When you ask women what brought them to prenatal yoga classes, the answer is seldom yogic or profound. Initially many women arrive because a doctor or a friend referred them. They feel fat and everything hurts. They feel alienated at the gym. They feel alone and overwhelmed by the physical and mental process.
However, once they establish a regular practice women become passionate about its benefits. I recently asked one of my classes to think about what it is they get out of prenatal yoga and they were very eager to recite a slew of answers. Most commonly were that the classes offer a sense of community, calmness, serenity and less fear of labour. After birthing, they are often amazed at how much they drew on their yoga practice during labour and how resilient and quick to recover their bodies were.
As a prenatal instructor these are signs of success. We structure these classes to prepare the mind and body for the birthing process and to aid in an accelerated recovery. We keep the body fit, open and very in tune with the breath so that we may cultivate a calm and confident mind.The mind is then able to rest and retreat knowing that the body and breath are more than prepared for the work ahead. We bring women together and celebrate this fascinating time in their lives. Connect them to the sensuality and wonder of their bodies and their growing babies during a process that does not always feel that way. We sweat, we relax, and we laugh and sometimes cry. We help women to embrace and stay connected to the positivity and strength in one of life’s most amazing transformation into motherhood. Here is a gentle introduction:
Simple Side Stretch
Bring feet hip width apart. Feel weighted through both feet and legs.
Start with both hands at your sides and shoulders down.
Left palm slides down your left leg as you turn your right palm out and lift that arm up and over to toward the left. Feel your rib cage lifting as you raise the arm. Keep grounding through both feet.
Slide your shoulders blades down your back. Lift up through your inner thighs and breathe into the stretch along your right side torso. Stay here for 3-5 breaths.
Come back to center and repeat on the opposite side.
Supported Legs Up The Wall
Prop two or more folded blankets against a wall.
Bring your pelvis on the blankets and your legs straight up the wall.
Bring your arms out at shoulder height, palms facing down.
Close your eyes and relax.
*Later on in pregnancy it becomes difficult to lie on your back. This is a nice way to experience the benefits of it without the discomfort.
Stand facing a partner and measure yourselves so that your arms are straight and your hands are clasping around each other’s fore arms, one person palms on top and one on bottom (as shown in photo).
Walk feet at least hip distance apart and turn toes out slightly. Adjust width of feet to what is comfortable as you come into your squat.
Both people begin to lean back slightly and pull the others arms toward you to find a nice centre balance of weight allowing you both to feel supported.
Slowly, with communication for safety begin to bend the knees and come into a deep squat by continuing to pull away from your partner and balancing your weight.
*Deep squats should be avoided if you are 37 weeks or more and know your baby is in an unfavourable position.