Pregnancy and Post-Natal Yoga

To celebrate mums (because mums are always worth celebrating), we asked our resident yoga expert, Sarah to teach us about pregnancy and post-natal yoga. Sarah qualified as a Hatha Raja yoga teacher from CYS in 2010 and practices strong, dynamic hatha yoga, connecting breath with the flowing movement of asana.  After the birth of her first child, Sarah expanded her training to provide specialised classes for new and expecting mothers, and in 2011 completed further intensive teacher training in Pre and Postnatal Yoga with Amanda Reid at Samadhi Family Yoga.

Read on to find out from Sarah why Pre and Postnatal Yoga is so beneficial.

Hi Sarah! Can you tell us a bit about why you decided to expand your teaching to Pre and Postnatal Yoga?

After the birth of my first child, I personally experienced how a yoga practice, including asana, pranayama (breathwork) and meditation, can be so helpful to a pregnant, birthing or new mother. It therefore resonated with me to expand my training to provide specialised classes for pregnant women and post-natal mothers. I find it so rewarding to play a small part in these mums’ and babies’ lives. It is such a wonderful and precious gift to be able to impart a little of my knowledge to these mothers and help them during their pregnancy, birth and beyond. The lovely thing about yoga is that it is different from other kinds of exercise in that yoga coordinates movement, breath and awareness. It helps build strength and stability as well as flexibility, which can all be beneficial during pregnancy and in motherhood.

Why is Prenatal Yoga so beneficial for new mums?

Image: Gathered Birth

Practising yoga during pregnancy has many benefits. It’s been proven to improve sleep and reduce anxiety, stress and depression. It can also help with nausea and common discomforts of pregnancy like back pain and pelvic and hip discomfort. This is because yoga can improve body alignment and awareness, which not only aids physical discomforts but can also help with the optimal position of the baby for birth. Yoga also cares for the pregnant woman as a whole, on emotional, psychological and spiritual levels as well as physical. It allows mums-to-be to centre their minds for birth and motherhood, preparing both their bodies and minds for labour and birth.

Prenatal Yoga classes also provide social benefits in that they are a great opportunity to meet other local mums-to-be. As well as asanas (physical posture), classes teach breathing and relaxation techniques that can be used during labour. They also teach good positions to adopt during labour to help you through contractions and aid delivery. Prenatal Yoga is safe to practise throughout pregnancy but it’s modified at different times in a woman’s pregnancy depending on her body and health.

What can new mums expect in a Postnatal Yoga class?

Image: Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

Postnatal Yoga classes include passive yoga stretches for baby as well as infant massage and asanas (yoga postures) for mum that start to strengthen and gently work the muscles of the core, lower back and pelvic floor. We practice postures in ways that keep the babies entertained, and even hold the babies as part of the yoga itself. Postnatal classes are baby-led in as far as if baby needs fed they get fed, if they need changed, they get changed. And if your baby happens to sleep through the entire class you let them.

What are the benefits of Postnatal Yoga?

Image: Natural Health Courses

Mum & Baby Postnatal Yoga classes can really benefit new mums on so many levels; mentally and emotionally as well as physically. Postnatal Yoga uses movement, breath and relaxation to allow new mums to reconnect with their bodies after pregnancy and birth and the classes are not like your typical exercise classes. They provide a nurturing and safe environment to not only allow mums to heal and reconnect with their bodies, but to give them new ways to bond with their babies too. The classes allow women to meet and connect with other new mums in a friendly, non-judgemental, supportive environment and is a good way for new mums to get out the house and chat to others going through the same experience they are. Physically, Postnatal Yoga can ease and relieve stiffness, tightness, tension, aches and pains and can help build strength and stamina, and improve pelvic floor, abdominal and core strength in new mums.

To find out more about Sarah’s Pre and Postnatal Yoga classes, visit her Facebook page.