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5 Benefits of Partner Yoga

atlas studioPartner yoga is an excellent opportunity for us to play, relax, and deepen the experience of love, while receiving all the benefits of yoga. The practice supports us to unplug from the stress of everyday life and nourish each other in both simple and profound ways. It opens up a whole new way of relating that is beneficial for all the different aspects of our being.

Here are five benefits of practicing partner yoga.

Partner Yoga connects and relaxes us. Partner yoga cuts through our habitual ways of relating and brings us more easily and directly into the heart. The touch and physical connection have an immediate relaxing effect that calms the mind and nervous system. We thrive on physical contact.

It supports our yoga practice. It is a wonderful entry into yoga for those who have little or no yoga experience & possibly believe themselves to be inflexible. Our partner’s presence provides the comfort and safety to stay present in areas of physical or emotional discomfort and supports us to move into places that are difficult to access on our own. For more experienced practitioners, the practice can deepens both our postures and our understanding of the healing power of yoga.

It creates more authenticity and honesty. The connection with our partner easily and naturally goes deeper because we are communicating directly, beyond words and stories, through our touch and presence. We learn that we don’t have to sacrifice our needs in order to be in relationship. Instead, we explore our own alignment and presence as the foundation to support our partner. In this way, the practice can cut through projections and misunderstandings and provide an opportunity to be transparent, honest, and vulnerable with each other. As one student recently shared, “Doing partner yoga helps us come close and back to love after an upset or disconnect. It’s a safe space to re-enter into intimacy.” Not only for romantic partners but for parents and children, for friends and siblings.

It allows us to see who & how we are in relationship. Simply sitting back to back, feeling a partner’s breath and warmth, we become mirrors for each other and feel how the quality of our presence impacts the other. We can feel if we are showing up as a willing, openhearted partner or open up to the opportunity of observing our resistance and/or assumptions about self or other.

It deepens our capacity for intimacy. Partner Yoga is a wonderful tool for us to enhance intimacy, going beyond the personality to recognize the soul attributes of those we are in relationship with. It can also be a magical way to get to know someone new in our lives!

(adapted from Elizabeth Williamson’s notes on the same subject, the edits and expansions are mine)



Reiki level 1

 First Degree Attunement with…. Elizabeth Perezwith
Elizabeth Perez


Heal self, family & friends

Sept 17, 2016                                Stimulate Personal & Spiritual Growth

Saturday 12-6pm                                    Learn the ancient Japanese

tuition: 199.00                                   Sacred Healing Art of Reiki

Members pay only 149.00

Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by touch and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy. This is a holistic way of healing every one and everything around us.

register by email: or     text 519.240.9642              

Soul Dive

309260Soul Dive with Maya Polywjanyj
February 10, 24, March 10, 24, April 7, 21, 2017
Friday’s alternate weeks 8:30-10pm
Donation: 20.00 (at the door)

SOUL DIVE is based on 5 Rhythms, the work of Gabrielle Roth, the ancient art of Ecstatic Dance.  This is a spontaneous movement class designed to explore body movement. It is aimed at helping you tune in to your own patterns of movement and expand your range of personal expression. Benefits include, physical activation, stress release, body loosening, emotional purging in a safe and respectful environment, and mindfulness practice. SOUL DIVE offers a vehicle in which to listen to your body and connect to your deeper self. Come join us.

Suited for ALL levels of fitness, no dance experience nor ability required.

Wear comfortable clothes, bring water and towel.

register by email: or     text 519.240.9642              

18 Ainslie Street South, Unit B Cambridge, On
(beside Monigrams Coffee Roasterie)

Soul Dive Goddess

Facilitator:   Maya started dancing on and around furniture from a young age and she naturally took to the world of physical movement.  In her late teens and early twenties, dance floors became open space to express.  Maya was exposed to Ecstatic Dance and the work of Osho in the 1990’s.  While living in Korea, she would plug in her cassette player and dance around the cultural temple, late into the evening, when the city was falling asleep.  Some 13 years ago she discovered Contact Dance, a music-less form of dance exploration with partners.  For the past 4 years Maya has been part of the Toronto 5 Rhythms scene.  She has cultivated her own movement practice with weekend intensives taught by a variety of teachers including  Kathy Altman, Adam Barley, Evangelos Diavolitsis, and others.  Last year she partook in a 5 and 7 day dance intensive with Open Floor teachers in the USA.  In June 2016, a profound Tango lesson while in Argentina opened her understanding of relationship movement further. The practice continues..



The Benefits Of Yoga For Basketball

The Benefits Of Yoga For Basketball

by: Nick Lau

This research article looks to answer the questions about yoga, and the benefits it provides to basketball players.  Whether its injury prevention or more dynamic plays based on flexibility, this article will look for the answer.  The article will use perspectives of current players such as LeBron James, Blake Griffin, and Kevin Love, as well as former stars, such as Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and Shaquille O’Neal, and their experience of yoga and why they participated in the art for most, if not their entire career.

LeBron James doing yoga

Throughout my life I’ve always been the tallest, whether it was hockey, volleyball, soccer, and even basketball, not one person has come close to my height.  However, even though people always said, “how cool it would be to be your size,” no one realized that at some points, its actually very hard to do the activities you love, at the height of six foot seven.  Challenges arise from every corner in athletics, especially in basketball, at this height.  Major difficulties that I have encountered myself are: flexibility, balance, and basic muscle injuries.  Basketball players have always wondered if there is something “we as a whole” can do to keep our bodies in the best shape possible, to perform at elite levels, and that answer was yoga.

LeBron practicing yoga

When dealing with basketball players, it is very noticeable to see the lack of flexibility in everyone, but especially post players.  Kevin Love and Blake Griffin use yoga to gain range in their lower body.  This allows them to extend and reach more with their legs during a spin move, or a drop step.  The goal of these moves is to gain separation from your defender, and with the help of yoga, both of these players gain maximum range in their legs to wrap around their defenders and, in turn, become more explosive off the block by getting lower; this leads to scoring more easily.

blake griffin yoga

Not only does being more flexible help gain an edge in the post, it also allows these two young superstars’ muscles to be loose and relaxed going into a game.  Blake Griffin states, “For me, flexibility is huge, staying loose and healthy and staying limber — you can tell a difference when your muscles are tight, or when you’re stretched out and completely relaxed.”

In addition, Kevin Love’s instructor Kent Katich reinforces the fact of flexibility helping in the low post, “ poses like airplane give him length on drop steps so he can get by a guy on the court.”  With these two NBA stars promoting yoga and how it has helped with their flexibility, there should be no more questions about the benefits of flexibility in basketball through yoga.  The benefits of flexibility in basketball with the practice of yoga are extraordinary, and these NBA stars have proven it.  However, flexibility is not the only benefit that comes with the practice of yoga.  Balance is a key aspect also in basketball.

Balance in basketball is very different from any other sport.  In hockey, balance is being able to have a low center of gravity and stay strong on one skate.  In volleyball, its staying low and being ready for an attack from the other team.  However, this is not the case with basketball.  In basketball, balance takes on a whole new definition.  Its getting low when playing defense and offense in the low block.  Its having the mindset to not rush anything, taking time to make a move, and thinking about the right decision.  Next to that, balance in basketball is about exhibiting the three C’s; being calm, cool, and collected.

Yoga allows for the practice of a patient mindset.  Yoga involves taking breaths and just relaxing.  This is very helpful, according to Kevin Garnett, who plays most of the game with his back to the basket and needs those couple of breaths to think of what he wants to do next.

kevin garnett yogaKevin, who does Astanga yoga, says: “Yoga helps me calm down and helps me center my energy so I’m balanced instead of going out there and just spreading my energy all over the court.  I’m zeroes in on the game and have my mind set on what I need to do.”  Kevin Garnett is one of the oldest NBA players, and he is also one of the best to ever play the game.  By participating in yoga, Garnett has been able to extend his career int he NBA over the past seventeen years; and throughout those seventeen years, his mindset and his work ethic have been said to be the best of all time.

When Garnett plays, his balance/mindset is very evident, and he attributes it to doing yoga on a daily basis.  Injuries in the sport of basketball are almost as common as stubbing a toe, or cooking dinner.  Because injuries happen so often, players have tried many things to help strengthen and prevent them, and one of the best solutions is yoga.

The most prevalent injury in basketball is a sprained ankle, says Kent Katich, “Basketball players also have a tendency to roll their ankles a lot.  Repetitive spraining of the ankle starts to harden the muscle that surrounds the ankle.”  Yoga allows for the strengthening of the smaller muscles that don’t get used often.  Basketball players tend to wear shoes due to the nature of the sport.

yoga barefootHowever, when doing yoga, shoes and socks come off, which allows for those small muscles to activate around the ankle and become stronger.  According to Katich, taking the shoes off is harder than it looks: “Getting these guys barefoot is an accomplishment, because they start having to work with these smaller muscles they never really deal with, because their ankles are always taped, and they’re wearing shoes.  You’re able to start to identify some of the deficiencies and imbalances that come with overload of certain workouts.”

downward dog yoga man stretch back

This really allows players who jump and exert pressure all the time on their ankles, which is a break in a sense, because the ankle is stronger and will hold up better over a long season of playing, instead of watching from the press box.  Another common injury is in basketball is back problems.  This is because everyone is so tall, and never took the time to strengthen the small muscles in the back, which help with support; players also did not take the time to stretch and let the back become more flexible, which will lead to fewer injuries.

LeBron James says, “I had some lower back problems a few years ago and once I started to do yoga, it has helped them go away for now.  Of course, we can stretch, but stretching only goes so far.”  A great example of the benefit of yoga for injury prevention came in March of 2009 for LeBron James.  This is when he took a very awkward fall on to his neck and shoulder.  To any other player this could have been a devastating injury.  However, LeBron attributes the fact that he was not injured to yoga; due to the awkward positions he is put into when doing yoga, the muscles are strengthened, preventing a major neck injury from happening.  This demonstrates how important yoga can be to preventing not only common injuries, but also fluke ones as well.

With the challenges that arise every day in sport, yoga has led to solutions on how to correct the issues.  By partaking in yoga, it is easy to stretch out muscles and become more flexible.  Calming oneself is a major aspect of yoga, and it indeed helps with basketball, and staying calm under pressure.  The overall importance of yoga is to help prevent injuries, and with all the technical aspects of yoga, it is very easy for basketball players to become more resistant to injuries.  They are able to strengthen muscles that have never been focused on before, especially in their feet.  In saying this, there is no doubt that by participating in yoga, basketball players benefit immensely from it, and by doing so, extend their careers as long as possible.

Works Cited

“The Best Yoga for Athletes” LIVESTRONG.COM N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2012.  Click here to read the article.

“Combine Basketball and Yoga Moves” Men’s Fitness.  N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2012.  Click here to read the article.

McDowell, Dimity.  “Yoga for Basketball.”  Yoga Journal.  N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2012 Click here to read the article.

NBA Players Finding Benefits In Yoga.  IHoops.  N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2012.

Shin, Laura.  Awakened Athlete.  N.p.: n.p., n.d.  Google Books.  Web. 15 Nov. 2012

UCLA Basketball Star: Yoga Makes Me Better.  MindBodyGreen.  N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2012.  Click here to read the article.

Yogic Breathing Exercises for Basketball.  LIVESTRONG.COM.  N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2012.  Click here to read the article.

atlas studio, atlas yoga studio, basketball and yoga, yoga and basketball

Yoga For Children Bibliography | List of Resources



Asencia, Teressa. Playful Family Yoga. Priceton Book Co., 2002

Atkins, Terri, Cowan, Palomares, Schuster. Feelings Are Facts: Helping Children Understand, Manage & Learn from Their Feelings. Innerchoice Pub; ISBN: 1564990109; Teacher edition (February 1993)

Ban Breathnach, Sarah. Simple Abundance: A Day Book of Comfort and Joy. New York: Warner Books, 1996.

Berkus, Rusty. Life is a Gift. Red Rose Press, 1982

Berger, Kathleen and Ross Thompson. The Developing Person Through Childhood and Adolescence, 4th Edition. Worth Publishers, 1980.l

Bersma, Danielle. Yoga Games for Children. Hunter House, 2003

Blakeslee, Thomas R. The Right Brain: A New Understanding of the Unconscious Mind and its Creative Powers. Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1980.

Briggs, Dorothy Corkille. Celebrate Yourself, Making life Work for You. DoubleDay, 1970.

Briggs, Dorothy Corkille. Your Child’s Self-Esteem. Doubleday, 1975.

Brooks, David, et al. The Case for Character Education : The Role of the School in Teaching Values and Virtue. Studio 4 Productions; ISBN: 1882349016; (January 1997)

Budilovsky, Joan and Adamson, Eve. Idiot’s Guide to Yoga, Second Edition. Alpha Books, 2001

Chanchani, Rajiv and Swati. Yoga for Children. UBS Publishers’ Distributors, 1995.

Cohen, Ken et al. Imagine That: A Child’s Guide to Yoga. Integral Yoga Distribution; ISBN: 0932040403

Colletto, Jerry and Sloan, Ed.U, Jack. Yoga Conditioning and Football. Celestial Arts, 1975

Dawson, Paul. Human Body Explorer. DK Books, 2000.

Day, Jennifer. Creative Visualization With Children. Element Books Ltd., 1994.

De Brunhoff, Laurent. Babar’s Yoga for Elephants. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 2002

Dennison, Paul. Brain Gym (Teachers Edition). Edu Kinesthetics; ISBN: 0942143027; Tchrs/Rev edition (June 1994)

Drury, Nevill. Creative Visualization, To Attain Your Goals and Improve your Well- being. Barnes and Noble Books, 2001.

Erikson, Joan M. Wisdom and the Senses. W.W. Norton, 1988. Fezler, William. Creative Imagery. Simon & Schuster, 1989.

Franklin, Eric. Dynamic Alignment Through Imagery. Human Kinetics (T); ISBN: 0873224752; (February 1997)

Fried, Suellen and Paula. Bullies and Victims. M. Evans, Inc., 2000

Gardner, Howard. Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, 1983.

Garth, Maureen. Starbright: Meditations for Children. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1991.

Garth, Maureen. Moonbeam: A Book of Meditations for Children. Harper Collins Juvenile Books; ISBN: 1863711422; (March 1993)

Gold, Taro. Open Your Mind, Open Your Life. Beacon Press, 1999

Gooch, Sandy. If You Love Me, Don’t Feed Me Junk. Reston Publishing Co., 1983.

Goode and Watson. The Mind Fitness Program for Self-Esteem and Excellence. Zephyr Press, 1992.

Gordhamer, Soren. Just Say Om. Adams Media; ISBN: 1-58062-549-5; (2002)

Gordon, F. Noah. Magical Classroom, Creating Effective, Brain-Friendly Environments for the Classroom. Zephyr Press, 1995.

Gregson, Bob. The Incredible Indoor Games Book. David S. Lake Publishers, 1982.

Groves, Dawn. Yoga for Busy People. Barnes and Noble Publishing, 2002

Hannaford, Carla Awakening the Child Heart: Handbook for the Global Parenting. Jamilla Nur; ISBN: 0971664706; (May 2002)

Hannaford, Carla. Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All in Your Head.

Great Ocean Pub; ISBN: 0915556278; (October 1995)

Hendricks, Gay and Wills, Russel. The Centering Book. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice- Hall, 1975.

Hendricks, Gay and Roberts, Thomas B. The Second Centering Book. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1977.

Hendricks, Gay. The Centered Teacher. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1981. Iyengar, B.K.S. Light On Yoga. Schocken Books, NY, 1966.

Jenkins, Peggy, Ph.D. The Joyful Child. Aslan Publishing, 1996.

Jenson, Eric. Learning with Mind and Body.

Kalish, Leah. Yoga Fitness for Kids (ages 3-6 and 7-12) Videos. Gaiam, Int. 2001

Kalish, Leah and Spahn, Diane. Yoga Kit for Kids. Imaginazium, LLC, 1999.

Kessler, Rachael. The Soul of Education, Helping Students find Connection, Compassion and Character at School. Association for Supervision and Curriculum, 2000

Kilpatrick, William K. Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right from Wrong. Touchstone Books; ISBN: 0671870734; Reprint edition (September 1993)

Kilpatrick, William, et al. Books That Build Character: A Guide to Teaching Your Child Moral Values Through Stories. Touchstone Books; ISBN: 0671884239; (November 1994)

Koch, Isabelle. Like a Fish in Water, Yoga for Children. Inner Traditions Int., 1999

Kohn, Alfie. No Contest: The Case Against Competition. Houghton Mifflin, 1986

Komitor, Jodi, Adamson. Complete Idiot’s Guide to Yoga with Kids. Alpha Books; ISBN: 0028639359; 1 edition (July 20, 2000)

Lark, Liz. Flow Motion, Yoga for Children. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2003

Lark, Liz. Yoga For Kids. Firefly Books Ltd., 2003

Lickona, Thomas. Raising Good Children. Bantam Doubleday Dell Pub; ISBN: 055337429X; (October 1994)

Luby, Thia. Children’s Book of Yoga: Games & Exercises Mimic Plants & Animals & Objects. Clear Light Pub; ISBN: 1574160036; (July 1998)

Luby, Thia. Yoga for Teens. Clear Light Publishing, 1999

Madison, Dr. Lynda. The Feelings Book, the Care and Keeping of Your Emotions. Pleasant Company Publication – American Girl Library, 2002

Majoy, Peter. Riding the Crocodile, Flying the Peach Pit, A Sensory Approach to Education. Zephyr Press, 1996.

Mehta, Mira. How to Use Yoga. Smithmark Publishres, 1994.

Merritt, Stephanie. Mind, Music and Imagery. Aslan Publishing, 1996.

Miller, Elise and Blackman, Carol. Life is a Stretch, Easy Yoga Anytime, Anywhere. Llwellyn Publications, 1999.

Moorman, Chick. Talk Sense To Yourself: The Language of Personal Power. Personal Power Press, 1985.

Murdock, Maureen. Spinning Inward: Using Guided Imagery With Children for Learning, Creativity & Relaxation. Shambhala Publications; ISBN: 0877734224; Rev&Updtd edition (February 1988)

Oaklander, Violet. Windows To Our Children. Gestalt Journal Press, 1988.

Pearce, Dr. Joseph C. Evolution’s End: Claiming the Potential of Our Intelligence. San Francisco: Harper, 1992.

Pearce, Dr. Joseph C. Magical Child. Plume Books, Penguin, 1977.

Petrash, Jack. Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out. Gryphon House; ISBN: 0876592469; (September 2002)

Phillips, Kathy and Stewart, Mary. Yoga for Children. Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1992.

Promislow, Sharon. Making the Brain Body Connection: A Playful Guide to Releasing Mental, Physical & Emotional Blocks to Success. Enhanced Learning & Integration; ISBN: 0968106633; (February 1, 2000)

Rogers, Carl & H. Jerome Freidberg. Freedom to Learn.

Saraswati, Swami Satyananda. Yoga Education For Children. Bihar School of Yoga, India, 1990

Semigran, Stu and Sindy Wilkinson. Making the Best of Me, A Handbook for Student Exxcellence and Self-Esteem. ACE Program, 1989

Sivananda Yoga Center and Staff. Yoga Mind and Body. DK Pub. Inc., 1998

Spolin, Viola. Theater Game File. St. Louis: Cemrel, Inc., 1975.

Sumar, Sonia. Yoga for the Special Child, A Therapeutic Approach for Infants and Children with Down Syndrome, Cerabral Palsy, and Learning Disabilities. Special Yoga Publications, 1998

Trivell, Lisa. I Can’t Believe It’s Yoga for Kids. Hatherliegh Press, 2000

Walker, Richard. Guide to the Human Body, A Photographic Journey Through the Human Body. DK Books, 2001.

Weinstein, Matt, and Goodman, Joel. Playfair: Everybody’s Guide to Non-competitive Play. Impact Publishers, 1980

Weiss, Brian. Meditation. Hay House Inc., 2002 Weller, Stella. Yoga for Children. Thorsons, 1996. Whitelaw, Ginny. Body Learning. Perigree Trade, 1998


Yoga Journal. 2054 University Ave. #600, Berkeley, CA 94704 / Subscriptions: 800-600-yoga

Yoga International. Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy of the U.S.A. Subscriptions:

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The Chakras in Shamanic Practice Review

jeff kittmer yoga instructor


by Jeff Kittmer, Yoga Instructor


Susan Wright’s, The Chakras in Shamanic Practice, Eight Stages of Healing and Transformation takes you on a journey to heal your past, and empowers you in the present. 

The Chakras in Shamanic Practice by Susan Wright

As you travel through her book, you will encounter exercises to bring healing and balance back to your chakra system.  I felt that Susan’s approach and techniques had a very strong feminine energy to them.  They are soft and nurturing in nature.  I found the exercises that Susan offers simple and easy to follow; powerful in they’re simplicity.  I noticed that as you progress through her book, Susan takes the reader deeper into the world of spirit.  The progression is slow, but methodical. She doesn’t ask you to take a “leap of faith” before your prepared for it through her exercises.  I found, The Chakras in Shamanic Practice, an easy read and couldn’t put it down.  I read through her book once and then re-read it again, slowly and methodically to really delve deep, discovering my hidden gifts.



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The Benefits of Yoga on Pregnant Women

An essay by Claire Palvetzian

Yoga is a spiritual and physical exercise that has many beneficial factors to the variety of individuals who engage in its practice. People of all ages, genders, and cultures are encouraged to participate in yoga not only for the physical activity aspect, but also for the well-rounded healthy lifestyle it promotes. In society women share many crucial roles, one of which is to bear healthy children. To do this, they need to eat well and take care of their bodies in which the developing child exists. Yoga has been proven to assist in the wellbeing of the growing foetus, as well as helping mothers through a successful birthing process.

Through the various postures and techniques of yoga, pregnant mothers can greatly benefit both physically and yoga postures can have many benefits applied to the pregnant mother as well as the unborn child. A growing fetus requires essential nutrients, constant blood flow, and protection. The postures of yoga including its many movements and various positions, encourages blood flow which transports much needed oxygen and blood through the mother to the baby. This allows the fetus to grow into a healthy baby.

Although it is a wonderful and beautiful process, the procedure of giving birth can sometimes be dangerous for the baby as well as for the mother. Mothers can suffer from complications during labour, which can lead to high blood pressure, mental stress, and further reproduction difficulties.

Certain precautions and lifestyle choices can be made by the mother in order to prevent this from happening. Eating properly, living a stress-free life, and most importantly, exercising, are all choices to reduce pregnancy related problems.

Women are discouraged, however, from lifting weights, or any other strenuous workouts in order to protect the baby from harm, therefore alternative forms of exercise are encouraged such as gentle, prenatal yoga.

A study done in India researched the effectiveness of yoga on pregnancy outcomes. Doctors enrolled 169 pregnant women in daily yoga classes, and 166 women in daily walks.

Results of all pregnancies were monitored and the results were as follows: pre-term labor was significantly lower in the yoga group, complications including intrauterine growth retardation, and pregnancy-induced hypertension were also significantly lower in the yoga group, and finally, the number of babies with birth weight under 2500 grams was higher in the yoga group (Shamanthakamani, 2005).

This study demonstrates that not only is yoga safe to practice while pregnant, but it should be encouraged to improve the well-being of the baby, as well as the mother.

In society today, I feel as though yoga is not targeted to pregnant mothers enough. These statistics from research studies prove that yoga is very beneficial, and should be promoted for everyone to participate, especially pregnant women. I believe that if women took their health into consideration while pregnant, and began practicing yoga, we would notice a powerful change in the health of the new generations of babies.

Another doctor who encourages yoga among pregnant women is Dr. Janet Balaskas. She is the author of the book, The Encyclopedia of Pregnancy and Birth, and wrote that, “The woman giving birth needs to learn to trust her body and its potential.” (Balaskas, J.) This sort of mentality is taught through yoga practice in that one must be able to trust their minds while meditating and exploring themselves. Balaskas also argues that a woman’s body is designed to give birth in an upright position in which the woman is squatting. To strengthen legs muscles without demanding workouts, a yoga-based program is recommended by Balaskas to “develop strength without overdoing it” (Balaskas, J.).

Stretching allows the body the move comfortably in all positions and would be beneficial for women giving birth when they are forced to use the strength of their legs and stomach. Strong abdominal muscles allow for a less forceful and smoother pushes when removing the baby from the woman’s uterus.

Evidence from scientific research and studies has proven that through the postures of yoga, pregnant mothers can assist themselves in the birthing process, as well as their growing baby.

Yoga can also have psychological benefits to expecting mothers. Due to raised levels of hormones, women can go through serious mood swings during pregnancy. These mood swings can cause mothers to feel self-conscious, unappreciated, and alone. Occasionally, prolonged mood swings can develop into mental disorders such as postpartum disorder, and severe depression.

A study done in Australia researched the perceived body image and psychological well-being between exercising and non-exercising pregnant women. Through self-reported questionnaires, research proved that the 25 exercising pregnant women found to have reduced frequency of somatic symptoms, anxiety, insomnia, and a higher level of psychological well being, compared to the 18 non-exercisers (Goodwin, 442). The exercises included activities such as yoga, walking, and swimming, which demonstrates that yoga can be very beneficial to the minds of pregnant women. Pregnant women face tremendous anxiety issues because their bodies are changing shape, they tend to gain more weight in places they are not used to, and therefore begin to develop confidence issues. This should be taken seriously because mothers have many responsibilities, and if their minds are not focused on their newborn children, they could bring harm to the baby and to themselves.

Yoga should be practiced after women give birth as well as before, to help the body get back to its normal state. The breathing techniques used in yoga exercises also teach expecting mothers how to relieve their anxiety and stress levels which is extremely important during the process of labor.

Deep, slow breaths lessen the stress on the heart and enhance the entire cardiovascular system. (Kappmeier, 39) This allows pregnant women to feel relaxed and stress free during the painful aspects of pregnancy. Practicing these breathing techniques before labor is especially important so that the body goes into a recognizable calm state that can be applied at any period of time.

The pranayama breath practiced in yoga is the breath that connects the mind and body with a shared consciousness (Kappmeier, 40). This allows the individual to focus on their breathing instead of the chatter in the mind, which in turn improves circulation, bringing more blood, oxygen, and fuel to the muscles, as well as enhancing concentration (Kappmeier, 40).  This is a great breathing style for pregnant women because they will be able to learn how to clear their minds from stress or pressures of labor, and focus on their task.  This research and these findings prove that yoga plays a crucial role in developing a strong mind in pregnant women.

In conclusion, the physical and spiritual practice of yoga is beneficial to all people of different cultures, genders, and ages. Yoga encourages a healthy body and the overall well being of the mind. Expecting mothers require both physical activity and mental stimulation, which is properly applied through the practice of yoga. Through the many studies and research, doctors have found that yoga is very profitable for pregnant women both before and after they give birth.

Through the various postures and techniques of yoga, pregnant mothers can greatly benefit both physically and mentally.

Balaskas J., Yehudi G. The Encyclopedia of Pregnancy and Birth. Retrieved from

Goodwin, A. (2008) Body image and psychological well being in pregnancy: A comparison of exercisers and non-exercisers. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 40 (4), 442-447.

Kappmeier, K., Ambrosini, D. (2006). Instructing Hatha Yoga. USA: Versa Press.

Shamanthakamani N., Raghuram N., Vivek N., Sulochana

G., Hongasandra R. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. April 1, 2005, 11(2): 237-244. Doi: 10.1089/acm.2005.11.237

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