Coming to a specialist yoga class when you are pregnant gives you a space in which to integrate the enormous changes which happen during pregnancy and the transition to motherhood. Yoga practices help you to connect with yourself on all levels of your being - body, mind, and heart - and so to be more present to your unborn baby. These classes offer an opportunity to slow down, bond with your baby, and to prepare for the birth.
I offer weekly classes for pregnant women and birth preparation sessions for couples.
Please note you are entitled to time off work during pregnancy for relaxation classes – have a look at the maternity pages on www.gov.uk for more information.
What classes are like
We spend a few minutes at the start of class introducing ourselves and then we practise yoga postures and sequencess, breath awareness and some simple breath techniques, and deep relaxation. Being with other pregnant women can also provide practical support and a chance to make friends. No previous experience of yoga is necessary.
In each class there are movements and sequences to help your body adapt to pregnancy, by making space for baby while also building stamina and strength. We often use the breath as part of these practices – helping you to discover and respect your own comfortable pace as your body changes from week to week.
Breathwork is also used as a practice in its own right, sometimes in combination with sound. Breathing well benefits both you and your baby, and sounded practices are a great gift for your baby, who loves to hear your voice. The aim of these practices is twofold : to learn to breathe fully and effectively, thereby increasing energy (which moves with the breath), and also to learn to use the breath as a simple but powerful tool for letting go, both physically and mentally.
Deep Relaxation – Yoga Nidra
Each session finishes with a deep relaxation practice, known as Yoga Nidra. This is a wonderful space in which to gather your resources and to connect with your baby.
What to bring
There’s no need to bring any yoga equipment.
Do I need to have done some yoga before?/what if I already have an established yoga practice
Many women come to yoga for the first time during pregnancy - it’s the perfect time to start! Others have already practised before, but don’t know what is safe to continue doing – or would like to come to a class where they will meet other pregnant women. Yoga is very personal and can be practised at any stage in our lives. In fact, it is particularly valuable during times of transition and change.
What are the benefits of pregnancy yoga?
Conception and pregnancy bring enormous changes, from the hormonal and physical ones to the mental and emotional changes involved in making the transition to motherhood. Yoga helps us to adapt to these changes by increasing our vitality, reducing stress levels, and helping us develop a close relationship with the baby inside long before he or she is born. It also gives us valuable time out from thinking and provides us with a space in which we can integrate change.
Yoga also helps in preparing for the birth itself, by learning to expand both our breathing and our stretching capacity, and by giving us techniques to stay calm and relaxed. We also learn techniques that encourage positive thinking and help dispel negative thoughts. This builds our confidence, especially for the birth of a first baby, or after a previous difficult birth experience. Deep relaxation is an important part of all yoga practice, but particularly during pregnancy. It takes a lot of energy to grow a baby!
When can I start?
Antenatal yoga teachers generally agree that is best to avoid strenuous exercise until the placenta is fully functioning, by around week 14 or 15. Even if you have an established yoga practice, it is probably best to err on the side of caution during this fragile time. Early pregnancy is the ideal time to learn and practise deep breathing and relaxation. When your energy comes back again, usually after 12-14 weeks, you can safely include physical posture work.
Birth preparation sessions for couples
These are longer sessions (usually a half day at the weekend) which focus on using yoga practices to prepare for labour and birth. They are designed for women and their birthing partners as an opportunity to rehearse the birthing journey together. They are practical sessions with time devoted to physical, mental and emotional preparedness for both mother and birth partner. We cover:
• positions and movements that may be helpful in labour,
• positions to rest in (equally important!)
• a deep relaxation practice, for you, baby and your birthing partner to enjoy together
The sessions are informal and run according to demand.
I charge £40 per couple (£50 if the session is tailored to one couple only), and the sessions are at weekends or in the evening