Yoga for Pregnancy
“I would like to explain how these classes came about, what happens in them and then to share some of the testimonials from women who have benefitted from them.
I have been interested in birth since the arrival of my two children and have always wanted to help women to have the best birth experience possible. I attended NCT classes and gained lots of vital information. But also the pioneering work of Janet Balaskas, Frederick Leboyer and Michel Odent, made me realise that there were options in terms of birth, that women can be self directing – birthing can be ‘her’ process. Empowerment is probably the word I am looking for!
I became a breast feeding counsellor and later a Parent-Link advisor when my children were young but it is only since becoming a yoga teacher and then becoming a grandmother that I have trained to teach yoga for pregnancy. Being around at the home birth of my second grandchild re-focussed my attention on the magic and the importance of the birthing process. As a BWY yoga teacher I had the basic tools but undertook further training to be confident that what I teach is up to date, safe and useful.
I genuinely feel that conceiving and carrying a child is one of the greatest privileges of being female. Very often at this time women feel keen to do something which will help the journey through pregnancy and through birth. Yoga offers the tools to do this with gentle and appropriate exercise, breathing techniques and relaxation. It is best to wait until after the first trimester before starting classes but after this whenever you feel ready is the right time. Ideally you need to commit to 10-20 sessions so that the techniques learnt become automatic but the class runs on a “drop-in” format.
In all classes you start with “stopping”. You will be giving yourself the time to step back from the busyness of the day and to use breathing techniques to slow down and allow yourself to rest. Then there are slow gentle moves to ease the body, to strengthen the back and to help open the pelvis for the birth. Good postures to be used every day when standing, sitting, walking or even watching television are taught, as are ways to ease the body and minimise discomforts which may develop as your baby grows. Breathing practices are taught which help you to relax initially but which can later be developed for use during the birth, to ride contractions and to assist with later stages of delivery. The final part of the class is a deep relaxation and a time to “go inwards” to prepare mentally, to use affirmations or a form of self-hypnosis which can help during the birth process.
During these sessions women meet others who are pregnant and can share experiences and knowledge. Sometimes there is an optional session for women and their birth partners to prepare for the birth. Many women find that they have enjoyed the group so much that they join the postnatal mum and baby class for a few months before their youngster can crawl.
For some the most important part is the time out, for others the gentle movements and the focus on the mum’s ability to be really aware of her body, to listen to it, to trust it and to follow her instincts.”