Guest Author: Megan D. Yoga Instructor and Mindful Mama,
Women’s reproductive health is something that most of us don’t think about. Until we are trying to reproduce. Then it can really take over your life, if you let it.
For most women, like Sarah D, the importance of your annual woman’s examination is not particularly high. Sarah like many woman commented, “I think it is very important to know your body, and listen to it when it tells you something’s up. As for our “annual exams,” on a scale of 1-10, I would give them a 7 for importance. Lets face it, they are uncomfortable, awkward, and simply not fun.”
However, they can prevent very serious illnesses like cervical cancer, and are considered very important in the medical community. But most women, like Sarah, think they are important, but if they miss a year, and feel fine, don’t panic.
Women today are not as timid at asking questions or seeking alternative answers as our mothers and grandmothers may have been. Today, women should not be afraid to ask their doctor anything – or tell their doctor “no” if they feel like his or her suggestion does not fit in with their beliefs or desires for their own body. Doctors are not bosses – they are wonderful guides, but you do not have to do what they say if you do not want to. So if you don’t like what they suggest – ask for alternatives – and remember, there are usually many non-chemical, non-invasive alternatives if you do some research. Google it baby!
One easy step any woman can do every day to increase their reproductive health is to practice Yoga! Yoga reduces stress, boosts your immune system, and can open blocked chakras to assist in the love-making aspect of procreation. It is important to create a peaceful environment for the baby, and many of my students have found that meditation, yoga, and intentional breathing greatly reduces the stress they are experiencing, and prepares their bodies to create a new little being.
One of the biggest mistake most women make regarding their reproductive health is that their cycle is 28 days long. Just as our weight, height, and bodies differ, so do our cycles. Most women are planning their families with the misconception that their fertile days are based on a “standard” 28 day cycle. When in reality, a woman’s cycle may range from 24-36 days. This makes a big difference when you and your partner are doing the deed on certain days hoping to make a baby, when, in fact, you could be a whole week off. Not that the practice isn’t fun!
In the future, I see a more conscious woman who knows and respects her body, mind, and spirit well enough to make smart choices about having children. We have so many beautiful babies out there who are born in terrible circumstances, often, because the woman were still uneducated about her birth control options. I wish both women and men had greater access to reproductive education, so they could take more care in making sure that they only conceive when they are ready for the responsibility of guiding a new life through the world.
As a yoga instructor, I believe there is nothing to prepare you more for childbirth than yoga. In fact, I remember one young lady who we helped very much. We would do hip openers specifically designed to prepare her for childbirth. I would smile, as we went deep into a squat, and say, “This one is for Angie!” When I approached her on the beach recently, she had a baby boy swaddled, sleeping in her lap. She smiled as she said, “The hip-openers worked! I was only in labor for 3 hours, and the little guy came right out.” Needless to say, she’ll be back at yoga in a few weeks, now a proud mama.
You can also incorporate toning, sounds, and facial relaxation techniques into your yoga practice and your labor. So not only does yoga help you relax, de-stress, and conceive your baby, it can also help you during pregnancy with aches and pains. Most importantly, yoga can help you birth your baby and even get back into shape when you are ready.
More about Megan: Megan Duma, Founded SXM Yoga in 2012, and Mind Movies For Moms in 2015. She has been practicing yoga for over 10 years, teaching Astanga Vinyasa for many years. She is also a business owner, lawyer, and mother of a one year old baby boy.