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Relax With Yoga, by Arthur Liebers, [1960], at

p. 90


To achieve painless, or "normal," childbirth, Yoga offers exercises and postures which will foster healthful development of secreting organs, especially those located within the waist and pelvic zones, and of the muscular and nervous systems.

The Western fashion world demands that women have thin waists. Actually, a woman requires a larger waist because her liver, stomach, spleen, kidneys, pancreas and colon are in the waist zone, and are proportionately larger than these organs in the male. This is part of nature's provision for motherhood. The fashionable small waist necessarily is accompanied by displaced stomach and bowels and perhaps by a dislocated liver and a "floating" kidney.

The health of the woman's internal organs is largely dependent on proper nutrition and drainage which eliminates all physiological impurities from the body. Women's pelvic organs are often congested. In the case of abdominal displacement, the pressure of the displaced organs inhibits normal, free flow of blood which, in turn, affects the health of

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the abdominal viscera and the sex organs. Woman is more prone to this combination of unhealthy complications, as her sex organs are within the same cavity as the visceral organs.

Constipation is the first evidence of the lack of tonicity of this part of the body. Alleviation, according to Yoga, can come only from full stretching of the anterior and deep muscles. The woman who wants easier childbirth through Yoga, should keep in mind that these exercises are not the muscle-building type, but specific non-violent and non-fatiguing exercises.

Matsyasana, or Fish Pose

A pose especially developed to contribute to the health of the pelvic and sex organs, this exercise provides both gentle exercise and a deep internal massage. Sit with your legs fully stretched out and adjust the footlock, as directed for the Semi-Lotus Pose, by folding the legs so that the feet are against the opposite groins, with the soles turned upward. While inhaling, slowly and carefully fall back, using your arms, if necessary, to guide your fall. Next, lay supine, with your legs folded, keeping the footlock in place. For comfort in the supine position, you may fold your arms under your head as a cushion. To complete this asana, return to the starting position while exhaling. Try to repeat this exercise about five times a minute. At first work at this for about one minute. Later you can extend the time to three minutes. The exercise can be used at all times. However, it should be discontinued during advanced pregnancy.

The ethical and the Yogic points of view are that in all that concerns sex physiologically, the consummation of the

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ideal for woman is motherhood. It has been found in India that those women who have regularly followed Yoga exercises normally enjoy pregnancies which are free of pathological or psychological problems. Childbirth to them is devoid of any gruesome experience. The Yoga diet is the most suitable during pregnancy and the Yoga processes of cleansing and elimination, which have been dealt with in other parts of this book, supply the best antitoxic measures. However, the principles of Yoga are in no way an antithesis to modern medicine. No woman should feel that the practice of Yoga is a substitute for prenatal and postnatal care.

Painless childbirth does not mean complete absence of pain. The term, as used medically, means an easy delivery which is quite possible for the great majority of mothers. However, it may be affected by such factors as the pelvic construction, the form of presentation, etc. Perhaps the greatest factor in easy childbirth is the tone and power of contraction of the uterine muscles and the abdominal muscles. The groundwork for painless parturition must be laid early in life, and the young girl who begins Yogic exercises soon after puberty will be certain to achieve proper development of both the external and deeper muscles. The mature woman may have to work more intensively to correct her body tone. Full results may depend on the degree to which the body has been neglected and the care with which the postures are carried out regularly.

Next: Glossary of Yogic Terms