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Yoga in Pregnancy
by Dr. Edmond Ibrahim

Sitting Mountain

It's quite out of my expectation that my wife, Eliana, kept doing most of the Yoga postures by now and will be very  confident to continue. At least, she said so. To say it exactly, she began to teach Yoga in a health club in north Lebanon from the 2nd month of her pregnancy.

Neither her students nor I knew a little about Yoga at the beginning. Only one time I had chance to watch her doing Yoga in China.
I couldn't imagine how she curled her body like that when she as pregnant. For this reason, I read a lot of book about Yoga. Following what the books say, I tried to persuade her quitting doing any of Yoga. She was afraid too, because it was her first pregnancy, but she had to complete the teaching of that month as the contract required.

She did do every posture very carefully at the beginning, but more she practiced more confidences she found. For all the new students, she tried to do the postures professionally and held them as long as they should be. As she is Chinese and speaks English in her class, I stayed with her during every class, translating and protecting, in case of something happened suddenly. But it seemed there is not any necessary to worry about anything of her. She did wonderfully and she felt full of energy after her class. She was so active and vivid that no one believed that she was pregnant.

One month safely past. She said she felt nothing uncomfortable and wanted to continue. "You should listen to your body. Don't push yourself too much!" That's the way she teaches her students. It's also the caution she promised me to obey in the next several months. I reluctantly agreed.

As time flying, Eliana gathered a group of Yoga funs. She taught them Yoga breathing and meditation. She led them to do Asana. More than 100 postures were introduced. And she told them how to relax and how to find the peace of mind. As to her, Eliana never suffered from morning sickness or hyper emesis as most of pregnant women do during the early months of pregnancy. Sometimes we all doubted h was pregnant until we at the first time saw our baby on the ultrasound scan screen in the 4th month.

Many people think of Yoga merely a kind of soft stretch and gentle form of breathing exercise, but it is in fact a complex system of physical and metal training. In her classes, Eliana often reminds the students to concentrate on the meridians and Prana (the potential energy). She initiates them the power of mind. And she took my advice to add more Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theories into her class. Couple times she asked me to lead her students to do 5 minutes self-massage in TCM way as healthy tips at the end of classes. Eliana's Yoga lass are so useful and colorful that all the students like them. Nobody would like her to stop.

Only Eliana herself has the right to make final decision, because she knows her body more than anyone else. She continued teaching, but not all the posture. She didn't do several postures completely after the 3rd month, such as Cobra (Bhujangasana), Locust (Salabhasana) and Bow (Danurasana), for her abdomen couldn't abandon so much pressure. She preferred all the balance posture like Tree (Vrksasana) and Soldier ? (Virabhadrasana). She says balance exercises are so important for pregnant women that they help them find awareness. As her stomach growing bigger and bigger, she never stopped all the stretch postures like Squat (Utthanasana), Butterfly and Hanumanasana to open up the pelvis before the birth.

I feel happy for all she did. Four years' practice, especially during her pregnancy, Eliana felt the power of Yoga by her way. The most interesting thing is that she uses Yoga's meditation to encourage the fetus to calm down when it moves too much. It makes the pregnancy great and wonderful. I even believe our baby maybe could do some Yoga's postures perfectly when he or she is just born.

Here is the advice from Eliana for all the pregnant women,
   Yoga can be very useful in pregnancy, labor and the postnatal period. By strengthening, toning and relaxing, it helps to open the pelvis before the birth and recover good muscle tone after it.
   Follow a professional teacher to do Yoga and make sure he or she is aware of your pregnancy.
  Get professional advice from a Yoga teacher to prevent from morning sickness, backache, varicose veins, sleeplessness, breech baby and depression.
  Listen to your body and avoid the postures that you don't feel comfortable. Yoga has great self-help potential once you are familiar with the postures and breathing methods.
  Be careful to do any hard postures after 14 weeks. Don't do any exercises flat on the back after 30 weeks.
Dr. Edmond Ibrahim just came back Lebanon in 2001 after he had finished 7 years' Traditional Chinese Medicine education and 2 years' medical practice in China. Now he opened a Chinese Medical Center in north Lebanon and could be contacted by mobile phone on No. 00961-3-315443 and by email at EdmondTCM@hotmail.com

His wife, Ms. Eliana Ibrahim, Chinese, is teaching Yoga in Platinium Heath Club in Zgharta and could be contacted by email at elianazhao@hotmail.com

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