Is Pregnancy Yoga for me?

Sometimes, especially when you are pregnant it's daunting to start new things. Hopefully this blog will explain what pregnancy yoga is, answer some common questions and misconceptions and encourage women who may be a bit apprehensive to give it a go!

Most women who come to my pregnancy yoga classes are new to Yoga. Pregnancy yoga is recommended by health workers, doctors and midwifes, it attracts women who are looking for a gentle form of exercise that is safe and beneficial during pregnancy. However, often they find they enjoy the yoga practises so much they continue their yoga practise after the birth and find a class to carry on long term

. I know I'm biased but I find most people who "try" yoga or "just go to one and see how it goes", mostly fall in love with the practise and continue regular classes.

What is Yoga anyway?

Yoga is an ancient, holistic practise that helps people to "feel good", not just in a physical sense but it can make you feel better in many unexpected ways. There are 8 'limbs' of yoga (I will explain these in more detail in another post), and "Yoga" itself is a massive topic. For the sake of this blog I will outline yoga practise in a more simplified and accessible way - a bit like the tip of the iceberg but even just accessing that small 'tip' can make a big difference to people who practise!

Generally most yoga classes involve 'asanas' (physical postures, stretches, movements and sequences), 'Pranayama' (breathing techniques and focusing on the breath), Relaxation techniques and Meditation. Depending on the style of class the balance of these aspects differ. Some classes also involve sound practises, mudras (powerful hand gestures) and teachings about Yoga Philosophy.

Yoga has existed for thousands of years and in the last 50-60 years has rapidly grown in the West. It's important to find a class which respects ancient traditions and practises without 'watering down' yoga into just another exercise class.

Why should I do yoga during Pregnancy?

Yoga classes are really beneficial physically, emotionally and mentally, if you are pregnant or not people feel the benefits. Pregnancy is a very special, magical and sometimes difficult time. Just imagine your body is actually busy making a little human being! The wisdom of your body is making organs, bones, skin, perfect fingers, toes, eyelashes! It's so amazing and an exhausting role, especially in the first trimester as the embryo grows and develops into a fully formed person in a matter of months!

Once your body has coped with that exhausting first few months it's then a process of ever-changing feelings / emotions / energy levels / clothes! Yoga practise can help you cope with these physical, emotional and energetic changes. Every pregnancy is different and a yoga class can provide something for everyone.

If you already exercise suddenly it isn't as enjoyable or even accessible with a bump, sore boobs and tiredness. Yoga is a great alternative, to enable you to carry on with exercise, keep the body fit, flexible, be physical in a safe way that benefits baby and even prepares you for birth. If you aren't the gym bunny type or have never had a regular exercise routine pregnancy is also a great time to start a gentle physical practise as you will need to be fit, strong and have stamina for the birth and challenging first few weeks. By working on releasing and exploring the pelvic floor, strengthening the legs and muscles of the lower back, opening and stretching the body in a safe way, breathing and relaxing you are preparing your body for the challenge it will undertake as a new mum!

What will we do in the classes?