You can modify it to suit your body when you’re expecting but it is not advisable to start it when you know you’re pregnant. Also, avoid it in the first trimester. However, don’t lie on your stomach and don’t arch backwards.
Question 34: Can I do yoga after a C-section to reduce weight?
Answer: Yes, you can. You need 6 months’ time after the C-section to start yoga but check with your doctor before starting.
We hope you found the video helpful and that it answered all your queries! Now that you have all the answers, why not embark on a healthy pregnancy and happy motherhood with yoga?