The benefits of yoga in pregnancy

Yoga gives the pregnant mother the capacity to adjust to inner and outer changes with extraordinary flexibility. The constant presence of the breath as a means of connecting her to gravity discharges tension and tiredness into the earth, whilst her body maintains a state of cleanliness and lightness. The daily practice of simple, effortless yoga positions leads her into childbirth with a clear mind, interested, even curious about the upcoming event. As the birth gets closer, her whole being opens up and the five senses are stimulated to perceive new dimensions : time and space dilate. Giving birth becomes a unique opportunity to get in touch with her inner power as a woman. Once she has experienced it, she will always remember its intensity and, like an everlasting spring, she will draw from it for the rest of her life.” Sandra Sabatini

Yoga during pregnancy has been proven to

Yoga in pregnancy has been proven to reduce discomfort, and improve birth experiences. Personally, I couldn’t have imagined moving through the effects of creating a person without moving and breathing my way through.

Yoga was already established in my life by the time I was pregnant. A student of mine many years earlier had come to class and whispered in my ear that she was 9 weeks pregnant, and please, would I not turn her away. I found the soonest pregnancy teacher training I could and travelled up to Derbyshire to attend the Birthlight Perinatal training module 1. It felt frustrating to be warned of so many potential dangers as a teacher. But the learning and my required reading (The Continuum Concept – Jean Liefloff) opened my eyes to a new way of womanhood.

Much of yoga as we come across it today is male oriented. Created by men for men, and perpetrated through hierarchical masculine enterprises. Meeting pregnancy yoga for the first time so many teacher trainees have told me (often through tears) that they had no idea their body could feel this way. Pregnancy yoga is about a deep acceptance of what is, and a movement pattern that works with the body to support its truly miraculous activity.

Making human beings is not an easy feat. And while it is a natural, much of the way we live today is very far from natural. We are misaligned with our circadian rhythms, our food is sourced from far away and out of season, we are often far away from family (for better or worse) and perhaps less connected than we used to be. Creating life requires resources in a time when modern living often has us running on empty.

In fact I believe that one of the fallacies of pregnancy and early motherhood is that it is instinctual and that we need resources, often before we recognise that we do. Being informed in today’s western environment is not easy, and yoga teachers can often become a source of great information and reassurance – if they are well informed themselves.

Yoga classes during pregnancy can give you a sense of community, a sounding board, both from your teacher and other mothers. It can be a place where women learn to breathe and learn how to (truly) relax. We practice movements that are useful in labour and birth, and build strength that will be needed to mother a new born, and heal after birthing them. And above all, we share how to create an environment of support, and what is actually required to support oneself.

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