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Yoga and Ayurveda are sister sciences that have been connected for thousands of years. Steeped in the same philosophy, they provide important, complementary tools and practices for creating a healthy body, a balanced mind, and higher consciousness. They promote a healthy, natural lifestyle through diet, herbs, physical postures, and breathing techniques. They also include prayers, chants, and meditation, and promote certain ethical values, such as truthfulness, nonviolence, and humility. But neither requires you to follow certain deities, dogmas, or religions.
The holistic diet and lifestyle recommendations of yoga and Ayurveda begin with understanding your unique constitution and how to live in harmony with it. Self-knowledge and self-care are central principles of Ayurveda and are key to real, deep, and lasting healing and health. Many times, imbalances arise as a result of diet and lifestyle choices that aren’t appropriate for our unique nature. By understanding your constitution, you can pay attention to your needs and make choices that support your health and well-being.
In pregnancy specifically, yoga and Ayurveda can help you improve the quality of your life, enjoy the process of gestation, and raise your consciousness, as well as achieve optimum health for yourself and your growing baby.
On a practical level, yoga and Ayurveda, as forms of natural medicine, provide specific tools for helping with the challenges that can arise during pregnancy. I have met countless women who really dislike being pregnant. They feel uncomfortable, sick, or exhausted, or suffer from a host of conditions for anywhere from a few weeks to their entire pregnancy. Some women feel hindered and don’t like to feel slowed down. Others feel awkward in their pregnant bodies and don’t enjoy their fullness or how their body is morphing to accommodate their growing baby. And a number of women feel that their hormones have hijacked their bodies and emotions. These are all natural and genuine responses to pregnancy. Yoga and Ayurveda offer simple breath and movement techniques, gentle herbs, and basic dietary suggestions to help you ride these changing tides.
On a more profound level, Ayurveda suggests that the prenatal environment influences your baby’s prakruti, or constitution. Both in the womb and out, a child’s consciousness, health, and happiness are shaped by its parents’ activities, diet, lifestyle, and mental states. Ayurveda and yoga help you give your little one as much positivity as possible when she’s in the womb, so she may come into this world as strong and healthy as can be. In addition, yoga helps you to become more present with yourself, moment by moment, day after day—an invaluable skill that can serve you well during birth and motherhood.