Why Yoga Makes Mums Happy

Yoga is a fantastic way to relax, tone the body and allow women to stay in shape. In addition, yoga offers an added benefit for women – balancing your hormones! An Indian study found that yoga can help relieve women of hot flushes during menopause, as well as lessening anxiety, depression and mood fluctuations. This all comes down to one magical hormone know as oxytocin. As you stretch your limbs and practice deep breathing your body warms and releases oxytocin which in turn brings a smile to your face.

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By taking the body through the practice of yoga asana, you are warming the muscles and joints, making the body more comfortable and relaxed. By continuing the practice with savasana (deep relaxation) and meditation, the production of oxytocin is encouraged further.

Pregnancy and motherhood can bring a lot of physical, emotional and environmental changes that can be difficult to adapt to. Taking some time each week to just BREATHE during yoga class and focus on the breath alone and not worrying about anything else, can allow oxytocin to be released and deepen that relaxation.

It’s important to warm the body before undertaking the physical practice of yoga so as not to damage any joints and to ease the body gently into different postures. This is especially important for pregnant and post natal women, whose bodies have undergone physical stress and growth over a period of time. During the practice of asana (different postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques), the body generates heat and warms the body inside and out. Extra bonus? When we’re warm and relaxed, the body releases more oxytocin.

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Chilling in savasana

At the end of class, don’t just jump up and run out. Savasana is your reward for all of your hard effort you put in earlier. Learn to enjoy the relaxation, be aware of any random thoughts that go through your mind, and let them go. Acknowledge these meaningless thoughts and really take time for yourself. Focus on the breath. That’s all you need to do. And enjoy the feeling of the copious amount of oxytocin rushing through your body.

Antenatal and Postnatal Depression

Yoga helps to balance hormones and stabilizes the endocrine system. By practicing yogic relaxation techniques, we can balance cortical activities and the nervous and endocrine systems, reducing the body`s reaction to stress. As a result, the body produces less adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol (all stress hormones), and the mother feels much more balanced and stress free.

In a study of 65 women with depression and anxiety, the 34 women who took a yoga class twice a week for two months showed a significant decrease in symptoms, compared to the 31 women who were not in the class.

During birth oxytocin provides pain-relieving endorphins and an altered state of consciousness and the same is true during yoga.

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