Yay! There are two blue lines on the stick, you have just discovered that you are pregnant and you couldn’t be happier. Now to get planning- number one tell your partner, number two book pregnancy yoga!!
Many women come to pregnancy yoga not really knowing what to expect and without ever having been to yoga before. I had only ever attended one yoga class before stepping on the mat in 2008 whilst pregnant with my second child. I had done various yoga DVDs and had even bought a mat but I didn’t have a yoga practice nor did I understand the importance my new found “hobby” would have on mental and physical health in the coming months not to mention years!
Here are some questions I commonly get asked by women who are thinking of coming to pregnancy yoga:
1. How far along do I need to be to come to Pregnancy Yoga?
I recommend that you wait until 12 weeks gestation to start practice. By this stage you will have hopefully seen your GP and had your blood pressure checked as well as your dates confirmed. This is a really important visit as it can rule out health conditions that might make it unsafe for you to do yoga during pregnancy. Usually any sickness you might be suffering from will have passed and you should be feeling less exhausted.
2. Why should I do Pregnancy Yoga?
Much like other types of childbirth-preparation classes, pregnancy yoga is a multifaceted approach to exercise that encourages stretching, mental centering and focused breathing. Research suggests that pregnancy yoga is safe and can have many benefits for pregnant women and their babies including:
Helps you bond with baby and prepare to meet them at the birth
Reduce stress and anxiety
Increase the strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth
Supports your changing body
Helps you to connect with the pelvic floor muscles
Decrease lower back pain, nausea, headaches and shortness of breath as well as many other common pregnancy related complaints
Pregnancy yoga can also help you meet and bond with other pregnant women, it’s a great way to make new friends, I am still friendly with a few of the ladies I was at pregnancy yoga with and our children are in the same class!!
3. What happens at Pregnancy Yoga class?
On arrival I will ask you to fill out a registration form with some questions about your pregnancy and general health, I will then read the form and we will have a quick chat to discuss any issues.
During class you will be provided with a mat, bolster, blanket, cushion, blocks and a belt. Seems like a lot of stuff, right? These props will help you to get comfortable on the mat and to support you during your class so that you can get the full benefits from your practice.
To begin with we will go around the class, everyone introduces themselves and tells us how far along they are and if they have any complaints or news that they would like to share with the group. This is a fantastic way to get to know each other and often many people will have the same issues! It’s also a great chance to share information, like where to buy a full length body pillow or how to ease leg cramps!
Pranyama or Breathing is a really important part of our pregnancy practice which will serve you not just during pregnancy and labour but also after when baby arrives.
Each week we focus on a different breath and use visualisations to help keep the mind focused and to get the full benefits of these powerful techniques.
We then begin the physical yoga practice which can be tailored to each individual depending on how you are feeling on a particular day. I will give lots of options and suggest props for each pose. A lady who is 12 weeks might still be feeling queasy and doesn’t feel good to put her head down in childs pose so she might stay more upright, but by the time she is 20 weeks she might be fine and be focusing on finding space to accommodate her growing bump in childs pose!
At the end of class we come to Savasanna. This is the relaxation part of the class and it really is very enjoyable. Using bolsters, cushions and blankets each woman will feel completely supported and comfortable to switch off and sink into a deep relaxed state. Calming music will fill the air, the lights are dimmed and I will gently talk you into switching off your busy mind so that you can fully let go and find your inner calm.
3. What do I bring with me?
I will provide mats and all props but if you prefer to bring your own then you are more than welcome. If you like to bring a drink then please do but I also have drinking water and cups at the studio if you forget.
Wear something comfortable like leggings and a jumper with a t-shirt under so if you get too warm you can take off layers, a warm pair of socks is also nice for for savasanna.
What about after baby arrives?
You will be so busy with your new baby for the first few weeks that yoga won’t even cross your mind. You are welcome to come to Mom and Baby Yoga once you have had your six week check up and your doctor has said you are ok to practice. This yoga class is especially for post partum mums and is a really gently form of exercise combining yoga, pilates and relaxation techniques to help you to ease yourself back onto the mat. And the best bit- you can bring baby along too!! You can feed and change baby at any sage of the class. It is a great way to meet up with other mums and make friends too.
Pregnancy Yoga is on every Thursday at 7.15pm and Mom & Baby Yoga is on Fridays at 9.45am in YoGrá Yoga Studio Kilcock, Co. Kildare.
Call Christine on 0872258120 if you have any other questions.