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Pilates for Pregnancy with Elizabeth Jones-Boswell

May 15, 2014 AT 12:43 PM

My Approach

by Elizabeth Jones-Boswell

Birth is more than a moment, an hour, or even a day; it is about life. Women need to remember that birthing is a normal and healthy process. It is a journey that belongs to us. Sharing the process with our unborn child and those who love us, we not only grow physically but spiritually and mentally, as we tap the vast resources of strength that lie within us.

I weep when I see or hear of women who are unnecessarily strapped, bound, flattened, poked, prodded, drugged, cut and paralyzed when they are in labor. We are not just one big belly, but a complex human being capable of handling most births without so many interventions. Why don’t we nourish our bodies with healthy food and exercise, enrich our minds with healthy loving thoughts, and strengthen our spirits with love and joy?

A tremendous empowerment gap has evolved that has made many women feel that the journey is not theirs to guide, but for others to lead. My purpose in writing this book is to encourage women to educate themselves about the numerous possibilities in birthing. I want them to strengthen their minds so that they can make informed decisions, not fear-based decisions. I want them to strengthen their bodies so that they are up to the challenge of birthing.

After having four successful pregnancies and very beautiful and relatively easy (though I do use the term lightly) births, many of my colleagues and clients encouraged me to write about my experiences and the exercises I use for pregnancy and postpartum. This book is an accumulation of over 30 years of knowledge gained through education, mentoring, teaching and personal experience. It is an encouragement for all women to work for a healthy and mindful pregnancy.

Incorporate exercise into your daily activities and also make time to exercise. It is important to exercise both the cardiovascular system and the muscular system (strength and flexibility), which must include pelvic and abdominal toning. Carefully choose a class/teacher specializing in pregnancy.

Why exercise?

  • Prevent back pain
  • Prevent thoracic outlet syndrome
  • Prevent constipation
  • Prevent varicose veins
  • Greater sense of well-being of body, mind and spirit
  • Quicker and easier childbirth
  • Better postpartum shape

 

“It is the mind which builds the body.” - Fredrick Von Schiller (German poet and philosopher)

Pilates defined fitness as, “the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily, and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure.” He also said, “It is constant and diligent work to achieve a strong, fit, and healthy body and mind.”

According to authors Florence Peterson Kendall, PT, Elizabeth Kendall McCreary, BA and Patricia Geise Provance, PT in their book “Muscles Testing and Function”, an ideal posture generally has the following traits:

  1. Viewed from the front, the left half is the mirror-image of the right half.
  2. Viewed from the side, the knee joint, hip joint, shoulder joint and ear stack directly above the ankle.

My analysis also includes quality and symmetry of movement. Is the client able to do their activities of daily living (ADL's) in a pain-free way?

My Pilates work parallels my birthing philosophy by encompassing body, mind, spirit, and breath:

Body:

  • Our vehicle to carry a new life
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise

Mind:

  • Relaxation
  • Hypnosis
  • Affirmations and visualizations
  • Birth Plan

Spirit:

  • Meditation
  • Hypnosis

Breath:

  • The first act of life
  • We breathe our babies into the world
  • Sustains life

​For more information about Elizabeth Jones-Boswell, visit her website.


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