There is such a special sweetness in being able to participate in creation – Pamela S. Nadav
Congratulations. You’re considering taking up pregnancy yoga or planning to continue your practice during this special period in your life. Remember, we’re all different and yoga is unique in that it is very adaptable to your level of fitness and ability. Yoga includes physical exercises (asana), breathing exercises (pranayama), meditation and mindfulness. It can be practised throughout your pregnancy, during your baby’s birth, whilst you are in postnatal recovery and well beyond into old age. If you’re a regular practitioner, you already know how yoga improves your body and mind as you become healthier and alert. A subtle and positive shift starts to happen in your interaction with yourself, your baby and other people as your awareness increases. Yoga is an ongoing journey of self-discovery.
Q: I’ve never done yoga before, can I come to a pregnancy or postnatal yoga class?
A: Certainly. Anyone with any level of fitness can attend. All the postures can be adapted to your degree of fitness and stage of pregnancy. Many women start yoga for the first time during pregnancy because it is gentle and safe. The majority continue their practice to help their postnatal recovery and then continue thereafter.
Q: Can I take paid time off work to attend pregnancy yoga class?
A: Yes – if you are in full time employment you are entitled to paid time off work to attend yoga classes, which are covered by the category ‘antenatal appointments and relaxation and parent-craft classes’. See further details about employers’ legal obligations to pregnant workers.
Q: When is the best time to start pregnancy yoga?
A: It’s best to start a class after the first trimester of your pregnancy, (12 weeks) after your first scan. Caution is advised in the first trimester because this is the time the foetus is implanting and the placenta is developing. Your body is going through many changes and you should rest and relax during this period until your energy levels have returned to a more normal level which usually happens during the second trimester. I do have mums-to-be in their first trimester join my prenatal class – PLEASE DISCUSS WITH ME BEFOREHAND. You can attend yoga classes any time during the second and third trimester. After your baby is born, providing there are no complications, you can come back to practising physical yoga after 6-8 when you’ve had the all-clear from your doctor. You can, of course, practice breathing exercises and meditation throughout your pregnancy with wonderful benefits to yourself and baby.
Q: I’ve been practising yoga for a while. Is it okay to keep attending my normal yoga class?
A: If you’re a regular practitioner, make sure your teacher knows you’re pregnant so they can advise on how to modify postures or which ones to avoid. During pregnancy, it’s best to ease your practice and slow your pace. If you have been used to a strong physical practice, now is a good time to start practising a different type of yoga: Acceptance of physical changes and limitations. Exploration into the subtle aspects of your practice. Fine tuning your art of letting go and really listening to your body.
Q: I have complications with my pregnancy. Can I still come to a pregnancy yoga class?
A: Pregnancy yoga classes are gentle and the postures are adaptable. This can be a great help to ease some of the complications and discomforts associated with pregnancy. However, please get approval from your doctor first and make sure you let me know about these complications. You should definitely mention any complications in the Pregnancy Yoga Pre-Class Health Questionnaire form that you are required to complete before attending your first class with me.
Q: What should I wear to a pregnancy yoga class?
A: Comfortable and appropriate clothes that allow you to move freely, e.g. leggings or jogging trousers with a vest top or t-shirt. During meditation & relaxation, you will cool down, so wearing layers is advisable.
Q: What about footwear?
A: We usually practice yoga in bare feet. Wearing socks is not advisable during the practice as you may slip. Foot hygiene is appreciated! Bring socks with you for the relaxation session (at the end) as your feet might feel cold as your body temperature cools down.
Q: What equipment do I need?
A: Mats and props are supplied although you can bring your own yoga mat if you prefer.
Q: Can I eat before yoga?
A: No. Best that you do not eat at least two hours before practice. If a special condition prevents this, eat easily digested foods, like fruit or yoghurt, one hour before class. Also, please do not drink alcohol before the class. Have a light meal after the class.
Q: What actually happens in a Pregnancy Yoga class?
A: Arrive in good time so you have time to settle. Then sit or lie down and relax until the class starts. We start with a welcome herbal tea or drink, have an initial discussion on a theme and then continue with a mindful meditation, flowing movements and breath work (including labour breathing) and then progress with a series of flowing and static yoga postures, along with exploring birthing positions and pelvic floor exercise. We finish with a delicious relaxation or Yoga Nidra, which is an essential part of the class.
Q: Are there any other times I should avoid class?
A: If you are very dehydrated, or suffering from any cold or flu like symptoms. Please complete the Pregnancy Yoga Pre-Class Health Questionnaire before taking your first class, as there may be some other circumstances where it may be inadvisable to practice. If you have any concerns or would like further clarification, please contact me.
Q: I have more questions !
A: Please contact me or drop me an email and I’ll be happy to help you.