Prenatal Yoga Teacher Magdalena Patterson Shares Her Pregnancy Experience
I have practiced yoga for the last 15 years, but it wasn’t until I did prenatal yoga that I truly experienced what felt like the “real yoga.” I didn’t need a yoga mat or a set time and place to “do yoga.” I found myself in a constant state of total bliss and continually felt present in every moment. I was very connected to my breath and felt completely in-tune with my body. As a yoga teacher, this was a powerful awakening for me.
Prenatal Yoga Is Very Intuitive
Practicing yoga during pregnancy was hard at first. I was scared of what poses might hurt the baby due to all the conflicting advice out there and I got frustrated with not being able to do some of my favorite poses. I love inversions but they made me nauseous and did not feel good. Then a lightbulb went off. I intuitively started to relax into the poses in a way that felt good for my body. I stopped focusing on what my poses looked like or what I could or couldn’t do.
I studied prenatal yoga and found out that the intuition of pregnant women becomes very strong and their bodies will let them know where to go and where not to go. Meditating became second nature and I felt most connected and intuitive when I put my hands on my belly to feel the baby. I had never felt more present. Yoga and pregnancy melted together into a profound yogic experience, and I realized the powerful connection between my practice and my ability to relax and stay calm throughout pregnancy, labor and birth.
Women in Prenatal Yoga Are Amazing Yogis
Prenatal yoga is my favorite class to teach. It is so close to my heart, and seeing mommies-to-be relax, meditate and feel good after class is the best gift I can get as a teacher. I feel so blessed to teach prenatal yoga because pregnant women, even if they have never practiced yoga before, are the best yogis ever! They just get it. They are in the present moment. Being pregnant is a daily yoga practice in itself. It is very natural for women to pause and pay attention to their breath, to be in-tune with their bodies, to feel their baby kick. In prenatal yoga, we nurture this process, and we help pregnant women to listen and trust their body, relax, and enjoy their pregnancy.
Prenatal Yoga Creates a Deep State of Relaxation
It is incredible to see so many pregnant women reach such a deep state of relaxation. Especially considering the constant stress that expectant mothers can be under. They hear different opinions from everyone they meet, not to mention all the unsolicited advice they receive on a daily basis.
We live in a beautiful time to be an expectant mother and have a lot of options when it comes to birth. Some women choose to have a home water birth while others have a planned C section. In prenatal classes we create a community where women feel comfortable discussing their birth plans without judgement. It has been wonderful to see women learn more about their delivery options. Whatever you choose, be calm, relaxed and don’t stress about it. Don’t try to fulfill someone else’s agenda.
Prenatal Yoga Creates Happy Hormones in the Womb
While studying for my prenatal yoga certification, I was intrigued by the research on fetal brain development. In addition to good nutrition, what also plays a huge part is the hormones that mom’s brain secretes during pregnancy. Neuroscience and yoga both agree on the importance of staying calm and relaxed during pregnancy. If any nutrients are missing from a woman’s diet, the body is capable of creating them or borrowing them from somewhere else in the body. Emotionally our body cannot compensate and create happiness and contentment when the mother is anxious and stressed out.
The baby in the womb receives the same hormones that mom’s brain releases. If the pregnant mom is relaxed and happy, the baby bathes in happy hormones. If the mommy-to-be is constantly stressed out and in the “fight or flight” state, the baby experiences those feelings too. Most importantly, the baby’s brain is growing and developing every day, so our mission in prenatal yoga is to create and nurture the most loving and calm environment for that development. What better way for a mommy-to-be to stay calm and relaxed than regular yoga practice!
Looking back, I know there’s no better way to prepare for labor and birth then to practice yoga. I love hearing my students’ birth stories when we connect in Mommy & Me yoga after. My birth was much like a crazy long yoga class. It was very intense, but my breath and movement took me through it. I went through many different labor positions that all look like yoga. Malasana (squat), cat & cow, and puppy pose to name a few. Some of them I held for hours, but I didn’t know because I withdrew my senses and lost all concept of time. All I remember is that I kept breathing. I have never been more present in the moment or have experienced a stronger sense of yoga. Twenty two hours later I had my beautiful baby. Mother and baby going through this journey as one is the perfect definition of the yogic concept “unity” or “yoking”.
From that magical moment, I knew I had to keep sharing the gift of yoga to other mommies-to-be.
I teach prenatal yoga every Friday 10:45 am-11:45 am at Buddhi Yoga La Jolla.