Anyone who follows me on Instagram or reads my blog knows I’m no natural yogi (I can’t even touch my toes!). But I give it my best shot because it makes me feel so much better afterwards. Carting around an unwieldy toddler with a rapidly growing bump (the November due date is looming closer) has taken its toll; I could compete with someone double my age for aches and pains! Since having Nella, I’ve been squeezing in exercise whenever I can especially anything ‘stretchy’ or Pilates based in an attempt to lose my ‘hunchback from Notre Dame’ look. As a stay-at-home/work-from-home mum, getting to classes is tricky so I mainly rely on online videos. I’m a big fan of Yoga with Adrienne, however, with the bump I’m completely clueless as to which poses I’m supposed to modify. There are millions of online videos available but knowing which ones are reputable is a minefield especially for a complete yoga novice. I’m aware I already have some abdominal separation (one thing I do know how to check from Pilates!) so I’m desperately trying not to aggravate this or make it worse. When I discovered APPI Pilates (my all-time favourite Pilates studio) now offer Pregnancy Yoga I jumped at the chance of attending a class. Finally an opportunity to attend a proper class and to speak to a trusted professional about what I should and shouldn’t be doing!
So on a Monday evening I traded in my usual spot on the sofa for a place on a yoga mat at Salma’s class. Just walking in and seeing my mat laid out with bolsters made me want to cry with joy, sheer bliss when you’re used to a toddler armed with all her toys leaping on your freshly rolled out yoga mat. Salma’s cheerful greeting and friendly manner made me feel instantly relaxed. With music on and lights dimmed we made a start, lying down and concentrating on the breath. With a hand on my tummy, I was able to think about my growing baby (he offered some appreciative kicks to help me along). Salma began with some soothing words including a lovely phrase about pregnancy, ‘two beating hearts in one body’ which made me feel emotional and more connected to my baby boy. From there we moved through a series of stretches and modified sun salutations, working on every part of the body including that all-important pelvic floor.
Throughout the class Salma ensured I was moving correctly, realigning my posture and reminding me to breathe properly. Not once did I feel judged for not being able to reach my toes and she was purely encouraging when she saw my attempts at a downward dog (a pose I’ve never been able to master even pre-pregnancy but now my efforts are more flailing dog).
The class was exactly what I was after for a Monday evening, not a power yoga sequence but a good balance between movement and relaxation. All the goddess poses helped counteract my terrible hunching and my body felt wonderfully stretched afterwards. And I had a great night’s sleep which is always a welcome bonus!
It was particularly lovely having an hour of ‘me time’ and being able to connect and bond with my baby boy. As it’s my second pregnancy there’s just not been enough time to think about him which I feel terribly guilty about but I’m so busy keeping up with Nella and all her (many) demands. I relish any time to escape the house and this class provided exactly that, an escape.
Salma is a real ‘yogi’ with a lovely, calming manner – perfect for teaching and providing a relaxing environment. I would certainly recommend her classes to any other pregnant women out there, especially for first time mums. I wish I’d done more and gone to more classes when I was pregnant with Nella. You don’t realise until after you’ve had your baby just how difficult doing anything becomes! If Andy, (my husband) manages to leave work early again on a Monday, you’ll certainly find me pitched up on the yoga mat at Salma’s class.
Salma teaches pregnancy yoga at APPI Wimbledon on Monday evenings at 7:15 pm.
As part of helping and guiding other pregnant women who wish to practice yoga, Salma has shared her expertise by answering my main questions about prenatal yoga. Continue reading to find out the benefits of prenatal yoga as well as the best poses to do throughout pregnancy and Salma’s fantastic demonstrations.
1) What are the benefits of pregnancy yoga?
Pregnancy yoga is extremely beneficial for expectant mothers in numerous ways.
As well as keeping your body flexible, strong and in good shape, research on yoga in pregnancy suggests that it has been shown to improve sleep, reduce anxiety, stress and depression and may also help with pregnancy back pain, nausea, headaches and shortness of breath (1).
Another social benefit is that classes are a great place to meet other expectant mothers and prepare for the novelty of having a new baby, while finding the time to switch off and take time for you. Yoga is a great way of staying fit and healthy in pregnancy and can help meet the target of 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week that is recommended (2).
2) Is there anyone who shouldn’t do pregnancy yoga?
Whilst pregnancy yoga taught by a prenatal yoga qualified teacher is beneficial for most pregnant women during all trimesters, it is recommended that you get your doctor’s approval before starting a prenatal yoga class. Anyone with a medical condition advised not to partake in physical exercise should not attend a prenatal yoga class.
The advice is if you’re not active—start gradually; if you are already active—keep going!
3)What are the best poses throughout pregnancy?
There are various postures that are recommended during pregnancy including and not limited to the below postures: