Whether you’re an advanced practitioner or you don’t know the difference from a downward dog to a forward fold, pre-natal yoga is simply for every woman that is pregnant. As long as you’re willing to turn your phone off and tune into your body for an hour or so – you’re set!
In my classes, I typically start out with an introduction to the group and individually ask the women how their energy levels are today and how their body is feeling. There is always a mixed response in the class, some high and others low. Noticing that every woman in the classroom might be at a different stage of their pregnancy and that everyones body is different, the women have the option to take the practice as they see fit – resting whenever appropriate for them.
We begin with a meditative practice and a deep breathing exercise. These tools are useful throughout pregnancy and labour when your mind is tested the most.
The breathe is linked to the emotions, so the calmer and deeper the breathe, the more focused and still your mind can be. This helps with removing mental limitations and negative preconceptions you might have about your pregnancy, labour and motherhood.
The more positive and unstressed the mindset, the easier it is to link the physical body to your ideal outcome.
The warm up generally will start on the floor, focusing on hip opening, neck releasing and lengthening through the spine. I always have props handy, blankets, blocks and a bolster for extra support.
Generally, the classes I teach for expecting mumma’s are really quite feminine and flowy and it’s gently tailored for bumps at all sizes. In a normal yoga class it can get in the way of some postures and can take a real effort to modify, so coming to a class created with your bump in mind increases the safety and care of the class.
The pace is generally slow however there is plenty of opportunity to build stamina and strength for the key muscles that will help you push during labour.
While moving the body around, the variety of pelvic floor and breathing exercises are incorporated during the physical practice. A way to link the mind, body and breathe – and of course baby. There are alot of moments to connect to baby throughout the class, from the intention setting to holding your belly and feeling your hot palms connect to your baby while you’re in a posture.
The end of the class, is always completed with Savasana.
Savasana is the final resting pose after the practice. This gives mumma time to wind down physically and mentally after the session to lower her heart rate and rest.
Sometimes I will use a guided savasana with the mother’s, guiding them through a pregnancy meditation to help them to connect to their purpose and remove and negative impressions that they’re holding onto.
With all of the elements of the practice incorporated into an hour or so, this is generally enough time for mum’s to leave feeling stretched and relaxed.
I sometimes see mother’s come into the class filled with anxiety and tears, even crying through the beginning exercises but to the end a smile lifts their face.
Endorphins are released during exercise – and combined with deep breathing, no wonder a more positive attitude flows.
The benefits of pre-natal yoga both physically and mentally are countless.
Some of the most beautiful aspects are that it helps create a stronger bond between you and your unborn baby and also to connect with other women experiencing a similar journey.
Together, as women – we are strong!
- Stay tuned for videos and pictures for what stretches are best for each trimester!