Prepare Mind, Body And Spirit With Prenatal Yoga

Conscious Birthing Worksop

Yoga as exercise is unique in its commitment to every stage of life. The ancient discipline of uniting mind, body and spirit is particularly suited to supporting the rapid changes in a woman’s body and emotions that occur during pregnancy and the months postpartum. Although many forms of exercise increase blood circulation and strengthen muscles, prenatal yoga’s focus on balance, alignment and intentional breathing provides more comprehensive benefits to the mom-to-be.

Prenatal yoga can prevent and relieve many common discomforts of pregnancy, including backache, water retention, digestive discomfort, fatigue, and sciatic pain. In addition, the practice builds strength in all parts of the body, which is increasingly important as a woman’s weight shifts, putting added pressure on the lower back. Prenatal yoga also improves flexibility, stretches sore muscles and helps improve alignment and balance as the baby weight changes a woman’s center of gravity.

Prenatal yoga’s health benefits are not limited to the physical body. Many women find the physical transformation of pregnancy unsettling, particularly in our culture where weight is judged so critically. Yoga encourages deep breathing, calm reflection, and commitment to the present moment. This helps stabilize the emotions and relieve stress, allowing a woman to find meaningful connection with her pregnancy. By increasing confidence in the body and quieting the mind, yoga also stimulates the relaxation response. Learning to release fear, tension and anxiety through conscious breathing can naturally support pain management during childbirth as well.

Giving birth is a huge transition in physical and spiritual awareness and is often accompanied by unpredictable emotional reactions. Postnatal yoga provides a distinct advantage to typical fitness classes in that it not only tones and strengthens muscles, but it also facilitates healing and alleviates tension in mind and body. Returning to the yoga practice after birth also reunites mom with a supportive community of women who understand her journey.

Maria “Puma” Reyes, owner of Puma Yoga located at 15602 Detroit Avenue, has been teaching prenatal yoga classes for more than eight years. She is certified in both prenatal and postnatal yoga and is a doula-in-training. Throughout her career, Reyes has helped hundreds of women get in touch with the sacredness of childbirth and channel the wise, intuitive woman that resides within each mother-to-be.

Prenatal yoga classes for all fitness levels are available at Puma Yoga several times a week: Monday evenings at 7:15 p.m., Wednesday afternoons at 4:45 p.m., and Saturday afternoons at 12 noon. The studio also offers a Conscious Birth workshop for the expecting mother and her partner or birth advocate. This workshop focuses on creating deeper communication and intimacy with one another to prepare for childbirth, and features breath work, massage techniques, and more. No yoga experience is required for the ongoing yoga classes or scheduled workshops. Check out the Puma Yoga website at, or contact the studio by email at or by calling (216) 221.6265 for additional information.

Maria 'Puma' Reyes is the owner of Puma Yoga. She has been teaching yoga since 2004 and became a Certified Yoga teacher through Forrest Yoga in 2006.

Maria Reyes

Maria 'Puma' Reyes is the owner of Puma Yoga. She has been teaching yoga since 2004 and became a Certified Yoga teacher through Forrest Yoga in 2006. She is registered through Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT-200 and R-PYT. Maria’s certifications are in Relax and Renew (Restorative Yoga), Prenatal Yoga and Postnatal Yoga. She is also undergoing Doula training. Puma weaves her enthusiasm, humor, straight forwardness and compassion into a teaching style that encompasses the strength and intensity of Forrest, the flow and creativity of Vinyasa, the alignment of Iyengar and the relaxing, healing benefits of Restorative yoga.

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Volume 9, Issue 3, Posted 9:58 PM, 02.05.2013